The other day, I ate a fresh spring roll packed with mint, basil and cilantro and loved how the vibrant, crisp and clean flavors perfectly complimented each other. I found myself craving the taste a few days later, but instead of trying to recreate the rolls at home, I ended up using these herbs together in a different application and found that they also worked nicely in a soup. Both fragrant and pretty, this dish is also really easy to make.
1 TB toasted sesame oil
1 TB ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp sriracha, or more to taste (optional)
1 TB chopped flowering chives (optional)
4-6 shiitake caps, thinly sliced
1 shallot, sliced
1-2 scallions, sliced (optional)
1/2 carrot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup mirin or broth
3 cups Imagine Brand No-Chicken broth (or homemade stock)
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 TB brown sugar
udon noodles (or your favorite kind of noodle)
fresh basil, mint and cilantro, chopped (use 1 TB of each for each bowl)
fresh chilis and black sesame seeds (optional)
Heat the sesame oil in a medium-sized saute pan over low heat. Add in the ginger and garlic and allow to soften for a few minutes. Add in the sriracha and chives and allow to soften a bit more for a few minutes.
Turn the heat up to medium, then add in the shiitake, shallots, scallions and carrot. Pour the mirin into the pot to deglaze the pan, allow to sizzle, then add in the broth, soy sauce, rice vinegar and brown sugar. Allow to come to a small simmer, then reduce the heat to low.
Cook the udon noodles according to the package instructions (see also Mark Bittman's alternative method for boiling/cooling udon noodles). Add the noodles to serving bowls, then ladle the soup over the top. Add a tablespoon each of chopped fresh basil, mint and cilantro into each bowl, and garnish with thai chilis and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.