are you tasting the umami?!
i was home...because i wasn't feeling so well...and after some non-stop sleeping, i awoke and was starving! ready to eat! i had bought a bunch of ingredients at the market to make yaki udon, so i started to prep.
i'm making this yaki udon my way...but i want you all to know, cooking is all about your love for food and the things that you enjoy! make it how you want to, add the things that you enjoy eating! i had bought a bunch of mushrooms, but i only used the maitake and bunapi mushrooms, bean sprouts, napa cabbage, red onion (because i liked it so much in that yaki soba at octopus) and green onions.
i use flank steak, i actually freeze it and then slightly defrost it before i cut it up nice and thin...thus the meat is more tender and easier to eat. the reason why i have it still slightly frozen is that it gives you the ability to cut it thinner without the meat moving around. i don't like huge pieces, so i slice them into bite size pieces...but do what you like.
this summer i went to the 1st annual korean bbq cookoff and picked up this bottle of spicy bulgogi marinade. so now this yaki udon is getting some korean flavor!
the sauce by itself had hints of sweetness, i definitely got the red pepper taste used in korean cooking and a slight bitterness. even though i used this as my marinade, i still wanted to add more of my own flavors to enhance this marinade because i still felt like it was lacking a bit in flavor. i added some sake, mirin, ginger powder, black pepper, sugar, garlic powder (because i didn't have any fresh garlic), and some soy sauce! umami! i still don't get that whole umami thing. my mushrooms always taste earthy and mushroomy without the soy...but whatever...i'm still trying to figure that out.
here's the marinated meat...
it looks like its going to be super hot...but honestly, it really wasn't....don't let that red color scare you one bit! i let the meat sit for at least half an hour...but you can go at least an hour, but make sure you don't add too much soy, you don't want your marinade to be too salty. sometimes, i add some julienned onion or chopped scallions to add even more flavor, but was too lazy to do it today.
i bought my udon prepackaged with some yaki sauce included...to save time. plus with my marinated meat, i knew that i was still going to get gravy from that as well...which has my own flavor profile in it. now you can tell, i'm starting to stray away from the normal yaki udon flavor. these noodles are so easy to use, there are 2 individual serving packs in each package. open it up, put a little oil in your pan, put in the noodles, add some water and allow it to soften so you can separate the noodles, i like a little color on my noodles and add the sauce. stir fried that all up and set that on the side.
i cook the vegetables separately also, i started with the mushrooms...
i LOVE mushrooms so much and that day, i actually cooked these beautiful shrooms in some butter and oil. why butter? omg...why not butter? normally when i'm making stuff like this i just use oil (asian cooking), but say i'm doing a hot plate grilling meal, its all about the butter and grilling everything in butter. YUM! ok...back to the mushrooms...they are so buttery and sweet, but the earthiness of the mushrooms really comes out. i let the mushrooms get a little color on them. i love seasoning fresh foods very simply, using the right amount of salt and pepper, just to enhance the natural flavors of the product.
i then sauteed up the onions, added the napa cabbage, and bean sprouts last so as not to over cook them. seasoned it all, again, just salt and pepper. the reason why i also keep it so simple is because there is so much flavor in the sauces so there is no need for all the flavors to compete against each other. lastly, i sauteed the meat in very hot oil, and once that was done, i combined all the ingredients back into the pan and mixed it all together. i added sirracha, mixed it all up and last to go in was the green onions. ta da! one giant plate of yaki udon, enough for 6 people...but with only one guest to actually eat it...me.
i would use more green onions, to add even more color...plus, i just love them so much! and remember, though the meat marinade was spicy and the fact that i added sirracha, i still wanted it to be spicier...
so i just added a bit more in each of my own servings...the meat was so tender and really flavorful. the mushroom were so scrumptious! the bunapi's were definitely more earthy in taste where as the maitake almost had a hint of bitterness. the napa cabbage and onions still had a nice crunch to it even though it looks like its al l brown and soft, but that's because i had so much gravy from the meat marinade. i actually love making a lot of gravy because i like it to coat all the noodles and vegetables, making sure everything is flavored perfectly. if my soy sauce made my meat, mushrooms and entire dish give me a feeling of umami...(the fifth taste) well then, i guess its mission accomplished. i tasted the meat and mushrooms... perhaps i've always experienced umami but just never realized it! hmmm....i will never know. all i know is that i thoroughly enjoyed my version of yaki udon...great flavor, lots of noodles but plenty of meat and veggies...well balanced.
make your own version of yaki udon and tell me what you put in it!
happy cooking and eating!