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TSP Original: Warm Ginger Udon Noodles with Broccoli and Savoy Cabbage

MUSIC PAIRING: Ben Harper, Lifeline

My plans of creating an original recipe for you each month have taken a backseat to some life goings on as of late. Thank you guys for being patient and for having hearts that are bigger than your stomachs.

Today, I come to you with some Asian flavors. Since the Chinese noodle shop down the street from my apartment is getting to know me more than I’d like, I figured it was time for me to whip something up myself.

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I knew I wanted something warm and bold yet delicate so I decided on a simple udon noodle dish with some crunchy broccoli and savoy cabbage. Since having the flu last month, I’ve held on to this nagging congestion that makes me want to scream. I’ve mentioned before that I like a good dose of things like garlic and ginger when I’m under the weather. I thought, even though I’m now above the weather (yes, I think we should use this term for when we’re not sick), perhaps those would help with this new congestion friend I have.

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I’m really lucky because I love greens of all sorts even without my mom having to tell me to. Actually, there really isn’t one vegetable I dislike. I know, I’m a parent’s dream. I also tend to like nearly all my vegetables on the far undercooked side. Unless, of course, we’re dealing with potatoes in which case I’ll be angry with you if you serve them to me undercooked.

Here, I take crunchy broccoli and savoy cabbage and barely cook it down so you get that nice bite to contrast with the noodles. Please feel free to cook them down to mush if that’s what you prefer. I do hear the baby food diet was once a thing.

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Why Ben Harper? Ohhh Ben, I adore you. I love the Lifeline album and hadn’t listened to it in much too long. I was reminded in ‘Fight Outta You’ when he says there’s always someone younger, someone with more hunger; don’t let it take the fight outta you that doing this site is a joy for me whether it’s just me reading it or not. Creating recipes isn’t easy and sometimes you wonder if anyone out there will care. But then, I remember that that’s exactly where the beauty lies for me. There is always someone younger and there is always someone with more hunger but I’m not doing this to compete. Nor am I doing this to compare. So, putting on some Ben Harper when I’m feeling a little defeated reminds me that nobody can take the fight outta me.

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Special thanks to Colleen for being a trusted TSP Original recipe tester and for sharing her images of the dish when she cooked it, too! Man, I’ve got good friends.     

Warm Ginger Udon Noodles with Broccoli and Savoy Cabbage
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For the Vinaigrette (makes ~3/4 cup)
  1. 1/3 cup soy sauce (I used low sodium)
  2. 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
  3. 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  4. 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  5. 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  6. 3 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  7. 2 teaspoons real, high quality maple syrup
For the Veggies
  1. 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  2. 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  3. 4 cups broccoli florets (I used 3 small broccoli crowns that equaled just slightly over 4 cups)
  4. 1/2 head of Savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
  5. 8 green onions, chopped (green parts only)
  6. 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  7. 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  8. 1/2 package (6.4 ounces) of udon noodles (I used 2 bundles of Roland organic udon noodles which come in 4 convenient bundles per package)
  9. Salt and pepper
  10. 1/2 cup toasted peanuts or almonds, chopped for garnish (optional)
  11. Sprig of fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a mini food processor or blender, combine all vinaigrette ingredients. Blend until garlic and ginger are chopped and well combined. If you don’t own a mini food processor or blender, simply mince the garlic and ginger as fine as possible and give everything a good whisking. Set aside.
  2. Heat a deep sauté pan (something with sides) over medium-high heat and add the coconut and sesame oils. Add broccoli florets and sauté for about 6 - 10 minutes or until broccoli starts to char a bit on the outside. Lower heat to medium and add cabbage, green onions and lime juice and cook until cabbage just begins to soften, about 10 minutes. Very cautiously season the veggie mixture with salt and pepper. You do want your veggies to be seasoned separately but the salt from the soy sauce in the vinaigrette will be plenty to season the dish overall.
  3. In a separate pot (I used a medium sized pot, not a large one like you normally need for a box of pasta), boil water for the udon noodles. Please note that I did not salt the water for these noodles. As I mention above, the soy sauce in the vinaigrette will season everything. Cook udon noodles according to package directions (I cooked mine for five minutes). Drain.
  4. Off the heat, add udon noodles back into the pot you cooked them in. Add half of the vinaigrette mixture, stirring to combine well. Let them rest for five minutes.
  5. After resting, add veggie mixture, remaining vinaigrette and chopped cilantro to the noodles. Stir to combine.
  6. Serve in bowls topped with peanuts or almonds and fresh cilantro sprigs.
Notes
  1. For those unfamiliar with cooking oils, toasted sesame oil is different than sesame oil. Typically, toasted oils are used in vinaigrettes (like I use it here), marinades or for finishing. The flavor is nuttier and deeper. However, I do use a small touch in the actual cooking of the veggies because, well, I wanted to.
  2. This recipe is very forgiving. Feel free to substitute whatever veggies you’d like or add more in! Also, for those of you in the ‘I hate cilantro’ camp (I'm looking at you, Erica), it won’t take away from the recipe at all if you leave it out. Just note that this is a ginger and garlic heavy recipe so if you want to ease up on those particular flavors, scale back a bit.
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  1. Colleen P
    May 4, 2015

    This dish was super delish!!! I’m going to try adding some shrimp to it next time, too 🙂

  2. Erica
    May 4, 2015

    Cilantro… Vile weed