I don’t call myself an expert on Japanese cooking, but when I feel like cooking Japanese for myself I make noodles with miso paste and dashi powder. Both are easily available from Japanese supermarkets. Miso paste comes in a bewildering number of variations. While the white version is more common, I like the deeper flavour of red miso. Dashi powder is simply Japanese fish stock powder. You could try making it from scratch, but since it’s msg and bonito anyway, I don’t bother and just buy it from the shop.
I like both soba and udon for this dish, but soba is easier to have on hand as it comes dried, unlike udon that needs to be bought fresh. I like the subtle flavour of green tea in chasoba best as it offsets the rather earthy flavour of buckwheat rather well.
One variation on the theme had me using some fancy Japanese tofu from Meidiya and some pork ribs I unearthed from the freezer. It’s definite worthwhile paying the $1 extra for good tofu, and this hits the spot for comforting and fairly healthy.
6 pork ribs
2 bundles of chasoba
1 tsp dashi powder, or to taste
¼ Chinese cabbage, cut into small chunks
1 box good Japanese tofu, cut into large chunks
2 tbsp red miso paste
- Put the defrosted pork ribs in a saucepan, cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer for about 30 mins or till tender. Remove the ribs from the stock.
- Cook the noodles according to packet instructions, then strain and run under the tap. Put into serving bowls.
- Bring the stock to a boil and add the dashi powder and Chinese cabbage, simmer till tender for about 3 minutes, then add the tofu.
- In a little bowl, mix the miso paste with a couple of spoonfuls of hot stock to dilute. It should be a runny paste before you add it to the soup.
- Bring the soup to a quick boil before ladling out onto the noodles.