Sunday, December 21, 2008

Delicate slices of udon soup

One of my British friends once told me that he thought it rather drab and boring that a dish be named by some of its contents. I tried to explain that Americans are not interested in trying anything mysterious or choices that do not include a description in the titles. Didn't convince him. I guess Europeans go for menu choices that have creative titles.

My best shot at compromising between the two is: delicate slices of udon soup. There are slices of "fish cake," in the soup. Made this sort of soup for the first time last night, and yes, it is entirely my creation.

I've been craving udon for some time now. And, as many of you know, I am an avid soup maker and consumer. What better meal to be enjoying in cold weather?

I have one other apology to make. This recipe is extremely imprecise. For the most part, I am just going to list the ingredients, in case you are interested in trying this. I figured that would be better than nothing. Otherwise you can come over and try it!

tofu (I used 2 packages of firm tofu)
shittaki mushrooms (a handful)
bamboo shoots (I used one large can - around 15 oz.?)
1 package of fish cake (the pink and white thing you see in the picture)
2 bundles of udon noodles
green onions
soy sauce

The udon and the soup were cooked separately. For the udon, once a pot of water is brought to boil, cook the udon for 12 minutes. After the mushrooms have been soaking in water for a few hours (I buy them dried), marinate them in a bowl of soy sauce and set them aside. Bring all the other contents of the soup to a boil adding salt to taste. Once the soup is boiling, drop the udon noodles in and bring the contents back to boiling. A few minutes before turning the stove off, drop the mushrooms into the soup and stir. Viola! Ready to serve.

Here's a bowl of delicate slices of udon soup, ready to eat:


Friday, February 8, 2008


Lily's Dumplings



This recipe makes A LOT of dumplings. I fed four adults and a child (everyone had additional servings), and after that, there was still plenty left over. Probably feeds somewhere in the neighborhood of 8-15 people.

Please keep in mind, my recipes are not to be taken as an exact science. I cook by my sense of taste and smell. My recipes change a bit every time I make the same thing. I'm only trying to nail down the basic idea for those of you who are interested in making some of these food choices. Bon appetit!


Pot Sticker Wraps (5-6 packages of 36 wraps)
4/5 head of cabbage
most of a medium size package of full size carrots
green onions
3 pounds of ground turkey
2 eggs
soy sauce


1. Cut the cabbage, carrots and green onions extremely fine, somewhere between dicing and mincing (closer to mincing - a food processor aids in this task tremendously). Mix the ground turkey, cabbage, carrots, green onions, 2 entire eggs, and salt (leaving all of these ingredients raw).

2. Next comes the wrapping part. Not sure how to describe this process. I used water as glue. Place a modest portion of the meat mixture in the middle of a circular piece of a pot sticker wrap. Moisten the edge of half of the circle. Bring the tip of the middle of the moist portion to the tip of the middle of the dry portion of the pot sticker wrap (we're still talking about the edge of the circle). From there is making the dumpling look pretty. The description of this step stops here (sorry!).

3. Bring a pot, at least half to two-thirds full, of water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, drop some dumplings in the water. Be careful not put too many in at once. How many one ought to put in depends on the size of the pot. I put in about 8-12 at a time, but I was using a reasonably wide and deep pot. Once the dumplings are all floating, the dumplings are ready to eat. Per my mom's habit, I pour a couple to three cups of cold water in the pot, wait for the water to boil again before pulling the dumplings out to serve.

Note: In process 3., the dumplings can be pan fried or boiled.

4. Serve the dumplings with soy sauce as a dipping sauce. There are other variations of dipping sauces. A common Taiwanese dipping sauce for dumplings is to add minced garlic to the soy sauce. Another possibility, suggested by my friend Junko, is to mix soy sauce with rice vinegar.