Miso soup gets a bad wrap, in my humble opinion. It’s a throwaway item, usually served as an “entrees include…” add-on at Japanese restaurants and sushi bars. I don’t particularly care for it as a standalone soup, though I will eat it if it’s served. It’s not my favorite, though I don’t have a particular reason. I do, however, like miso when it is used as a cooking ingredient or when served with udon.
I’ve posted a recipe in the past for udon miso, but I wanted to take another stab at it for a couple of reasons. First, I thought it would be a good way to present chicken. Secondly, Wegmans is now selling a frozen udon noodle and I wanted to give that a try. Usually, I buy udon off the shelf. It is normally found with the other Asian noodles, and packaged in a vacuum-sealed wrapper. After about two minutes in boiling water, the rice noodles are ready to eat. The frozen iteration was a defrost-and-serve preparation. After two and one-half minutes in the microwave, my noodles were loose and ready to serve.
I opted for chicken thighs, as I tend to do lately. The thigh meat has so much more flavor than breast meat, and the calorie and fat content are about the same after some trimming. I mixed up a quick honey-miso sauce to toss the chicken in before giving it a quick stir fry.
All in all, this was a pretty quick dish to prepare. The most time consuming part was slicing the mushrooms and scallions.
WHAT WORKED: Red miso. It has a richer flavor that complements everything nicely. Plus, white miso is kind of wimpy. Don’t take my word for it. Here’s what The Kitchn says:
(Red miso) is also typically made from soybeans fermented with barley or other grains, though with a higher percentage of soybeans and/or a longer fermentation period. It can range in color from red to dark brown. The deep umami flavor of red miso can overwhelm mild dishes, but is perfect for hearty soups, braises, and glazes.
WHAT DIDN’T: Not reading directions. I started a pot of water to boil before reading the instructions for the udon. (Notice the saucepan below) I’m an idiot.
WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: Lots of talk about The Kid’s stomach bug reemergence, so there wasn’t much more than a “This is good.”
WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: I don’t see why not. I can’t stress enough how easy this was to make.
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp. red miso paste
- 3 tbsp. honey
- 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic
- 3/4 lb. chicken thighs, deboned, skinned and trimmed of exterior fat, and cut into thin strips
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 12 oz. udon noodles, prepared per the package directions
- 2 cups snow peas
- 2 cups shitake mushrooms, stemmed and chopped
- 1 small bunch chopped scallions, trimmed at the ends white and green parts
- 1 qt. chicken broth
Whisk together 1/3 cup miso paste, honey, garlic and rice vinegar until the miso is dissolved. Toss chicken meat with the miso mixture to coat. Stir fry chicken until cooked through. Remove from pan with slotted spoon and set aside.
In the meantime, bring the chicken broth to a boil in a soup pot or Dutch oven. Reduce heat to medium or medium-high. Add the vegetables to the pan and cook until snow peas are crisp tender and bright green, three minutes. Remove from heat.
Add the two tbsp. of miso paste to a serving bowl. Add a ladleful of broth to the serving bowl and whisk until the miso is dissolved (don’t cook the miso in the broth as boiling miso paste will make it gritty). Add half of the both to the serving bowl then the noodles. Toss together. Add the remaining broth and the chicken. Toss again and serve hot.