Project Pan-Asia: Wherein a Family Flies East (in the kitchen at least)

Img_6062Despite our borderless enthusiasm for the cuisines of the world, when it comes to home cooking, my wife and I tend to fall back on the usual quasi-Mediterranean, vaguely Italian-Franco-Spanish repertoire. To shake things up for us and our kids, we’ve decided to make a concerted effort to cook more Asian food at home: Thai, Indian, Japanese, whatever. We’ve done the occasional Korean BBQ on the backyard grill, the pseudo Chinese stir fry, the lame-o sushi, but simply haven’t tried hard enough. We are tiring (could it be?) of starting everything with olive oil and garlic. Well, maybe not tiring, but perhaps relying upon it a bit too much.

So in our newfound pledge to cook at least one, non-Mediterraneanish dish a week, my wife was the first mover, throwing together a Japanesque udon soup for the kids that they absolutely loved, and even tackled with their little training chopsticks. There are any number of other more healthy, full-balanced-meal variations that can be spun off of this, but their embrace of the new flavors has emboldened us in our forthcoming Pan-Asian explorations.

Miso Soup With Udon and…
The "and…" is a call to creativity and infinite riffs. Think of this as a base recipe, into which greens, cooked chicken, beef, or tofu could be added. If the noodles are too tough for the kids to manage with training chopsticks or a fork, cut the noodles up with kitchen shears in the bowl and let them eat it with a big spoon, or fork, or whatever works.

4 cups low sodium chicken broth or water
4 tablespoons white miso paste
thinly sliced scallions
3 clovves garlic
udon noodles (prepared according to package)

Heat broth to a simmer then stir in miso paste until dissolved. Add cooked noodles and scallions.

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4 Responses to Project Pan-Asia: Wherein a Family Flies East (in the kitchen at least)

  1. Dumplings or potstickers are a must for this venture. Make the filling and shape the dumplings over the weekend, then cook on “Pan-Asian night.” I recommend any dumpling recipe by Nina Simonds. Her book “Classical Chinese Cuisine” contains helpful illustrations on shaping the dumplings. Here is a link to one Nina Simonds recipe, but no need to make the wrappers by hand. Gyoza wrappers are great, as are others available at Asian markets and at some Whole Foods Markets.
    Nina Simonds recipe:

  2. Hugh says:

    Thanks much for the tip and the link. I’ll definitely add this to the list of PanAsian Projects.

  3. Cinthia Alvarez-Buonaiuto says:

    Just started looking at your blog today.
    Love the whole asian-rediscovery.
    Where did you get those cool chopsticks?
    The kids would love them, and get more motivated to eat the food with them.

  4. Hugh says:

    I can’t remember where we got these. It was years ago, but I found them on amazon. Here’s the link:

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