Udon Noodles in Broth

During my student days I became a devotee of Japanese films, especially those that incidentally depicted scenes from daily life. Such films gave me insight into a culture that I had only read about and never directly experienced. Naturally, I was particularly interested in scenes showing eating habits and cookery. I noticed that the Japanese often seemed to be snacking on soup noodles, slurping them up and smacking their lips in a way that always made me hungry. I later learned that these were probably udon noodles, a Japanese favourite. Made from bleached white flour with no eggs, these noodles are very white and fine and vary in thickness. In an easy soup such as this, they make a hearty lunch.


  • 350 g (12 oz) dried udon noodles
  • 225 g (8 oz) fresh or tinned tomatoes
  • 8 spring onions
  • 1.2 litres (2 pints) vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper


Cook the noodles in a saucepan of boiling water for 4–5 minutes or according to the instructions on the packet. Drain the noodles, then put them into cold water until required.

If you are using fresh tomatoes, skin, seed and cut into 2.5 cm (1 in) cubes. If you are using tinned tomatoes, chop them into small chunks. Cut the spring onions diagonally into 7.5 cm (3 in) lengths.

Put the stock into a saucepan and bring to simmering point. Add the salt and pepper and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in the noodles and tomatoes and simmer until heated through. Add the spring onions and simmer for a further 30 seconds, then serve.