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Vegan Udon Noodle Soup

This Vegan Udon Noodle Soup features a homemade vegetable broth with a smoky umami, a variety of fresh veggie toppings, and crispy tofu. It’s a bowl of instant comfort on a cold day.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Japanese
Servings: 2
Author: Thomas

Ingredients

Vegetable stock

  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cup carrot sliced thinly (140 grams or 5 ounces)
  • 1 cup daikon radish sliced thinly (180 grams or 6 ounces)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon ginger sliced thinly (about 4 thick coin-sized pieces of ginger)
  • 1 dried shiitake mushroom
  • 1/2 cup dried mushrooms see note
  • 1 piece kombu 3x3 inches or 7.5x7.5 centimeters

Soup Seasonings

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup or other sweetener
  • 1 Tablespoon sake or more mirin
  • 1/8 teaspoon liquid smoke

Noodles and toppings

  • 2 servings udon noodles preferably fresh or frozen (see note)
  • 1 carrot peeled and sliced
  • 3.5 ounces fresh spinach 100 grams
  • 2 ounces fresh beech mushrooms 57 grams, can substitute enoki or other mushrooms
  • 2 sheets aburaage fried tofu

Garnish

  • 2 green onions chopped
  • Shichimi togarashi optional

Instructions

Make the Stock

  • Combine all the ingredients for the vegetable stock in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover, turn to low heat, and simmer for at least 20 minutes.

While the Stock is Simmering, Prepare the Noodles and Toppings

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 C).
  • While the oven is preheating, bring another pot of water to a boil over high heat.
  • When the oven is hot, place the aburaage sheets on a piece of foil and put them in the oven. Bake until brittle and crispy, 10-12 minutes. Remove the aburaage and cut it into thin strips.
  • If using frozen udon noodles, submerge them in the boiling water just long enough for them to soften (they only need to thaw). If using dried noodles, cook them according to the instructions, undercooking them by about 1 minute (they’ll soften more once they’re in the soup). Don’t discard the noodle boiling water.
  • Use the noodle boiling water to blanch the spinach, carrot, and mushrooms. The mushrooms and carrot need about the same amount of time - about 3 minutes. The spinach just needs 20 seconds or so - remove it when it’s bright green.

Complete the Stock

  • When you’re ready to serve, remove the solid ingredients from the vegetable stock (you can eat them or discard them as you like) and stir in the ingredients listed under “Soup Seasonings”.

Assemble and Serve

  • Prepare a bowl for each serving - put equal portions of noodles and toppings into each. Add enough soup as desired (you’ll probably have some left over in any case). Top with green onion and shichimi togarashi as desired. Serve immediately.

Notes

The recipe will create more broth than you need for 2 servings. You can make a third serving if you like, or use the extra soup for a dipping sauce for tempura (or other crispy food).
If you’d like to save time, you can use 6 cups of packaged vegetable stock instead of the ingredients listed here under “Vegetable Stock”. Still, you may want to infuse the packaged vegetable stock by simmering the kombu and shiitake mushroom in it for at least 15 minutes.
I use a blend of white, brown, oyster, and black trumpet mushrooms. You can use any kind of dried mushrooms you like, or replace them with an additional dried shiitake mushroom.
Fresh and frozen udon noodles will have the best texture by far. If you are going to use dried noodles, dried udon will work but won’t be the same. Dried soba will work in this recipe too.