Noodles are featured regularly on school lunch menus. Using stalwart vegetables of winter that transition us into spring, this menu has an earthy green flavor reminiscent of the beginning of the season. (Serves 2)
¼ onion, peeled and chopped into medium-sized strips
1 3.5 oz package shimeji mushrooms, cleaned and with the bottoms removed
4-5 slices ham, cut into bite-sized strips
1 large handful baby spinach, cleaned
3 tablespoons mirin
3 tablespoons soy sauce
¾ cup water
½ teaspoon konbu dashi granules
½ 3.5 oz package enoki mushrooms, cleaned and with bottoms removed
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Green onions for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste
Noodles of your choice (cellophane, vermicelli, or angel hair work well)
Pot, heavy frying pan, bowl
1. For noodles: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and cook according to the package directions.
2. In a heavy frying pan, heat cooking oil over medium-high heat; sauté the onions until fragrant. Add the shimeji mushrooms, and sauté the mixture until the mushrooms have become softened. Next, add the ham and sauté until fragrant.
3. Add the spinach and mix well. Cook until the spinach has wilted.
4. Add the mirin, soy sauce, water, and dashi granules and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer for 5-7 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
5. Add the enoki mushrooms and stir to combine. Allow to simmer for a few minutes longer. Meanwhile, prepare the slurry – mix the cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of water in a separate container. Add the cornstarch slurry to the mushrooms and stir to combine. Continue to stir the mixture until it begins to thicken slightly, then reduce the heat.
6. Meanwhile, drain and plate the noodles. Spoon the vegetables and sauce on top of the noodles. Garnish liberally with green onions.