Eating Amai Udon has become one of my favourite past-times. Popping into a bustling Wagamamas and wolfing down a dish of the stuff makes me very happy indeed, and now I know I can do it at home, I just can’t stop. It turns out that making this delicious flavour-filled noodly fest is real easy. Not only can you put it all together from scratch in about 15 minutes, but all the ingredients can be found in mainstream supermarkets. I’m lucky enough to live close to a few small east-Asian supermarkets so I can choose from 5 different types of tofu, buy beansprouts by the carrier bag and get extra delicious fresh fat udon noodles. Nevertheless, you can still make a plate of sweet-sour noodly goodness with stuff you can grab from any local supermarket and it’s relatively cheap.
You can feed 3 people for about £7, if you have a few store cupboard essentials (vinegar, soy and ketchup) and for those who have never been, that’s the same you’d pay for one portion in Wagamamas. Don’t get me wrong, I love going out to eat this as I adore Waga’s frozen beer glasses, near-psychic efficiency and ability to get the dish to your table seconds after ordering, and of course those duck gyoza. I’m not quite ready to cook them at home and learn how deep fried they actually are, but the recipe is in the same cookbook so it’s nice to know I could do it myself in the comfort of my own kitchen if I wanted to.
It’s the combination of tamarind and egg that really makes this dish come alive. The tamarind is sweet and smokey and the egg makes it creamy and rich. The quick cooking time means the leek and onions stay crunchy and the noodles thick and slurpy. Topped off with fat tofu, juicy prawns, sharp lime and chopped peanuts and you are in for a treat. Click below for the full recipe.
Makes enough for 3 portions of Amai Udon:
- 1 tbsp malt vinegar
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp each of light and dark soy sauce
- Pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp of tomato ketchup
- 2 tsp tamarind paste (ready made)
Gently heat the vinegar, sugar and soy sauces in a small pan until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the remaining ingredients (and a bit of hot water to loosen the sauce) and set aside to cool while you prepare the ingredients below.
- 400g of udon noodles (fresh and ready to fry)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Your Amai sauce as above
- 1 leek and half a red onion
- 200g (or a regular packet) of prawns (peeled and cooked)
- A handful or two of beansprouts
- 2 tbsps of vegetable oil
- 110g of firm tofu
- 1 lime
- 2 tbsps chopped roasted peanuts
Chop your onion and leek into fine slices and place in a large bowl with the prawns, beansprouts and noodles. Stir in the amai sauce and the two eggs and stir until all ingredients are lightly coated. Heat a wok over a medium heat for 1-2 minutes and add the vegetable oil until its smoking. Add the chunks of tofu and stir until lightly browned. Tip the contents of the bowl into your wok with the tofu and keep it moving, on the same high heat for three to four minutes. Divide between two bowls, squeeze over the lime juice, bash the peanuts in their packet with a rolling pin and scatter over the top. Crack open an Asahi beer and indulge.