The string of cold, icy, rainy weather we've been having is enough to test even the most optimistic person's positive attitude. And sometimes the "comfort food" I find myself drawn to only makes me feel more tired and run down. On days when I need to be comforted but energized at the same time, I find that Asian flavors can be really helpful. A big, steamy bowl of organic noodles, dressed up with vegetables and protein from the market and a few items you can keep in your pantry is a perfect, cozy meal that won't leave you in need of a long winter's nap.
Market Udon Bowl
for each person
In a shallow dish, drizzle in about a tablespoon each of soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. Stir in a generous teaspoon of honey, if using, and then add crushed red pepper and garlic to taste. (Double these marinade ingredients if you're making this for more than two people.)
Add a little bit of neutral oil to the pan and cook your protein to your liking. Here I've used lean steak, and seared it for two minutes a side. It's okay to leave this slightly underdone as the meat will be covered in hot broth which will gently continue the cooking process. When it's cooked, remove it from the heat and transfer the meat (or tofu) immediately into the dish with the marinade you just created. Keep turning the protein every couple of minutes in the sauce as you continue cooking.
Divide the cooked cabbage evenly among the bowls you will serve in. Return your pan to the heat and (carefully!) add two cups of boiling water per person. At this point you may wish to add a homemade stock cube or bouillon for additional flavor. Add the noodles and cook according to package instructions, but do not drain.
Meanwhile, thinly slice your protein and add it to the cabbage. Add your grated vegetables and kimchi as well, plus fresh mint leaves, sesame seeds and hot sauce if you wish.
Pour the marinade from the meat into the pot of noodles and stir quickly, then divide the broth and noodles evenly among your bowls and serve. Taste and add a dash of soy sauce or fresh lime to enhance the flavors if needed. Serve immediately.