These Asian noodles are big on flavor! Fresh rice noodles just soak up everything you put on them. Typically a Japanese style pasta dish would use chewy udon or earthy soba noodles for a base but I was thinking that I would make Drunken Noodles this week. Instead of Thai I opted for this little Japanese style number with some nontraditional noodles. My Japanese shiitake umeboshi noodles have everything. Crispy tofu for a punch of protein and slow cooked mushrooms that are concentrated and deep in flavor all coated in a flavorful pickled plum sauce. After the cooking is finished you’ll toss in fresh spring onions and bean sprouts for crunch.
It’s no secret that I love pasta. When I was a kid my mom would get so mad because I’d pick all the chicken out of the noodles she would make and just go for the pasta. I could have literally just eaten noodles for dinner and called it good. It was a problem. Man does not live by noodle alone. This noodle bowl is definitely much more well rounded. It has enough tofu and mushrooms to keep you satisfied.
To get the mushrooms good and caramelized without the use of oil you will use a lower heat than you would typically; I stay firmly at medium. Then be careful not to stir too much while cooking. I used maple syrup as an aid to really get the flavor and texture I needed as well as a hit of rice wine to add a tiny bit of moisture. You don’t want the mushrooms to get soggy but you also don’t want them to burn. It’s a fine balance.
For the sauce I used a mixture of soy sauce, “sweet soy sauce”, garlic, rice wine, umeboshi and a tiiiiny bit of tahini. The tahini in this case was to prevent the noodles from sticking together. Sweet soy sauce makes a fantastic foil for the sourness of the umeboshi. This type of soy sauce is very vicious so it really sticks to the noodles. I love sweet soy sauce spread all over tofu before pan frying. It is a very easy way to season your tofu if you’re short on time or ideas. Sweet soy sauce is very similar in taste to hoisin sauce. But the star of the sauce is the pickled plum. Umeboshi is so sour! But it’s beautiful combined with the rest of the sauce as well as the sweetness of the cooked shiitake. Together everything mellows out.
The real beauty in this noodle bowl is how simple it is to throw together. It took me 20 minutes and most of it was passive. After a long day it’s nice to be able to cook something that’s easy but also healthy, filling and delicious. Try it! You’ll love it too. If there are any leftovers you can eat the shiitake umeboshi noodles chilled. These noodles are just as good cold the next day. Just add a squeeze of rice vinegar and you’ll be sitting pretty.