Monday, November 10, 2014

Hearty Korean-style soup with udon noodles, chicken, tofu and mushrooms

A couple of weeks ago, I was craving Korean-style soup, the kind that's brimming with slippery noodles, tender pieces of tofu and chicken, fresh vegetables, suspended in a spicy broth that can chase away any cold. Not knowing where to start, I turned to youtube and stumbled upon a cute series of how-to cooking videos posted by a Korean mom for her children attending school away from home (aw). I started to get a sense for the ingredients in this type of cuisine and used it to create my own concoction. It was terrific! This makes enough for 8 mains; extras can be frozen. 


The night before - Marinate the chicken and tofu:
Whisk together 1/4 cup soya sauce, 2T sesame oil, 2T sugar, 2T freshly-grated garlic, 1T garlic and 1 tsp sambal oelek. Cut 8 chicken thighs into thin strips and 2 pieces of firm tofu into 1" cubes. Place in separate bowls and pour over marinade. Mix gently to coat, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

The night before - Prepare the broth:
(Alternatively, you could use commercial chicken or vegetable broth.) Roughly chop 1 large carrot, 1 stalk of celery and 1/4 onion. In a stockpot, heat 1T oil over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables and cook, stirring often, until starting to caramelize. Add a rotisserie chicken carcass tied in cheesecloth and a bouquet garni, then add enough water to cover the carcass by several inches. Increase heat to high and bring water to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 hours. Season with salt and pepper. 

Prepare the filler ingredients:
The next day, peel and slice 2 large carrots, 3/4 onion, 6 green onions and 12 mushrooms. Cut a sheet of dried seaweed (the kind used for sushi) in half, then into thin strips. In a bowl, whisk together 3 eggs. Heat 1 tsp oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add the eggs and leave them until set on the bottom. Gently flip and cook the other side. Slide the omelette out of the pan and cut into thin strips. Set everything aside. 

Prepare the soup:
Remove the chicken strips from the marinade, reserving the liquid. In a large saucepot, fry the chicken strips in oil over medium high heat until lightly browned on the outside but still pink on the inside. Add reserved marinade, vegetables and broth, plus 1 cup of kimchi, a couple of chopped anchovies, 2T sambal oelek, 1/2 cup soya sauce and 2T of rice wine vinegar (you can also wait until the end and add each of these to taste). If you need more liquid, add water. Increase heat and bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and continue cooking for 20 minutes. Finally, add 3 packages of thick udon noodles and the tofu (and its marinade) and simmer for another 10 minutes. 

Serve with cilantro.

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