Tag Archives: recipes

Chicken Udon Soup

It’s been a while since I posted a recipe! We haven’t been traveling much obviously, but this is the very taste of Asia in a bowl which I love. I don’t really cook Asian food very much because now that we live in Taiwan, that stuff is cheap to take out or eat at a restaurant. We do however have to pay top dollar to eat slightly sweet and not authentic western food, so that’s what I usually make at home to the way we like it. However, I did have the inspiration to make this chicken udon soup recently since I started planning meals at home, and it turned out so well I want to record it for posterity! It’s big on vegetables and taste but very light and healthy tasting. I used this recipe as a basis for it but made my own alterations.

Prep and cooking takes about 45 minutes (or the night before). Serves two generously. I don’t really measure the weight or the amount of food I prepare anymore… I just eyeball it.

Chicken thighs
One carrot
One package bok choy
Two green onions
4-6 garlic cloves
One chunk ginger
One pack of precooked udon noodles
Neutral oil (I used sunflower)
Soy sauce
Japanese rice wine or cooking wine
Dashi or miso
2 quarts chicken or veggie broth


So start with the chicken, maybe the night before. I started reading Salt Fat Acid Heat this year, have become a fervent believer in salting meat. For tough cuts of beef or pork, the night before or two days before would be great. For something like chicken thighs, don’t sweat it – salt it the night before or like I did an hour before cooking, and they still turn out even more tender and flavorful. I salted the package of chicken thighs with about a teaspoon of salt overall and then let it sit in the fridge for an hour.

Next, prep the vegetables. Peel the carrot and julienne or thinly slice them so they can cook quickly. Wash and cut the bok choy in either half or in quarters lengthwise. Finely mince the green onion and peel and slice the garlic. Ginger can be peeled and sliced into large thin slices, since you won’t be eating them directly.


Warm up a tablespoon or two of oil in your pot over a medium heat. I used a large dutch oven (just my new Le Creuset, no biggie). Next, add the chicken thighs and sear them on both sides. Then add a tablespoon each of soy sauce and rice wine. Turn the heat down to low and let the meat cook until done, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Using the same pot, directly pour in your two quarts (or thereabouts) of broth and turn up the heat to medium-high so it can boil. I use hot water pre-heated in my water kettle and add a small spoonful of Better than Bouillon to create the broth. Add a small spoonful of dashi or miso which will add a good umami flavor, and then add a little more soy sauce and stir it up until any soy sauce or anything else stuck to the bottom of the pot is dissolved into the broth.

When your broth starts to boil, you can add your vegetables: first, the garlic and ginger and carrots. Let it simmer for about 5-7 minutes and taste it so you can make sure the broth is really coming together. If it needs more flavor, add a little soy sauce or something else you prefer (like more dashi or miso). It doesn’t need to be too salty since you have the soy-sauce sauteed chicken to top things off. Next, add the bok choy or whatever other leafy vegetable you want to use and the precooked udon noodles. This can simmer for just 2-3 minutes because it takes very little time to cook. At the same time, now that your cutting board has some more space on it (if you only use one like me), go ahead and slice up the chicken thighs.

Before you put it in a bowl, taste everything to make sure it’s ready to go. The broth should be to your liking, and the carrot should be slightly tender, not crunchy. If you can find them and if the chunks aren’t too big, fish out the ginger so you don’t eat it by accident. Ladle the soup into a big bowl first before arranging the chicken on top, and finish with a handful of green onions. If you like spice, like me, you can slice up some spicy red pepper and put it in there along with the bok choy and udon noodles so it doesn’t stay in there for too long. Or just make sure you have the sriracha sauce handy. Enjoy!

Spaghetti Dubrovnika.

After our delicious pasta dinner last night in the Old City, we were raving about a particular spaghetti dish we had which used figs, a rare ingredient in our cooking, and I spent most of today nibbling on some with salty spreadable cheese while doing my Microeconomics reading, so it’s inevitable that we made a dish with pasta and figs for dinner as well. Steve liked it so much he said he could possibly eat it every night for a week, which I regard as being the height of compliments from this man. There’s no use not sharing it with you!

Spaghetti Dubrovnika.

The spaghetti we had last night was called Spaghetti Dalmatica, Dalmatica being the region of Croatia just north of Dubrovnik. It had a tantalizing mix of prosciutto, which is smoked ham sliced very thinly, with bits of dried figs, and parmesan and parsley with almost too much olive oil. What we made is inspired by this dish, but includes more of the local ingredients we are enjoying in Dubrovnik. It’s also vegetarian, and depends mostly on the figs and cheese for its flavor, so don’t skimp on those! Keep some extra on hand to add flavor as needed. In general, it has a pretty subtle dish, but is really delicious.

Close-up, with cheese added.

Spaghetti Dubrovnika

Prep and cooking takes about 30 minutes. Serves two.

Two servings of spaghetti, angel hair, or any other thin pasta
2 large yellow Vidalia or French onions, halved along the equator and sliced thinly
1/2 kilo of green leafy vegetable (we used chard from the local farmer’s market, torn up into smaller pieces, but spinach or kale will do fine)
2 handfuls of walnuts, slightly chopped
4-6 dried figs, finely diced
Shaved parmesan or other strong cheese
1 tbsp butter
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Toss the butter into a medium-sized saucepan, and when warmed up, slide in all your sliced onions. Take a good ten minutes to stir those onions around until they become translucent and begin to carmelize, taking on a light golden-brown color. Then put them aside into a medium-sized bowl.

At this point, fill another saucepan with water and put in your spaghetti to boil. I’m really bad at measuring spaghetti, but you can estimate about how much you and another person are likely to eat in one sitting, and put in less if you want a higher veggie to pasta ratio. Now, use the same saucepan you did the onions in (you don’t need to wipe it out or rinse) to cook the chard or spinach with a little bit of hot water, stirring it around until it wilts, which should take two or three minutes. Also put in the walnuts at this point. They only need a few minutes, so putting it with the greens is perfect. Definitely add some salt and pepper at this point to taste. When they’re done, put them in the same bowl as the carmelized onions. Your spaghetti should be close to done now.

When everything’s ready, prepare two wide bowls, and put in your spaghetti first. Next, divide the greens, onions, and walnuts between the two bowls. Then scatter your diced figs between the two bowls, and finally, put your shaved parmesan cheese over the whole thing. Drizzle a little olive oil on top. (This is an ideal photo-op moment, because you’re about to stir everything up.) Now, I suggest using two forks to combine well the whole bowl. Burying the cheese will help it to melt and spread more flavor throughout the dish. Enjoy with a good glass of red wine!