Today: Don't give up on dinner tonight. Make a simple yet satisfying meal of umami-packed Udon with a spicy broccoli salad on the side.
It's been a long day. Your energy is low and your mind begins to wander to that drawer in your kitchen. You know the one: It's filled with takeout menus that tauntingly display their pad Thai and General Tso's Chicken. But before you pick up the phone, consider making this for dinner tonight: Spicy, Peanutty Udon with Kale and Chinese Broccoli Salad with Sesame Sriracha Dressing. It's simple (really, the whole thing takes about 20 minutes from start to finish), full of flavor, and substantial enough to remind you why those menus belong in the back of the drawer.
Here's how to make it:
Begin by preparing the udon: Bring 1 quart of water in a saucepan to boil. In a sauté pan over low or medium-low heat, add 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil, 2 teaspoons of soy sauce or tamari, 1 teaspoon of Sriracha, and 1/8 teaspoon of fish sauce. Stir the ingredients to combine and let cook for about 30 seconds. Add 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, stir to combine, then turn off heat.
Then, start making the salad: Fill a large bowl with water and ice, and set aside. Trim ends the ends from the Chinese broccoli, then cut them in half crosswise, separating the leaves from the stalks. If any stalks are thick, cut them in half lengthwise. Heat about 1 inch of water in a large lidded pot or wok, and bring to boil. Lay stems in an even layer in the boiling water and place the leaves across the top. Cover and let steam for 3 to 5 minutes, until it has reached your desired tenderness. With a slotted spoon, transfer the broccoli to the ice bath.
Next, finish making the noodles: Bring the same pot of water you used for the broccoli to a boil. When the water is boiling, blanch kale for about 15 seconds. Drain the kale and add it to the sauce in the sauté pan and stir to coat. In the same pot, or a separate pot to save time, bring clean water to boil to cook the noodles. When the water is boiling, add the udon and cook until al dente. Fresh noodles will cook very quickly; dry noodles will cook in 3 to 4 minutes. Use tongs to transfer the noodles straight from the water to the sauté pan with the peanut sauce and the kale. The unstrained noodles will carry enough water to dilute the peanut sauce; if you decide to strain the noodles and then add them to the sauce, add 1 tablespoon water, as well. Add a dash of fish sauce to finish. Garnish with chopped scallions, chili flakes, and chopped peanuts.
Finally, finish off your broccoli salad: While the broccoli cools, prepare the dressing. Combine one clove of minced garlic, the Ponzu sauce, and 1 teaspoon of Sriracha in a small bowl, then slowly drizzle in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, whisking constantly. Set aside. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooled broccoli to a serving bowl. Pat dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels. Drizzle dressing over broccoli and toss to coat evenly. Serve with the udon.
Click through on the recipe photos or titles to see (and save and print) the full recipes, or take advantage of our handy grocery list below.
Serves 1 with leftover salad
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
3 teaspoons Sriracha
1/8 teaspoon fish sauce
1 1/2 pounds Chinese broccoli
1/2 bunch kale
3 ounches udon or soba noodles
2 tablespoons Ponzu sauce
We are assuming you already have garlic, soy sauce, and peanut butter. If you don't, be sure to add these things to your list.