Nabeyaki udon is one of the first Japanese dishes I really learned how to make. One of my favorite things about Japanese recipes - especially when compared to other East Asian cuisines - is how a lot of it is not only extremely simple to make, but how savory and flavorful the final result ends up being. Case in point, nabeyaki udon blends ingredients like shrimp, mushroom, and dashi broth to create a flavor so clean and full of 'umami' that it might just replace your sick day bowl of chicken noodle. In this card, I'm going to teach you not only how to make this udon soup but how to make shrimp tempura from scratch for the recipe's integral ingredient. However, I will be honest in saying that a lot of the time, I end up cheating and buying premade shrimp tempura made elsewhere. (Check Trader Joe's. Cough cough.) -------------------------------------------------------------- Nabeyaki Udon (Shrimp Tempura Udon Soup) To Make Tempura Shrimp: 2 large tiger shrimp, shelled and deveined with the tails still attached (If your shrimp are frozen, let them thaw in cold water for about 20 minutes.) Salt Potato starch Frying oil (I use soybean.) 1 3/4 cups of water 2 tablespoons tempura flour 1. In a small bowl, cover the shrimp with a little salt and enough potato starch to coat evenly. Add a little bit of water to the bowl, gently tossing the shrimp to coat them in it. 2. Rinse the shrimp in cold water, and then then dry them well with a paper towel. Make diagonal cuts into the length of the shrimp, then gently straighten the shrimp out with your fingers. 3. In a separate bowl, put cold water in a bowl and mix in the tempura flour until fully combined. 4. Sprinkle the shrimp with a bit of salt and apply a very thin coating of more tempura flour to each. Dip one shrimp into the batter and gently place the shrimp into a frying pan of oil, heated to around 350F. 5. As the shrimp fries, use a pair of cooking chopsticks to reattach stray bits of tempura back to the shrimp. Add the second shrimp, fully frying both. 6. Once the tempura becomes crisp, carefully shake off the excess oil and transfer the shrimp onto a plate or cooling rack. To Prepare Toppings: 6 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed (You can use dried shiitake mushrooms as well, but you must submerge them for at least 30 - 60 minutes in a small bowl of water to prepare them for the recipe.) 1 1/4 cup water 1 1/2 tablespoon sugar 1 tablespoon soy sauce Green onion, chopped diagonally Flat parsley, chopped Kamaboko (steamed fish cake), sliced diagonally 1 egg 1. Preparing Mushrooms: On medium-high heat, place the mushrooms into a small saucepan with the 1 1/4 cups of water. As the water boils, use a spoon to skim the foam. Once boiling, cover the water with a square piece of paper towel, place the lid on, and reduce the heat to low to prevent bubbling over. Cook for 20 minutes before stirring in sugar, gently lifting and reapplying the paper towel to do so. Cook for an additional 7 minutes. Add in soy sauce, and keep the mushrooms on low heat until the water in the saucepan has almost evaporated completely. Then turn off the burner and allow the mushrooms to sit in the saucepan until cool, absorbing the remaining liquid. To Make The Broth: 1 bag of fresh (or frozen) udon noodles 1 1/2 cups water 2/3 teaspoon dashi soup base 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce 1 1/2 tablespoons mirin 1. Drop the udon noodles into a medium-sized saucepan of boiling water. After 25-30 seconds, separate the noodles with cooking chopsticks and drain them with a colander. Let them immediately soak in a shallow bowl of ice water, then set them aside in a dry bowl while creating the broth. 2. Add the 1 1/2 cups of water to a small saucepan or ceramic cooking pot, setting the burner to medium-high. Lightly stir in dashi base, soy sauce, and mirin. 3. Drop in the udon noodles. If you are not using a ceramic cooking pot, let the udon noodles cook in the bowl for about a minute before transferring it into a large soup bowl. 4. Add the ingredients to the bowl, keeping in mind that the pride of a bowl of Japanese udon noodles is having a beautiful presentation! Add the slices of kamaboko, the shiitake mushrooms, and chopped green onion. While still freshly hot, crack an egg into the bowl of soup and sprinkle on the flat parsley. Finally, lay the shrimp tempura across the soup. Enjoy!