Trying to eat home cooked dinner daily while having a full-time job can be a pretty challenging task. In general, cooking can be tiring when done on a daily basis. Sometimes you just want a quick fix but reaching out for those cup noodles or microwavable food is not the ideal situation. Not especially when you want to look after your health or watch your calories consumption.
Just the other day, I was feeling tempted by that one cup of noodles that has been sitting in my pantry for a while now. Aside from the alarming fact that it has a really long expiry date, what was more shocking was the amount of calories in that small portion of cup noodles. Close to 600 kcal and packed with sodium that should be more than enough in a day, that’s the worst thing to consume for dinner if you’ve managed to keep the rest of the day’s meals healthy. Like accidentally pulling the trigger after you’ve manage to defuse the bomb.
Anyway, that shock was enough to keep my hands to myself when it comes to cup noodles. Those dangerous little suckers. Determined to find a quick healthy fix for dinner, I browsed through my imaginary food directory (and the internet… no shame there). I was craving for some Korean or Japanese food so I think I was googling quick Japanese meals or something, when I came across the udon.
Yup, udon it shall be.
For the meat, I always have frozen chicken around. And bok choy is another staple in my fridge. I have to admit though, the onions are just because I have too many. Here in supermarkets, aside from selling really big ones loose, smaller ones comes in a bag. Granted I could go to the wet market to get loose ones but since they can keep for pretty long, I usually just buy them along with my other groceries.
Sidetracking to the topic of wet markets… so wet markets in Asia is known to be a cheaper alternative to supermarkets but I think that is only true depending on which supermarket and in this period, they are not always cheaper. They are only good for getting smaller quantities of ingredients if say you want to try out a new recipe but don’t want to get too much ingredients in case you didn’t like it in the end. After countless comparisons and considering time efficiency, there’s probably a reason why supermarkets can survive in Asia. Larger supermarkets also have economies of scale, offering certain items at cheaper prices and obviously for the fact that there are items you can’t find in a wet market.
FYI if you’re an expat who’s just arrived in Singapore, chain supermarkets ordered from cheapest to most expensive:
Sheng Siong/Giant << NTUC << Cold Storage << Marketplace/Jasons
Any other smaller niche supermarkets are definitely up there in terms of prices. Useful to keep note of!
Recipe: Chicken Udon Noodle Soup
|Serves 2||Prep Time: 15 Mins||Cook Time: 15 Mins||Total Time: 30 Mins|
250g skinless chicken breast
1 packet of fresh udon noodles
250g bok choy
½ medium onion
2 – 3 shiitake mushrooms
50ml of Mentsuyu (soba sauce)
450ml of water
Additional water for boiling noodles
Toasted white sesame (optional)
Shredded Toasted seaweed (optional)
- Bring a pot of water to boil and prep the other ingredients while waiting for the water to boil.
- Cut the onion, chicken and bok choy. (Cutting them into bite size pieces makes them easier to eat; I usually cut the bok choy into 3) slice the shiitake mushrooms and spring onions thinly.
- When the water has boiled, put in the udon noodles for as long as stated on the packaging. (This will vary whether you are using fresh or dry udon; I use fresh ones so 2-3 mins is usually enough)
- Drain the water and separate udon into two serving bowls.
- Using same pot of boiling water, boil the chicken until cooked and place into serving bowls.
- Pour the mentsuyu and water into the pot and bring to a boil. Add the bok choy, mushrooms and onions and simmer until cooked.
- Depending on how you like your eggs, you can directly crack it into the soup with all the other ingredients. Otherwise, take out the other ingredients then crack the egg in to get a nicer poached egg.
- Garnish with spring onion and serve immediately
- Traditional Japanese udon noodle soup does not usually use bok choy, but bok choy is not only cheap, it’s delicious and healthy so why not? You can substitute bok choy for other vegetables such as spinach.
- If you are worried about the raw vegetable taste, boil the vegetables separately and add a pinch of salt into the water.
- The recipe doesn’t need any other seasonings like salt or soy sauce because mentsuyu itself is a type of soy sauce. Check out my ingredient list on more information.