Updated: May 13, 2022
This is one of my favorite Japanese comfort foods of all time. It has a touch of miso flavor and is loaded with hearty fresh vegetables. It is guaranteed to warm you up on a cold winter night!
Ingredients (for four):
For dashi (broth):
Dried kelp (konbu) about 6 inches (15cm) long
Bonito flakes 6g
Water 8 cups
Onion 1 (small)
Shiitake mushroom 3~4
Daikon radish 2 inches (5cm) long
Burdock root (gobo)* 6 inches (15cm) long (optional)
Sesame oil 2 teaspoons
Thinly sliced pork 1/2~3/4 lb (300~400g)
Sake 1 tablespoon
Mirin 1 tablespoon
Miso (red or white)** generous 1 tablespoon
Dried (or fresh) udon noodles 240~320g
Chili pepper a pinch (optional)
Make dashi first. in a large pot, add 8 cups of water. Add kelp and let it soak in room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, take the kelp out and discard. Turn the heat to medium and add bonito flakes. Let it simmer (not boil) for 5-6 minutes until the water turns to light amber. With a meshed strainer, scoop all the bonito flakes. This is your basic dashi.
Wash carrots and daikon and peel them. Cut them into about 1/4 inch (5mm) thin. Slice onion into 1/2 inch (1cm) wedges and cut okra into 1/2 inch (1cm) long. Slice shiitake mushroom into 1/4 inch (1cm) thick. Set all the cut vegetables on aside.
If you are using burdock, scrape the skin lightly with the back of a knife (or you can use a peeler) and cut it into 1/4 inch (5mm) long. Prepare a bowl of water and soak burdocks until you need them. This process will prevent them from turning brown.
Place a dutch oven (or a regular pot) on a stovetop and turn the heat to medium high. Once the pot is heated, spread oil and cook thinly sliced pork. You may have to cook the meat in multiple batches.
Take out the pork slices onto a plate and set them aside. Place onion in the dutch oven and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add the rest of vegetables, except okra, and pour 6 cups of dashi in to the pot. Cook vegetables until tender (about 10 minutes).
Once vegetables are cooked, add sake and mirin. Then add cooked pork and okra and cook for 2 more minutes.
Add miso and make sure to dissolve it completely by using a strainer or two spoons. Turn the heat off.
While vegetables are being cooked, prepare udon noodles. In a separate large pot (5 quarts or larger), with plenty of water, turn the heat hight. Once boiled, add udon noodles and cook until they are “al dente” (cooking time varies depends on what kind of udon noodles you use, but it normally takes 8-12 mins for dried noodles and 1 minutes for fresh noodles). Once noodles is cooked, take it out in a colander under running cold water and drain water completely.
Divide noodles into 4 serving bowls and pour pork and vegetable soup on top. Sprinkle chili pepper for your liking and enjoy!
Note: For the remaining dashi, you can freeze it and use it for your next Japanese cooking.
For vegetarian version, use tofu (drain its water by sandwiching between two plates and place a can food on top of the plate as weight; leave it for at least 30 mins).
* Burdock root is not necessary easy to find depends on where you live and that is why it is optional.
** For miso, I like to combine red and white (red for robust flavor and white for sweetness); but if you only have one kind, either one will be fine.
Dashi Trial Package Available:
Kelp and bonito flakes trial package is now available for purchase (ships within the U.S.A.). This trail package consists of two prepackaged bonito flakes (6g total) and 2 piece of kelp (approximately 6 inches total). Yes, I would like to order the trial package.