Noodles in soup. What could be more gratifying? The base of this Udon soup is a rich, homemade beef stock to which some aromatics, spices such as toasted star anise, coriander, and prekese have been added. In addition to that, a bit of shrimp paste, fish sauce, soy sauce, and sesame oil are also added to make a fantastic and flavourful soup.
I love making simple noodle soups, mainly Asian-inspired as they are always so comforting. This Udon stir fry with chicken also hits the spot if you are looking for another Udon recipe. Other soups you may find interesting are groundnut soup or okro soup with goat meat.
A bunch of fresh vegetables, aromatics and spices like prekese, star anise, and coriander seeds, Kale and mushrooms make this soup very flavourful. The main flavour comes from the beef stock and this combined with the shrimp paste, soy sauce, fish sauce, and sesame oil, forms the base of the soup.
Prekese, scientific name Tetrapleura tetraptera, is an ingredient typically used in soups in Ghana but it can also be used in juices. It is a fruit which is dark brown in colour and has a sweet smell and taste. While developing this recipe, I found the sweet aroma of this ingredient as well as the star anise to be the perfect balance to the rest of the more savoury ingredients.
If you can't or don't want to make a beef stock you can always buy ready-made stock. If you do want to make it yourself then you can roast beef bones in the oven and then put those in a large pot, add some water, add some vegetables if you want and let that simmer.
I don't add any salt to the stock so that I can get a base that can be adjusted with salt as necessary. Especially if you are adding soy sauce or any other salty components to a dish with stock to which salt has been added, any additional salt can lead to an overly salty dish.
For this recipe I used frozen Udon as it was the easiest to get.
The first step involves toasting the coriander seeds, the prekese and the star anise. This will relase their flavour so that they can be infused with the stock quicker. If you have a mesh then you can place the toasted ingredients into the mesh and then into the stock. You can also just place them into the pot and take them out with a slotted spoon. This is what I did.
The next step is to add the shrimp paste mix and then blanch the kale and cook the mushrooms in the soup. Once that is done leave the soup to simmer slowly.
Once the soup is cooked the noodles are going to be cooked separately and then the hot soup poured over them.
As mentioned in my Udon Stir-Fry recipe, these frozen noodles do not take long to cook at all. It also pays to remember that these cooked noodles will have hot soup poured over them and some of that heat will also cook the noodles further.
- Noodles - if Udon is difficult to get or just too expensive, you can easily replace Udon with any other type of noodles. In the absence of that you can also use any pasta of your choice.
- Leafy vegetables - To add some green to your soup, instead of kale, you can use other vegetables like cabbage or bok choy.
- Chicken or Pork stock - you can make this soup using either chicken stock or pork stock. The flavour profile will be different but the soup will still be incredibly delicious.
Watch out the cooking times for the Udon. The frozen ones typically do not need more than a minute to be done. For the best texture, cook them for about 45-55 seconds. Remember that the soup is also hot so there will be some residual heat from there.
- 200 grams frozen udon
- 1 liter beef stock
- handful oyster mushrooms
- 3 green chillis
- 1 small white radish sliced
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds approximately
- prekese small piece
- 1 small star anise
- coriander/ cilantro leaves fresh
- ½ teaspoon shrimp paste
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- few drops sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon ginger grated
- 3 cloves garlic roasted
- Toast the coriander seeds, prekese, and star anise in a pan for about 2 minutes ensuring that they don't burn.
- Pour beef stock into the pot and add toasted spices and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove the aromatics from the stock.
- Add shrimp paste, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil to stock, and green chilis and leave to simmer for further 15 minutes.
- Add ginger and roasted garlic.
- Blanch kale in the stock and take out after 1 minute. Repeat for mushrooms but cook them for about 2-3 minutes. Set aside and leave the soup to simmer
- In a another pot, boil some water and cook frozen udon for about 45 seconds- 60 seconds. Refer to instructions on the packaging for cooking times.
- Drain udon and rinse with cold water.
- Pour the soup into a serving bowl and add cooked udon. Place kale, mushrooms, and radish on top. Add fresh coriander leaves.
- Serve hot with a hard boiled or soft boiled egg.
- You can leave the kale raw if that is what you prefer.