About this recipe
*COOKING FRESH ON A BUDGET IN WINTER*
There’s really nothing like a hearty, piping hot bowl of noodles on a cold winter’s night. At once soothing and filling, an antidote to the chill in our bones, a noodle bowl is also endlessly adaptable to local flavors.
Our basic recipe starts with vegetable stock, scallions, sweet potato, greens and egg but you can easily switch the type of stock, vegetables, protein and noodles to satisfy your cravings.
• To keep costs down, I encourage you to make homemade stock. Save roasted chicken bones for poultry stock; beef, lamb or pork bones for meat stock; shrimp shells or fish bones for fish stock. Save vegetable trimmings from other meal prep, such as carrots, celery, onions (not the skins) and mushroom stems to make veggie stock or as additions to the aforementioned stocks. Time saving tip: Store up ingredients separately in the freezer and make stock on a rainy or snowy day. Place ingredients in a large stockpot, cover with water, bring to a boil, cover, simmer for 2 hours, let cool, strain the solids out, season with salt and pepper, then freeze in small containers for future use.
• To make the noodle bowl vegan, substitute tofu for the egg. Add tofu to the pot at the same time as the greens.
• Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are a flavorful and less expensive cut than breast meat. Slice them into 1-inch strips, and add to the pot with the vegetables. Chicken will cook through in 2 to 3 minutes.
• In wintertime keep a look out at the market for the brief appearance of small yet flavorful wild Maine shrimp. It costs around $10 per pound. Domestic wild Gulf shrimp are a good alternative.
• For a shrimp and vegetable bowl, use around ½ pound of shrimp for 4 servings. Add the shrimp to the pot just be fore the end of the cooking time. Small Maine shrimp will take no more than a minute to cook through, and large Gulf shrimp will take 1 to 2 minutes.
• If you’re able to find spicy mustard greens at the farmers’ market, try them in place of the Swiss chard. They add a nice, peppery kick to the bowl, and pair well with egg, tofu, chicken or shrimp.
Total cost: With egg and udon: $15.87 for 4 servings; $3.97 per serving (Udon + Maine shrimp: $19.53; udon + Gulf shrimp: $18.99; udon + chicken thighs: $20.53; udon + tofu: $16.52 for 4 servings.)
Prepare the noodles according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Set aside.
In a large stockpot, combine the vegetable stock and soy sauce, then add the ginger and sliced sweet potato to the pot. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
Once the sweet potato is fork-tender (approximately 10 minutes) add scallions, bok choy and Swiss chard. Simmer until the greens are wilted and bright green, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add noodles and stir well. Keep over low heat.
Working quickly so noodles don’t get mushy, heat the oil in a medium sauté or frying pan and fry the eggs to your desired doneness.
Divide noodles among 4 warmed bowls. Add vegetables and broth and season with salt and pepper. Top each with 1 fried egg and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve each with a lime wedge.