Udon Noodle Soup with Shiitakes
In Japan and other Asian countries, there are noodle houses for restaurant-goers who just want to sit down to a bowl of flavored noodles and vegetables. We even have a few here in big U.S. cities like Chicago and New York. The art of noodle-making is a skill; so chefs apprentice with master noodle-makers to perfect the craft. Here, we use packaged, whole-wheat udon noodles to imitate a noodle soup at home. In these soups, there is more noodle than broth. So feel free to slurp the meal; and a flat-bottomed Japanese ceramic spoon will help. You can substitute for the vegetable broth with chicken broth or the Oriental soybean broth called miso, if you like.
In a medium wok or skillet (with deep, angled sides) coated with Teflon™ non-stick, heat the oil over medium until hot. Add the onion and stir with a wooden spoon to coat the onions. Cook about 1 minute and then add the garlic. Stir in the ginger and the mushrooms, and saute about 4 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Add the broth and the vinegar, and stir well. Add the carrot and cook for about 8 minutes. Portion the cooked noodles into individual serving bowls and add the soup broth slowly with the vegetables, not making the result too soupy. Serve immediately.