A friend introduced me to a version of home made udon soup that involved using a tasty soup base that you could only find in Japanese markets. I became a little obsessed with this delicious concoction of noodles, ginger and soy topped with green onions. My kids loved it too. Little did I know that the soup base that is usually labeled in Japanese contained MSG. So I decided that I would re-create a version of my own. After a couple attempts I got the thumbs up from the kids and I thought it was pretty good too.
I managed to find some hearty noodles to use, spelt udon and thin buckwheat soba with yam too. I like to boost the health quotient so I have always added shelled edamame (soy) beans. Today I came across some gorgeous baby, baby bok choy that I thought would go nicely with this broth. I use Braggs liquid aminos soy seasoning which is a healthier option to most other soy sauces. So here we have it. I think you’ll enjoy it and it’s easy as pie- actually, way easier than pie! If you boil extra noodles and make extra broth you can refrigerate them separately and then just reheat the broth, add the veggies and drop the noodles in just to heat thru and it’s even faster! I do it this way in the morning for the kids lunches and pop it nice and warm in their thermos. My four year old came home bragging that she had eaten every bit of her lunch! Yeh!
What I love about this soup is that it’s a good balance of greens to noodles and a nice portion of vegetable protein with the edamame. I have outlined the benefits of consuming ginger below the recipe. You can serve this with a side salad of lightly dressed mixed greens to increase the alkalinity of this meal and aid in the digestion of the noodles as the veggies are heated thru and have less active enzymes. I seem to crave something raw at every meal so I always opt to add a salad. For my kids lunch, I always am sure to pack raw veggie sticks for them as well.
Here’s a visual of the noodles I was able to find. I located the soba noodles at the Japanese market and the spelt udon were at a healthy grocery store in our neck of the woods called Planet Organic. Do be careful in the Japanese market as there are many tempting and interesting goodies but amazingly enough they are filled with nasty additives, just check the English ingredient sticker if there is one on the package . I stick with the noodles and the brown rice vegetarian sushi that they make fresh along with the edamame in the pod that are already made to go. I say this because it’s hard to resist as their packaging is so lovely, just look at those pretty bundles of noodles with polka dot bands, nice hey? And the ginger grater, if you don’t have one, it’s a must– I use mine daily– just watch your fingers, it’s sharp! I don’t peel the ginger, I just buy organic and I wash it well. Do watch out for the non-organic ginger as much of it is GMO- that’s why some of the roots you find are sooo fat and enormous!
Udon Soup w/ Spelt Noodles and Bok Choy
4 c filtered water
3 tbsp braggs liquid aminos or to taste
1 tsp finely grated ginger- I use a rasp which if perfect for this
1 clove garlic grated fine with a rasp-if measured it’s about 1/2 tsp- chopped & pressed if you don’t have a rasp
1/8 tsp celtic sea salt
1 1/2 c shelled edamame beans
2 cups chopped baby bok choy- both stems and greens
1 8oz package spelt udon noodles or 2-3 bundles of buckwheat soba noodles
optional- snipped chives or green onions
Combine water, braggs, ginger and garlic and salt and heat on medium with edamame beans for about 5-6 mins.
Meanwhile, in another pot cook noodles according to package in filtered water. Drain. Prepare 4 serving bowls and divide noodles evenly. Now add bok choy to broth for just 1 minute. Using slotted spoon divide veggies between bowls and then pour remaining broth in each bowl. If desired garnish with snipped chives.
Fresh ginger has been used by the Chinese for more than 2500 years as a wonderful flavour for their food and also as a medicine. I love the flavour and I cook with it or use it raw everyday either in our daily morning fresh juice, salad dressings or in our savoury dishes. I can’t get enough of it and when we run out, once again, panic sets in- eek! So I like to keep it fresh and some frozen- it grates better on the rasp when it’s frozen and you are less likely to be out of stock when you have a freezer full! The benefits of ginger are extensive ranging from stopping nausea during pregnancy or travel. It supports a healthy cardiovascular system as it makes your blood platelets less sticky minimizing any circulation problems. People with arthritis have found relief from ginger oil used in massage as it has beneficial anti-inflammatory properties for any areas of inflammation in the body. If you have allergies, respiratory or cold symptoms (emitting of toxins) ginger can help relieve these symptoms just by including it in your diet or drinking a nice fresh ginger & lemon tea (hot water, fresh finely grated ginger, lemon juice and stevia-this is so yummy I drink it even when I feel great). The benefits of ginger are great but the cautions are Not to use ginger after the first 2 months of pregnancy as well as Not taking ginger 3-4 days prior to surgery for the increased risk of bleeding as ginger makes the platelets less sticky. Twenty four hours after surgery ginger consumption can begin once again. Consuming ginger with your meals if you have under gone chemotherapy or radiation treatment can minimize stomach discomfort. It can be taken fresh in your food or as a supplement but do consult your nutritionist, naturopathic doctor or your doctor if you have any health issues.
Don’t you love an easy recipe everyone enjoys, especially one that you can make from what you often already have on hand. I hope you and your family enjoy this simple dish, play with the proportions to suit your own taste buds, little more ginger if you like the hot. Let me know if you come up with some other yummy ways to enjoy udon soup the healthy way!
ps. This noodle dish is as tricky to eat as ordering spaghetti on a first date- so don’t be shy, just grab a knife and fork and cut your noodles and then just use a spoon–unless of course you are an expert with chop sticks–then slurp the yummy broth!