When most people think of a stir-fry they typically think of a rice dish. While rice has a nice density to hold up against vegetables and meat, noodles if prepared right, can be a welcome change. Udon or Soba noodles are an excellent whole grain alternative. The Japanese Udon noodle, commonly served in noodle soups, is generally made from either buckwheat or whole wheat flour. Whole wheat pastas have unfortunately gotten a bad rap though as they often come out mushy. The key to cooking them, whether it be Japanese Udon or Italian Spaghetti, is to ensure even cooking. To do this, bring your salted water to a rapid boil, stir in noodles and ¼ cup cold water, bring water back to a boil, add ¼ cup cold water and stir noodles, bring water back to yet another boil, add one more ¼ cup of cold water and stir noodles. Remove pot from heat and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. It sounds like a lot of work, but trust me, it only takes a few minutes and you will not have to worry about overcooked wheat pastas again.
This vegetable and shrimp stir-fry hits every mark; it’s full of nutrients, the flavor combination is delicious, it’s aesthetically pleasing, and it’s easy to prepare. It’s the perfect weeknight, light and healthy, yet filling and substantial dinner. If that’s not enough, it’s also perfectly wonderful served cold.
Udon Noodle, Shrimp, and Vegetable Stir-Fry Salad
- 8 oz. Udon noodles
- ¾ – 1 pound peeled and de-veined shrimp
- 4 tablespoons sesame oil
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
- 5 oz. shitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
- 1 red pepper, thinly sliced into strips
- 1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced into strips
- 1 large carrot, very thinly sliced
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- 2 bunches baby bok choy, chopped (stems and leaves separated)
- 6 scallions, sliced, white and greens parts separate
- ½ cup shoyu
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- Salt, to taste
Cook noodles according to instructions above. While noodles are cooking, heat a large wok on the stove. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of the sesame oil and sauté shrimp until cooked through on medium-high heat, about 3-5 minutes. Remove cooked shrimp and set aside. Wipe out the wok with a paper towel and return to the stove over medium heat, add remaining sesame oil. When oil is hot, add ginger and garlic and cook for one minute. Add mushrooms, peppers, carrots, jalapeno, bok choy stems and scallions (white parts only), cook until vegetables are tender, about 4 minutes.
Stir in bok choy leaves and remaining scallion parts. Stir in the shoyu and toasted sesame oil. Add drained noodles to the wok along with the reserved shrimp. Add salt to taste. Toss well and serve immediately.
*As a vegan option, swap out the shrimp for sautéed tofu.