Friday, July 10, 2009

Udon Salad

Udon SaladJuly 7th was tanabata, a star festival, in Japan. This seasonal festival originally came from China. It is a sad but lovely story behind this celebration.

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful lady, named Orihime, who was a daughter of the Empire of the Sky and an excellent cloth waver living on one side of the Milky Way. One day she met Hikoboshi, who was a hard-working cow keeper and lived on the other side of the Milky Way. They immediately fell in love with each other. Soon after their encounter, with the Empire’s permission, they happily wedded. However, soon after that they abandoned their working duties. Orihime stopped waving clothes and Hikoboshi let his cows free, which made the Empire extremely angered. Therefore, he separated them across the Milky Way. Yet, the Empire only permitted them to see each other once a year on July 7th. For that reason, you can see Orihime (Vega) and Hikoboshi (Altair) meet in the middle of the Milky Way once a year on the 7th of July. But, in general it is raining on that day, which makes the lovers’ rendezvous private. So you are not able to see the two stars approaching each other.

This was the story I have known throughout my childhood from my mother. I was a little astronomy geek when I was a kid. Therefore, I was enormously fascinated about these two bright stars, Vega and Altair, coming across each other. I remember that I stared at the sky for hours to try to locate this amazing phenomenon once a year. However, of course, it never saw it myself. Plus, unfortunately it was very difficult to see any stars in the light polluted Japanese urban sky. Soon enough, I realized that it was just one of the many mythologies, which disappointed me very much.

July 7th of this year, I prepared this udon salad dish to celebrate this star festival. I used udon to resemble the Milky Way and vegetables and wakame (seaweed) to make look like stars (too much twisted?!). This cold udon salad can be an excellent dish for one hot summer day.

Japanese green perillaIngredients (2-3 servings):
3 bunch of udon
1 tomato
½ cucumber
2 tablespoons of wakame (seaweed)
5-7 leaves of Japanese green perilla or 2-3 tablespoons of finely chopped green onions
¼ teaspoons of wasabi or freshly ground ginger

4 cups of water
3 square inches of dried kombu sheet (dried seaweed)
¼ cup of dried bonito flakes
½ cup of mirin
½ cup of soy sauce
1. Put 3 cups of the water for soup in a large pot. Put the kombu sheet and leave it for about 1 hours. Bring to a boil. Before it is boiling, take out the kombu from the pot. Add the dried bonito flakes. Lower the heat and cook for a minutes. Turn off the heat. Take out the bonito flakes. Add the rest of the ingredients for the soup. Mix them well and leave the mixture in a refrigerator from 30 minutes to one hour.
2. Soak the wakame into cold water for about 30 minutes (or follow the instruction on the wakame package).
3. Boil water in a large pot. While it is boiling, add the udon. Cook them for about 10 minutes (or follow the instruction on the udon package). After it is done, place them in a bowl filled up with cold water and ice cubes. Drain them well.
4. Cut the tomato and cucumber into pieces. Chop the Japanese green perilla or green onions.
5. Put the udon in serving plates and decorate them with the tomato, cucumber, wakame and Japanese green perilla. Put the wasabi or ginger in the soup and mix well. Pour the soup on the udon and vegetables.
6. Before you eat, mix them well with this delicious soup!

No comments:

Post a Comment