3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
500g pork mince
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2cm piece of ginger, finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped, plus extra, sliced, to serve
100g fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
½ wombok/Chinese cabbage (about 500g), finely sliced
80ml (⅓ cup) light soy sauce
80ml (⅓ cup) mirin
80ml (⅓ cup) saké
1 teaspoon caster sugar
400g dried udon noodles
toasted white and black sesame seeds, to serve
sesame oil, to serve
200ml vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2cm piece of ginger, finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely sliced
2 tablespoons dried chilli flakes
1 teaspoon hot chilli powder
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon sea salt

I have a real love for udon noodles – they’re so comforting. It must have something to do with their thickness, I think. I never tire of eating them in different ways. In Tokyo, for breakfast, served in broth with tempura; topped with many slices of sudachi – a small green citrus fruit with a very sour flavour; or eaten cold with a dipping sauce. At home, though, I usually make them like this: fried with pork mince, wombok and shiitake, all topped with a spicy chilli oil.


1.For the chilli oil, heat the oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat.
2.Add the remaining ingredients and fry for 1–2 minutes or until fragrant and golden.
3.Transfer to a jar and allow to cool before using.
4.Heat half of the olive oil in a large frying pan or wok over a high heat and brown the mince, breaking up any lumps with the back of a wooden spoon.
5.Transfer to a bowl and reduce the heat to medium.
6.Pour in the remaining olive oil and fry the garlic, ginger, spring onion and mushrooms for 3 minutes until fragrant and beginning to soften.
7.Add the wombok and cook everything for a further 2 minutes or until the wombok has begun to wilt.
8.Return the mince to the pan or wok and add the soy, mirin, saké and sugar, stirring well to combine.
9.Simmer until the sauce has reduced slightly and the cabbage is cooked, but not soft.
10.Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to the packet instructions.
11.Drain and add to the pan or wok, tossing so that the noodles are well coated.
12.Spoon into bowls and top with extra spring onion, a scattering of sesame seeds and a small drizzle of sesame oil.
13.Spoon some of the chilli oil on top of each bowl and serve.

An edited extract from A Year of Simple Family Food by Julia Busuttil Nishimura.

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