Yaki Udon (Japanese Stir-Fried Udon Noodles)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Yaki Udon (Japanese Stir-Fried Udon Noodles) 1

Does it look like Christmas?

Well, it certainly felt like Christmas to me. Through my advertiser, Foodbuzz, I received a $30 credit to Asian Food Grocer. That gave me the chance to try out some Japanese grocery items that I normally wouldn't buy such as two types of mirin (Japanese cooking sake.), kombu (Japanese seaweed for making stock), and red miso paste (I have white miso paste in the fridge.). To round it out, I also got curry mix, udon noodles, yam noodles, Chinese black pepper sauce, and a tea cup with infuser and lid. Nice, yeah? Hey, it wasn't all free, I did pay $6.18 for the shipping. ;)

Actually, if you have trouble finding Asian grocery items where you live, I would recommend Asian Food Grocer. Most items were reasonably-priced, carefully packaged, and delivered within days at a reasonable cost.

Yaki Udon (Japanese Stir-Fried Udon Noodles) 2

Anyway, so after receiving my box of goodies the other day, I was eager to test out the mirin. I've always been cheap and used either hsiao xing (Chinese rice wine) or regular white wine. I poured out a spoonful of each and found the green bottle of Ryorishu mirin to be quite strong, 13% alcohol. The yellow bottle of Jozo mirin was sweeter and had less alcohol, 8.5%. Very drinkable even. Normally, if I were to buy this myself at the grocery store, I'd just get one and try it out and maybe try another type or brand later. So it was quite nice to be able to get both and compare.

Mirin is often used with fish dishes because the alcohol helps to reduce the fishy smell. I decided to pair it with a small piece of venison I had saved in the freezer for stir-fries. Some people think venison is gamey but I've never had any problems. The trick is to rinse the meat after slicing to remove excess blood, which is where the gamey smell often comes from. Using mirin helps to further reduce any gameyness.

Super quick and easy recipe. From the time I sliced the veggies to plating was less than half an hour. Just remember to start marinating the meat first so it has more time to soak in the flavor.

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