This is a perfect summer dish of refreshing cold udon noodles in a chilled broth with tender fried eggplant. Try it with a hot spring poached egg.
Mix the dashi, soy sauce and sugar together (or use Mentsuyu and water, see Tip), then transfer to the fridge to chill.
Fill a bowl with ice-cold water. Set a mandolin over the bowl and slice the onion very finely into the bowl. Leave the onion in the water until serving time.
Cut the eggplant in half lengthways, then into 12 finger-sized sticks. Heat the oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat. Fry the eggplant for 3 minutes, until golden brown. Remove the eggplant from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
Cook the udon noodles according to the packet instructions, then drain and rinse under cold running water until cool.
Divide the noodles among four deep bowls. Top the noodles with the fried eggplant, onion and daikon. Pour the chilled broth over the noodles and sprinkle with shichimi togarashi, if using.
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