The Noodle Shop Cookbook

This week's dish was one of my favorites so far. Granted, I love noodles so it's not unexpected. The Noodle Shop Cookbook by Jackie Passmore covers a wide range of Asian noodles from countries like Thailand, Singapore, China, and Japan.

I hadn't had udon in a while so I decided to make this simple recipe. It's kind of like a cold soba dish where you dip each mouthful of noodles into a sauce before you eat them. There's not much to it other than sauce and noodles so we had some crunchy radish kimchi along with it which turned it was a perfect light summer dinner. I'm definitely going to make it again.

Sama Age Udon from The Noodle Shop Cookbook by Jackie Passmore


Dipping Sauce:
Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil, add the noodles, and bring the water back to a boil. Add 1 cup of cold water, return to a boil, and add another cup of cold water. Return again to a boil, then cook until the noodles are tender, testing frequently after 2 1/2 minutes to ensure they are done just right; they should be just slightly chewy. Drain and divide among four large bowls. Place each of these on its own tray.

Best each bowl place a small dish containing some of the minced scallion and a knob of wasabi paste. (If using wasabi powder, mix to a paste with a little sake or water).

Combine the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and heat almost to boiling. Remove from heat.

Bring a large kettle of water to a boil. Pour about 1 1/2 cups of boiling water into each of the bowls of noodles (I didn't see the point of this and just poured some of the hot water left over from boiling the noodles into the bowls). Pour the warm sauce into four other bowls, place on the serving trays and take immediately to the table.

To eat, sprinkle scallion onto the sauce (I added mine directly to the noodles instead), add wasabi paste to taste, and stir with chopsticks to dissolve. Life the noodles from the hot water, hold them over the bowl a few seconds to drain, dip into the sauce, and eat with the noisy, splattering slurp of a noddle professional.

The Verdict
4 (out of 5) stars. I get the impression that this book was pretty ground breaking for it's time (first published in 1994). The recipes seem authentic and cover noodles from a sizable swath of Asian countries. The main flaws of the book are the total lack of photos (there are some line drawings to illustrate various techniques) and the directions that can seem long-winded or overly complicated.

Overall it's a good book that covers almost every Asian noodle dish you could wish to eat. However, more recent cookbooks with photos and more explanatory material might be better suited to the novice noodle cook.

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