Instructables

Udon Noodles in Miso Sauce

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There are a number of reasons for posting this recipe, it's healthy, tasty, quick and it will save the earth. I know, I know, that last one is a bit of a tall order, but it's true. This recipe is vegetarian and according to the UN, livestock accounts for 18% of global carbon emissions. You can actually do more to reduce carbon emissions by eating vegetarian one day a week than trading in your hummer for a hybrid.

But does eating less meat have to be a sacrifice? Absolutely not! I've been cooking a lot of vegetarian dishes just because they're easy, delicious, work well as leftovers, and as long as your not trying to match the calorie per dollar density of fast food, cheap.

This recipe is a savory miso sauce covering udon noodles and caramelized onions with spinach and sesame seeds. It has a rich sweet and sour flavor and the sauce has a rich consistency.

So what does it take?

1/2 to 1 lb udon noodles (substitute fettuccine if not available)
1 cup sliced onions (preferably red)
1-2 cups spinach
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp black sesame seeds (optional)
2 cloves minced or chopped garlic
2 tbsp ginger
1 tbsp sesame oil (substitute vegetable oil if unavailable)

2 tbsp miso
1/4 cup mirin (sweet cooking sake)
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/4 cup water

The first step is to cook the noodles, while that is cooking, mix the sauce and caramelize the onions. Once the onions are caramelized, we add the garlic and ginger then the sauce, finally the spinach and noodles. After the spinach wilts we'll add the lemon juice and sesame seeds. This is all quick and easy when well timed.

 
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As a physician and a nutritionist, I would say that the nutritional value of this recipe is poor to good. The protein quality and value are low, as well as the vitamin, mineral content. As you may know the high carbohydrate content is just coverted to sugar and then fat in the human body. I would say a peanut butter sandwich may be better for you. I clicked on this instructable thinking that you might be making noodles from fresh ingredients. Might just buy packaged miso ramen by Sapporo and get the same preserved miso and dried noodles. I do like it as a snack, but never a basic meal substitute.
If you're going to play the expert card, why not try being a little more constructive, like suggesting "add a half pound chopped tofu, soy beans, or chicken for better protein value"? Did you really just compare a recipe with fresh vegetable ingredients to packaged ramen? If so, how? in a world with millions of obese people wondering around, why does a nutritionist spend his/her time pompously sniping at this meal? (This is not rhetorical, I'd genuinely like to hear an honest response.)
Sorry to respond so late, but I accidentally came across your comments just now. I usually don't follow up on comments that I have posted, and I rarely post. You are certainly correct in America's current state of over-weight and obese people and the effects it has on the health system, quality of living, and psychological conditions. My comments were not meant as being offensive, but based on the feedback, I saw that readers were looking at this as comfort food and not seeing the nutritional values. You are certainly correct in improving the protein value of the dish and maybe decreasing the sodium content. Some fresh vegetables will certainly make the meal more balanced. To the Japanese, ramen is a meal with fresh meat and vegetables. The recently produced 'Top Ramen' is just part of a more convenient packaging for this modern time. It would be like buying dried spaghetti noodles, boiling them and eating them plain. In Italy, they are eaten with a sauce, herbs, cheese and usually with an added meat protein such as Italian sausage or meatballs. Please don't take this offensively; nutrition knowledge is lacking in this country. It is complex and beyond the scope of a quick blog discussion. Enjoy!
From the recognition of a right-wing Chinese
but it's DELICIOUS! I can't say the same for packaged ramen...
ghavo2 years ago
Great recipe... I added some thin slices of Pork and was delicious... My wife wanted more "flavor" so she added some soy sauce... Overall it's a great Base recipe and people will have to cater it to their tastes... Thank you!
Fancy Moon3 years ago
I cooked this-- it came out soo delicious! thank you :)
chndt20084 years ago
Praise from the Chinese people: you're great! Are you from China?
Runiko5 years ago
My wife is deathly allergic to onions and the onion family (leeks, green onions, etc). Is there some ingredient I could substitute that would make for an equally delicious dish? Thanks!
AidanG Runiko4 years ago
In indian food, they use hing / asafoetida, I think. You could look it up on wikipedia or find someone at your local asian market...
krowii Runiko4 years ago
If its just another yummy ingredient you want, I'd say Boy Choy or any of its variants (curt mentioned other nice veggies).

If your looking for something fragrant/pungent to 'replace' the onion, I'd say maybe fish sauce, chilli peppers, etc.

You could also try using asofetida. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asafoetida).

Interesting fact: researchers have conducted studies that proved that under certain circumstances, a person cannot tell the difference between an onion, an apple, and a potato. The difference in perceived flavor is caused by their smell! Its true!
cfuse krowii4 years ago
Regarding taste vs. smell, the experiment of choice for those wishing to test this out is to eat some apple whilst holding some onion under your nose. Smell being a large part of taste makes sense once you realise that air is forced from your mouth to your nose when you chew.
What do you substitute in other dishes that call for Alliums (the onion "family")? I'd say try that, or just leave them out.
curt.johnson (author)  Runiko5 years ago
That's a tough one. After thinking about it, I would say tofu is probably the easiest replacement. I would suggest a stiffer tofu that will fry well in the sesame oil. Really any vegetable that you could fry in place of the onions would work, celery is a likely candidate and the tartness might work with the sweetness of the sauce, but the celery flavor might conflict. Sauteed mushrooms might be another way to do it. Really anything that will fry up nicely and mix the sauce and oils with the noodles should work though. Good luck and leave a comment if you find a solution.
vandal11384 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
and by the way, tasty ible!
leepinlarr4 years ago
dont believe everything the U N says but hey great ible, and have fresh Miso in the fridge !!
snowmanZ4 years ago
I have made this several times since reading this post a month or so ago. I added chicken breast and hot thai chili sauce as well as various Asian vegetables. But the plain version is great, especially when you don't have a ton of time to devote to cooking. Thanks for this.
pacifcace4 years ago
I just made a version basically identical to yours but with the addition of extra firm tofu and broccoli, which is just as delicious as the plainer version.
This is an awesome recipe. My kids LOVE it!! They even ate the onions, which is a first. I am making it again tonight for dinner. I add tofu and broccoli to make it more of a meal. It is excellent. Thanks for sharing.
I made this dish the other night. So yummy. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
piper12344 years ago
peanut butter with all the hidroginazed vegetable oils ans sodium composts better than pasta and spinach? c'mon just substitute all the jar ingredients for fresh ones or at least not from the freezed section and it's a good recipe
Looks yummy! I'll have my wife pick up the ingredients, so I can cook this when I get home. I travel a lot for work :(
srilyk4 years ago
This was a terrible thing for me to read when I'm so hungry! Oh man am I hungry and this deliciousness doesn't make it any easier on me! Good instructable though!
That looks SO yummy! I'm going to give it a try. thanks for posting this!
afreeman4 years ago
Thank you! We live on noodles and are always looking for tasty recipes, especially Asian.
Dr_Stupid4 years ago
I think I'll have a steak. :-D
I think I will have steak too...
SeaLion4 years ago
To be honest, I'm disappointed. 'Why?' I hear you say. That's because I thought you were going to say something about making udon and miso soup from scratch instead of buying it from the grocers.
youre kinda lazy :3 the garlic and the lemon juice?
Coliflower4 years ago
Looks great. Thanks for the recipe!
cprocjr5 years ago
Oh man that looks good! I think it's about time for a midnight snack.
PKM5 years ago
Looks tasty! My only problem is that I don't tend to cook much SE asian food so don't have the miso, sake, mirin, sesame paste etc. already kicking around, and if I got them all specially this recipe would end up pretty expensive. Are you going to post more recipes similar to this one?
curt.johnson (author)  PKM5 years ago
I haven't got any more miso recipes that I was was planning on making an instructable about. There is always miso soup, which is simple and there are a number of recipes available online. I did notice another miso baked turkey instructable that looked really good. The ingredients in this recipe are basic Japanese ingredients though, so you should be able to reuse them anytime you cook a Japanese flavored dish. The vinegar and mirin keep for a while and the miso should last at least as long as eggs. But if I do come across something that I make that is worthy of an instructable, I'll put it up ;-)
eglentyne5 years ago
This was really a great recipe. My kids love noodles and I'm trying to push the boundaries of their palate. They were skeptical, and this time only ate a little, but I think if I try it again, they will love it. They say a kid has to be exposed to a new food several times before they embrace it, and I have high hopes for this recipe. My partner and I loved it. Thanks for sharing.
I have all of these ingredients on hand... might have to try! Looks very tasty. I love udon noodles. :D
bytowneboy5 years ago
Excellent.
ruben7825 years ago
Either way, the recipe look great. May have to add some crushed chili peppers to the mix for my taste. Great post!
JakeTobak5 years ago
That looks really good and I'll have to give it a try someday I'm not feeling lazy. I'm just curious though, do you have any studies to back up this claim that "You can actually do more to reduce carbon emissions by eating vegetarian one day a week than trading in your hummer for a hybrid."?
curt.johnson (author)  JakeTobak5 years ago
The link in the intro is to an article discussing the UN study and cites a UK statistic. The formulation I used came from Ezra Klein's discussion about this study from the Washington Post; which I assume was recalculated for an American analogy. It may not be exact, but there is a pile of studies available showing that livestock do emit a significant number of emissions and that growth in livestock is driven by human demand. I'm sure that Google Scholar can assist if you want to find out the exact numbers.