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The main course for our Sunday meal is Kitsune Udon, which is a Japanese style soup traditionally made with aburaage tofu, fish cakes, and dashi. The name Kitsune Udon comes from a folk tale that foxes love aburaage tofu, therefore the soup literally means “fox udon”.

I added peas, carrots, and shrimp to the aburaage to my udon, but the recipe is easily adaptable to your personal taste.

The first step is to make the dashi, which is the same one I used for the Yosenabe recipe. Since Dashi is made from dried bonito flakes, the soup is not truly vegetarian, however, you can try omitting the bonito and just use the seaweed and dried shiitake mushroom to make the broth. It will not have the unique fishy, saltiness that dashi is known for, but some people may not like the bonito taste anyway.

For the vegetables, I blanched sliced carrots and frozen peas in salted, boiling water for a couple of minutes, drained them, and set them aside.

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I bought premade fresh udon noodles and aburaage tofu from my local Asian supermarket. You can make you own udon noodles and aburaage tofu, but I felt lazy Sunday. To prep the noodles, a pot of water is brought to a boil, and the noodles are quick cooked for a couple of minutes.

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Then the noodles are drained and rinsed in cold water, to stop the cooking process, and set aside.

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While you are preparing the veggies and the noodles, the dashi should be brought to a slow simmer. When you are ready to serve, the noodles, veggies, aburaage, and whatever else you want should be arranged neatly in a bowl.

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Then the hot broth ladled over each bowl, topped with some scallions and sesame seeds, and the udon is ready!

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I also made some cucumber and seaweed Sunomono, which basically means a variety of vinegar based dishes, and “su” means vinegar in Japanese.

My parents were visiting last week and brought with them a ton of Chinese cucumbers from their garden. Chinese cucumbers are longer and crispier than the cucumbers you buy at your local markets. Sometimes they are sold as English or Japanese cucumbers, while I’ve never seen them grow in Japan or England, it’s the only cucumbers I’ve seen in China.

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My Sunomono also consists of hijiki and wakame seaweed. Hijiki seaweed are short skinny things, with a dark red tint to them. Wakame is the more popular type used in miso soup, with a deep green tint. Both seaweeds need to be soaked before eating.

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Wakame takes about 5 minutes or less of soaking in cold water, while hijiki takes about 30 minutes to get fully hydrated. The seaweed should be drained and set aside after it rehydrates.

While the seaweed is soaking, I very thinly sliced my cucumber, then sprinkled the slices with some kosher salt, and set the cucumbers aside to drain for a few minutes.

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The slices should be squeezed of all excess water, then tossed with both seaweeds, and a vinaigrette made from rice vinegar, sugar, and light soy sauce. The Sunomono should be set aside to marinate for about 5 minutes, and finished with toasted sesame seeds and green onions.

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Kitsune udon recipe
Sunomono recipe

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