Low Waste Yaki Udon 焼きうどん
As a 21st century, modern, California born and raised, Japanese-American, Reform Jew, eating consciously is deeply rooted in my soul. There's a Japanese saying, "mottainai もったいない". It conveys a sense of regret over waste. My Mom taught me this everyday by teaching me creative ways to use every ingredient and every part of a vegetable, so nothing would be wasted...
While being mindful of food waste is important, it's not enough. According to the USDA, 40% of the food supply in the US goes to waste. At the same time, 42.2 million Americans struggle with hunger, and 13.1 million of those people are children.
y friends over at the hilarious podcast Bay Seasoning are doing something about this. They've just launched a hunger awareness campaign for MAZON. MAZON is a Jewish national advocacy organization working to end hunger among people of all faiths and backgrounds in the US and in Israel. The campaign includes some pretty amazing giveaways, if you'd like to enter! We're planning to donate to MAZON for donation day this month, and encourage you to as well.
In the meantime, here's one of my favorite low-waste weeknight recipes: Stir-fried udon noodles!
Cooking time: 40 minutes
2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thigh meat, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sake
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, tops removed, scrubbed, and sliced into matchsticks (no need to peel!)
5 shiitake mushrooms, stems included (ends removed), thinly sliced
green tops of carrots, roughly chopped
1/2 small cabbage sliced thinly
1 package udon noodles
3 tablespoons mentsuyu or soy sauce (mentsuyu will give you much more depth of flavor!)
2 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Place chicken in a bowl with sake. Mix well and set aside for 40 minutes.
Boil a large pot of water for the udon noodles.
Chop and slice all vegetables, set aside.
Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a sprinkling of salt. Continue to mix well for 5 minutes- until they are translucent and starting to brown. This will give you dish a nice layer of flavor.
Add the chicken to the pan with a bit of salt and mix until it's almost cooked through, but not quite.
Add the vegetables in the order above, one at a time, mixing continuously.
When the water for the udon comes to a boil add the udon. It will take about 3-5 minutes to cook- check for doneness and strain into a colander.
Throw the udon into the pan with the vegetables and add the mentsuyu. Toss until everything is mixed in and evenly coated with the sauce.
Serve in bowls topped with some chopped green onion and sesame seeds. Serve immediately and enjoy!