All the good stuff's in here. If you make the dashi -- a simple broth of dried bonito flakes, dried seaweed and water -- in advance, the rest of the dish can take less than half an hour to prepare
Servings: 6 generous servings
- For the dashi
- 4 1/2 cups cold water
- 3-inch piece dried kombu (kelp)
- 2 ounces bonito flakes
- For the udon noodle pot
- 1 pound fresh udon noodles (may substitute 12 ounces dried udon noodles)
- 1 tablespoon peanut or canola oil
- 2 scallions, white and light green, thinly sliced on the diagonal, for garnish
- udon noodle pot
- 4 cups dashi
- 16 littleneck clams, well scrubbed
- 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1/2 pound small shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 1/4 cups shiitake mushroom, caps only, thinly sliced
- 1 1/4 cups Napa cabbage, finely shredded
- 1 1/4 cups fresh spinach, julienne (cut into very thin strips)
- 3/4 cup carrots, thinly sliced (crosswise)
- 3/4 cup snow peas, sprigs trimmed
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon mirin (Japanese sweet cooking wine)
For the dashi: Combine the water, kombu and bonito flakes in a large saucepan. Bring the water to a low boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes; the broth will be flavorful. Strain and set aside.
For the udon noodle pot: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil over high heat. Cook the noodles for 2 to 4 minutes, stirring to separate the strands, until they are tender but not mushy. Drain and rinse them under cold running water. Drain again, toss with the oil, and set aside.
Using the same pot over medium-low heat, heat the dashi so that it barely bubbles around the edges. Add the clams, chicken, shrimp and mushrooms to the pot and ladle some of the hot dashi over them. Cover the pot and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the clams have opened and the chicken has cooked through. (Discard any clams that have not opened.) Using a large slotted spoon or Chinese spider (long-handled metal basket spoon), transfer the clams, chicken, shrimp and mushrooms to a large bowl and cover loosely to keep warm.
Add the cabbage, spinach, carrots and snow peas to the hot dashi in the pot and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the vegetables are cooked through. Return the noodles to the pot and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until they are very hot. Add the soy sauce and mirin, stirring to combine, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
To serve, divide the soup with the vegetables and noodles among deep individual bowls. Divide the clams, chicken, shrimp and mushrooms among the bowls and ladle the dashi over them. Garnish with the scallions and serve hot.
Note: NOODLES: To substitute dried udon noodles, begin as you do for fresh noodles by bringing a large pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil over high heat and adding the noodles. Once the water returns to a boil, add 1 cup of cold water. Repeat the process of bringing the water back to a boil and adding a cup of cold water 2 or 3 more times, or until the noodles are tender but not mushy.
Adapted from St. Andrew's Cafe at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y.
Tested by Trey Johnson.
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