22 – Celebrating Chinese New Year with Japanese Chicken Udon Soup

“Mom, hey…question for you: do you have any star anise?” I said.

Over the phone, her reasonable response: “Oh, we’re making Chinese tonight in honour of Chinese New Year, are we?”

“Oh…right! Uh…no, I’m making Japanese, actually – but I probably should have…”

So that was my evening tonight – making a Japanese dish for – but not really for – Chinese New Year. In the process I used even more ingredients unfamiliar to me: the aforementioned star anise, and shiitake mushrooms.

To add to the multicultural…ness (?) of the evening, I’m participating in Fiesta Friday, a blog party hosted by The Novice Gardener. If any part of that sentence didn’t make sense to you, that’s understandable, as I think I just attempted to create a new word, and I’d never heard of a “blog party” until about a week ago. If you want to know exactly what it is, you can clearly see it’s linked to above, so click away. Briefly, Fiesta Friday is all about a bunch of bloggers showcasing how they relax at the end of the week.

As you can see, I technically made this dish on a Thursday. However, tomorrow is a Professional Development Day, so I was celebrating the end of a shortened teaching week – and what better way to celebrate than with a big bowl of noodle soup? By the way, that’s rhetorical.

I found this recipe quite quickly via myrecipes.com, and I was drawn to it for its simplicity. That should have been the first indication that I might find the soup somewhat lacking, but after a long – yet short – week, I wasn’t too inclined to question.

Chicken Udon Soup 004
The broth might have been a bit weak, but not due to the shiitakes, ginger and garlic. The second these ingredients hit the pan, the aroma made me want to sing.

I followed the recipe very closely, only wavering in the amount of liquid added. I poured in a bit of water to top my 946ml of boxed organic broth up to a full 4 metric cups, before realizing two key thing: 946ml is in fact a full 4 US cups (1 US cup is approximately 236.5 ml) , and I had no idea which cup measurement was being used. Actually, I also added some somewhat thinly-sliced jalapeno pepper and some bean sprouts to the dish at the end.

Chicken Udon Soup 012
It took me until after dinner was devoured to realize the detail in the reflection of the wine – you can practically see my whole living room in the sweet vino.

The end result was lacking a bit in the flavour department, but that was quickly rectified with a bit of additional salt, and a healthy dose of hot chilli sauce, aka Sriracha.  Also, as much as I love udon noodles, the dish probably would have been even better with phở noodles. At the same time, that would have then made this dish somewhat of a Japanese/Vietnamese fusion dish, created in the spirit of a Mexican fiesta, in honour of Chinese New Year – a little too multicultural for a relaxing Thursday (pseudo-Friday) night.

Anyways, I’m feeling drained – time to take a siesta, I think. Although…it is 11pm, so I don’t think it can technically be called that. Regardless, until next time, “Gung Hay Fat Choy”, and happy cooking!


13 thoughts on “22 – Celebrating Chinese New Year with Japanese Chicken Udon Soup

  1. I love soups… And this one looks delicious. I agree, some salt and a bit of spicy added to a soup can go a long way. 🙂 I’m not the biggest fan of udon noodles, they are so thick. So I’d probably exchange those for thinner noodles.
    Thanks for sharing and Happy FIesta Friday. 🙂


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