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Udon Noodle Stir Fry with Chicken and Shrimp

Sometimes my recipes are a result of ingredients I discover in a store. I buy the ingredients first, then I determine how I can use them. It is not a terribly practical way to shop, but sometimes that special ingredient gives me the inspiration I need to come up with a new recipe. In this case, I found udon noodles and colossal shrimp at my grocery store this week, and knew I had to snap them up.

Udon noodles are a thick wheat flour noodle of Japanese cuisine. They are often served in a simple soup with a broth called kakejiru, made from dashi, soy sauce and mirin. They can also be served in stir-fry, or even cold and plain (Hadaka udon). They are wonderfully al dente, thick, very long and easily flavored with sauce. Plus they cook up very quickly.

Colossal shrimp are sometimes called 4-bite shrimp. The ones carried at my fishmongers were 8-10 a pound, and were truly huge. They almost looked like lobster tails. I love shrimp, but had never seen any so large; I had to snap them up. I love how they look, all red-pink in their shells resting on top of my udon noodle stir fry.

This recipe is a version of my classic stir fry recipe. I love using kecap manis, which is an Indonesian sweetened soy sauce that packs a flavor wallop and adds lovely sweetness to the dish. Fish sauce is an amber-colors liquid made from the fermentation of fish with sea salt. It adds an incredible depth of flavor and savory meatiness (or umami) and is a common condiment in Southeast Asian cuisine. 

The vegetables happened to be the ones I had on hand, so feel free to mix it up. Edamame would be another excellent vegetable to add to this dish. If you want, you can add a diced chili to this; I opted for red chili flakes as I have them on hand and my tolerance for spicy heat is quite low. 

This recipe is great for weeknight dinners since it comes together in a flash. To decrease the expense, skip the colossal shrimp, and the meal becomes quite affordable. I hope you’ll enjoy!

1 tablespoon high heat oil, such as peanut, grapeseed or safflower
3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons kecap manis
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 scallions, sliced and white and green parts divided
3 garlic cloves, minced
One 3/4 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional and to taste)
1 tablespoons of chicken stock
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 medium carrots, julienned
2 teaspoons sesame oil
4 large shiitake mushroom caps, sliced
1/2 cup broccoli florets
1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
1/2 pound of large shrimp, shelled and deveined (16- 30 a pound)
1 colossal shrimp per person, deveined with shells on (8-10 a pound) (optional)
salt, to taste
fresh cracked black pepper
9 ounces of fresh udon noodles (I use Nasoya brand)

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet with high sides with a tablespoon of high heat oil. Salt and pepper the chicken thigh pieces. When the oil is hot, cook the chicken thigh pieces on medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and the red pepper flakes to the pan. Cook the chicken until it is completely cooked though; remove it to a plate.

If needed, add a touch more oil to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium, Add in the carrots and broccoli. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until softened. Add the white parts of the scallions, , garlic, ginger and mushrooms and cook until softened, a further 2 o 3 minutes. Add in the fish sauce, kecap manis, the chicken stock, the rice wine vinegar, the cabbage and the colossal shrimp, if using. Cook for 1 minute, then flip the colossal shrimp an cook another minute. Remove the vegetable from the pan and out them in the same dish as the chicken. 

Add the jumbo shrimp to the pan with the colossal shrimp and cook for 1 to 2 minutes of each side, until the shrimp turn pink. Add back in the chicken, vegetables and sesame oil. Turn off the heat and toss with the green parts of the scallions.

Meanwhile, boil the udon noodles in the water according to packages instructions and drain. Add the noodles to the pan and toast until evenly distributed. Transfer to a bowl and top each bowl with one colossal shrimp. Enjoy! 


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