What’s better than sesame + udon noodles + asian greens?
I tried to think of what to name this dish, what with Chinese broccoli, bok choy, and shiitakes all vying for attention. I finally settled on sesame udon noodles with Asian greens. At the end of the day, different combinations of seasonal vegetables can be used in this dish. What’s important is the slurp-able miso, kombu broth that the veggies get poached in.
The skinny on this dish is that it gets a lot of flavor and umami from kombu, shiitakes, and brown miso paste. For those of you who don’t know, kombu is a sea vegetable and is incredibly rich in minerals. In this recipe, the kombu is used to create a vegetarian dashi. Don’t throw that kombu away because it gets used again to make kombu noodles. Simply cut the kombu into strips and toss them in with the udon noodles.
Brown miso paste is fermented soy beans; it has a long shelf life and can be used in the same fashion as bouillon. While I like the strong taste of the brown miso in this dish, using a lighter miso will work too. Since the color represents the age and strength of the flavor profile–with lighter miso tasting milder in flavor–you may want to use a bit more if using a lighter miso.
How to Make Sesame Udon Noodles with Asian Greens
These udon noodles get tossed with a sesame, vinegar sauce, which is really exciting and flavorful. Add some roasted peanuts or cashews for a nice crunch, and you’ve got a satisfying meal. I find that I sometimes want extra vinegar or sesame oil on these noodles, so feel free to add extra to fit your tastes. You could even add some sriracha for a spicy experience.
This is a healthy meal that can be served family style or portioned into individual bowls. It’s fun to switch from my usual routine of cooking spaghetti noodles with tomato sauce to udon noodles. They have such a nice mouth feel, it’s a wonder I don’t cook them more often.
Yields 6 bowls
15 minPrep Time
20 minCook Time
35 minTotal Time
- 16 oz Udon noodles
- 1 4-inch strip kombu
- 1 small piece ginger, microplane (1 teaspoon)
- 1 ½ tablespoons tamari
- 1 ½ tablespoons mirin
- 2 ½ tablespoons brown miso paste
- 1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
- 1 bunch broccolini, trimmed and cut in half crosswise
- 8 ounces baby bok choy or gai choy, trimmed
- 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, thinly sliced
- 2 ounces snow peas, cut into fine matchsticks
- 1 baby cucumber, cut into fine matchsticks
- 2 ounces micro cilantro, for garnish
- ¼ cup peanuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 1 ½ tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon chile flakes
- Boil the udon noodles in water that has been salted to taste like the sea for 8 minutes. Strain and rinse with cool water to prevent the noodles from sticking.
- Meanwhile, make a vegetarian dashi by boiling the kombu in 2 ½ cups water for 10 minutes. Then remove the kombu and cut into strips. Set aside.
- Using a wok or large pot, add the kombu dashi, ginger, tamari, mirin, miso, and brown rice syrup. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then lower the heat to medium.
- Add the broccolini and simmer for 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the broccolini and transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with the Asian greens but cook for 2 minutes; shiitakes cook for 3 minutes; snow peas, 1 minute; cucumber, 15 seconds. When all the vegetables have been cooked, increase the temperature and reduce the broth until about ¼ cup remains.
- Meanwhile, place all the ingredients for the sesame dressing in a large bowl then add the udon noodles and kombu strips. Toss to combine.
- To serve, portion the noodles among bowls and place the vegetables on top. Spoon the reduced cooking liquid over the top and garnish with cilantro.
When cooking the udon noodles, I recommend adding about 1/4 cup cold water every 2 minutes. Since udon noodles are so thick, the inside takes longer to cook than the outside. By introducing a small amount of cold water, bringing back to a boil/simmer, the noodles will cook more evenly. Nobody like starchy sticky udon noodles. To check to see if your noodle is done, break one in half--there should be no white starch.