Japanese Eggs - Nabeyaki Udon
- 4 Eggs
- 4 Dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 teaspoon Sugar
- 1 litre Dashi
- 150ml Japanese soy sauce (shoyu)
- 70ml Mirin
- 750g fresh udon noodles
- 2 chicken breasts (skin off, cut into bite-sized pieces)
- 8 slices Kamaboko (fish-paste loaf, 5 mm thick)
- 2 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal
- 4 tempura prawns, optional
- Shichimi togarashi (seven-spice mix) to serve
Soak the shiitake in hot water for 30 minutes, then drain well. Discard the stems. Combine the sugar, 125ml of the dashi and 1 tablespoon each of the shoyu and mirin and bring to the boil. Add the shiitake and cook for 15 minutes, or until the liquid has almost been absorbed. Set the shiitake aside.
Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil, add the noodles and cook for 5 minutes, stirring gently. Drain well and rinse. Divide the noodles among four 400ml flameproof casserole dishes or claypots with lids. Combine the remaining dashi, shoyu and mirin in a saucepan with 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to the boil, then pour the liquid over the noodles so that it just covers them.
Arrange a quarter of the shiitake, chicken, kamaboko and spring onion on top of the noodles in each dish, keeping each ingredient separate and leaving some clear space for the egg. Place each dish over medium–high heat (you may prefer to cook one or two at a time) and bring to the boil. Remove any scum that forms on the surface, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 7 minutes, or until the chicken is just cooked through. Turn off the heat.
Carefully crack an egg into a cup. Using a ladle, press a hollow into the clear space you left when arranging the ingredients, then carefully slide the raw egg into the hollow, without breaking the yolk. Repeat with the remaining eggs and dishes. Place the lids on top and set aside for 7 minutes, or until the egg is set. If you like, serve with a tempura prawn on the side. Pass around the shichimi togarashi for sprinkling.