Udon Soup with Kale and a Poached Egg

I didn’t do a very good job at posting my little monthly-ish recipe roundups last year, so I think this year I’m just going to go for writing things up immediately. Maybe sometimes I’ll get a little food blogger on you with photos, but mostly I just want to get these yummy things I’m making out a bit faster.

Tonight I made a single-serving riff on this Udon Soup with Bok Choy and a Poached Egg, from The Kitchn. This is pretty simple and quick, though it does assume you have a very well-stocked pantry. You can skip the spices, but they give the broth a really lovely aroma and complexity that make this something a little special. If you don’t want to deal with the egg, you can add tofu for protein instead (add maybe 1/3 cup, diced small, when you’d add the egg). Here’s what I did: 

2 1/2 cups water
3 whole cloves
1 stick cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 slice of ginger – about 1/8″ to 1/4″ wide
1 heaping teaspoon Better than Bouillon Vegetable Base
2 ounces dry udon noodles
1 large leaf kale, center removed and sliced into ribbons (or a handful of chopped frozen kale)
1 egg
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

Put the water over medium heat and add the cloves, cinnamon stick, red pepper and ginger (if you don’t have fresh ginger, add say 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger with the noodles) to a smallish pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium or medium low, cover and simmer 10-15 minutes.

While this is simmering, prep the kale and carefully crack the egg into a small cup or dish.

Add the bouillon and stir until dissolved. Add the udon and kale. Cook until the udon is starting to get pliable. The broth should be back up to a simmer at this point.

Make a little egg-sized hole in the noodles in the middle of the pot. Carefully slide in the egg. Cook for two minutes and stir very very gently so the egg doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. (I didn’t stir at this point and my egg stuck a little.) Cover and simmer for about two more minutes for a soft set egg. (Covering the pot at this point helps to reflect some of the heat onto the top of the egg.) Cook for another minute or two for a hard set egg.

Remove from the heat and gently stir in the soy sauce. Gently pour the soup into a bowl and enjoy immediately. Try not to be surprised when you accidentally chew on a clove. (You can of course go on a fishing expedition to remove the cloves, cinnamon stick and slice of garlic, but if I’m only cooking for myself, I just eat around that stuff.)