We cooked the udon noodles right in the broth in this recipe. The starch from the noodles thickens the broth slightly, giving it a silky and satisfying texture. If you don't have udon noodles, you could definitely use soba noodles, rice noodles, spaghetti, or any other kind of noodles you happen to have in your pantry.
This is also a good soup for using up those odds and ends - a half of a pepper, a lone and wilting leek, that last wedge of cabbage. You can cook them in olive oil before adding the broth, poach them in the broth itself, or add them as garnish just before serving.
Quick Udon Noodle Soup
1 cup vegetable broth (or other broth)
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 star anise
1 teaspoon salt
handful of udon noodles
1-2 cups swiss chard, torn into pieces (or other hearty green)
1/2 block tofu, cubed
2-4 spring onions, sliced
soy sauce, to taste
Bring liquids, bay leaf, and anise to a boil. Add the udon noodles. When the udon is almost cooked but still slightly crunchy, add the chard. Cook until the udon and chard are both tender. Stir in the tofu and spring onions.
Remove the pot from the heat. Remove the bay leaf and star anise, and season with soy sauce as needed. Divide between bowls and enjoy!
(Image: Emma Christensen)