Serious Eats

Dinner Tonight: Udon Noodles with Bay Scallops and Baby Bok Choy

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[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

I think nothing of adapting an Italian pasta recipe to whatever I happen to pick up at the store (and/or have leftover in the fridge). In fact, these creations are often some of the most satisfying meals. So it's puzzling that I haven't adapted the same attitude with Asian noodle dishes, where I instead obsess over each and every ingredient (refusing to make a recipe until I have all the necessary components). But I'm learning to lighten up; this week I decided to make an udon noodle dish with bay scallops and baby bok choy.

The bay scallops are cooked over high heat until lightly browned, but are removed before they get rubbery. Then the baby bok choy are tossed in and cooked until bright green and tender. Total cooking time for both is about three minutes.

Frozen udon continues this quick cooking trend. They are an especially handy noodle to have around, since most take only about a minute to cook in boiling water, yet still retain that soft and bouncy texture so ideal for slurping. Honestly, I haven't had as much luck with the dried udon noodles, but it could be the brand.

Now I just needed a sauce to pull it all together, so I combined soy sauce, sesame oil, mirin, a little sugar, and chicken stock. This lets the fresh and sweet scallops do the hefty lifting, while still seasoning the noodles.

About the author: Nick Kindelsperger is the editor of Serious Eats: Chicago. He loves tacos and spicy food. You can follow him as @nickdk on Twitter.

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