Sunday, April 7, 2013

Mint, Basil and Cilantro Udon Noodle Bowl

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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.


  1. What a great idea! I've been thinking of cold pasta salads (like bow-tie or something) but why not this? I LOVE thai food! And do you need instructions on how to make spring rolls? It looks so challenging but last year I started making some and once you get the hang of it it's easy and fun! I might post a step by step on my blog like I did for Sushi! (direct link to the post below)

  2. YUM! i love noodley soup! all of the fresh herbs and flavors must make a very satiating and comforting meal.

  3. That looks beautiful, light, and refreshing!

  4. Beautiful, simple, flavorful and exotic....I love these kind of dishes! I don't make the exotic one's enough...can't wait to try this one out!

  5. How many servings, for this recipe? Looks amazing!

    1. Thanks! This made two servings, with a lunch-sized portion leftover.

  6. This soup was so delicious! I had some snow peas and tofu so I put those in too. I love the freshness of the herb combination for a garnish at the end.

    1. glad you enjoyed -- I will have to try adding tofu next time!

  7. The photograph looked really appetizing, so I made the soup. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy it very much. The broth was quite good, but the final product had too many shreds of raw leaves for my taste.

    If I were to prepare this again, I'd modify the recipe by cooking the majority of the basil, mint, and cilantro -- and just sprinkle a little bit of the raw stuff on top right before eating.

  8. This was completely delicious. Made it for lunch today after having it bookmarked for months. I was able to get all the herbs, the shiitakes, garlic, and carrot at the farmer's market, and the result was fantastic. I'm embarrassed to say the broth is gone, and there was nobody else helping me finish it.

    I did incorporate the above comment's suggestion and introduced some of the chopped herbs into the broth for a few minutes before ladling everything over the noodles. Substituted white wine vinegar because I was out of rice vinegar and used a baby onion instead of shallots, but it didn't harm the flavor. Definitely making this again. Thanks!

    1. I'm so happy you enjoyed Andy -- thanks for your feedback!

  9. Yeah, that looks delicious. Having to buy fresh basil is one thing, but I don't have a good fresh mint supplier that has something as lovely as it looks in the pic.


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