To learn more, read "Kimchi Chronicles" in our National edition.
Recipe adapted from Edward Kim, Mott St., Chicago
Yield: 1 serving
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
1 cup kimchi juice (the juice from about two 16-ounce jars kimchi)
½ cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 (8.8-ounce) block frozen udon noodles
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
¼ cup strained and minced (preferably pureed) kimchi
2 tablespoons (1¾ ounces) mentaiko (scrape out of the sacks before measuring)
1 tablespoon tobiko
1 tablespoon shredded seasoned nori (seasoned with soy sauce)
1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallion greens
1 tablespoon bonito flakes
1. Make the kimchi nage: In a small pot over medium heat, warm the kimchi juice, chicken stock and butter until the butter has melted. Transfer to a blender and purée until emulsified.
2. Make the udon: In a large saucepan of boiling water, cook the noodles until soft, about 2 minutes. Strain, reserving a few tablespoons of the cooking water.
3. In a blazing hot sauté pan over high heat, add the butter and the minced/puréed kimchi. Stir until it begins to caramelize, about 45 seconds. Add the mentaiko, stirring constantly, to lightly toast it, about 45 seconds more (careful as it can spatter). Add ½ cup of the kimchi nage to the pan and stir vigorously to form a sauce. Add the udon noodles, along with a splash of their cooking water, and toss the noodles to coat in the sauce. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, and then add another 2 to 4 tablespoons of the kimchi nage (enough to make it saucy). Cook the noodles for another 30 seconds, and then transfer to a bowl. Garnish with tobiko, nori, scallions, and bonito. Serve.