First, let's thaw the frozen udon noodles. Slightly tear the package, making a vent, to keep it from bursting. Place the package on a plate, and microwave at 600 watts for 3 minutes.
Remove, and place the udon noodles onto a plate.
Next, let's prepare the ingredients. Slice the chicken thigh into bite-size pieces using diagonal cuts. Partially freezing the chicken will help make it easier to slice.
Remove the stem of the shiitake mushroom. Slice the cap into 3 to 4 slices diagonally.
This is kamaboko, a ground white fish mixture steamed on a wooden base. Run the back of the blade along the base to detach the kamaboko. Trim the edge, and cut out two 7mm (0.3") diagonally.
Cut the aburaage, thin deep-fried tofu into bite-size pieces, and cut out 6 slices of the long green onion. As for the spring onion leaves, slice them thinly.
Let's make Miso Nikomi Udon. Heat the dashi stock in an earthen pot also known as donabe, and place the chicken into it.
To prevent small lumps from remaining in the broth, dissolve the miso in a fine mesh strainer. When the chicken begins to turn white, add the mirin and sugar.
We are using Hatcho Miso, which was originated in Aichi Prefecture hundreds of years ago. Regular miso is made with rice koji, a type of edible fungus, but hatcho miso uses soybean koji instead, so this miso is made from only 2 ingredients: soybeans and salt. If hatcho miso isn't available, substitute red miso instead.
Add the udon noodles, aburaage and long green onion.
Cover, and cook for about 5 minutes.
The udon has absorbed the broth, and it looks very delicious! If the udon noodles are sticking to the bottom of the pot, scrape them off.
Add the kamaboko fish cake and shiitake mushroom. Now, drop the egg in the center.
Cook for about 2 minutes without covering it. If you cover the pot, the surface of the egg turns white so you will not be able to see the egg yolk when served.
Finally, add the spring onion leaves. This is a particular type of spring onion called Kujo Negi, whose main production area is in Kyoto, and it has thick leaves and a rich flavor.
Shichimi chili pepper goes excellent with this dish, and you can also top with pizza cheese to taste.
The color of the dish turns brown because of the hatcho miso, but it is supposed to have a dark color so you shouldn't worry about it.
This particular type of miso has a unique, slight sourness but also has a richer and more savory taste because of the extended period of the maturing process. It is less likely to lose its flavor even when cooked, so hatcho miso is the perfect miso to choose for Miso Nikomi Udon.
We recommend using relatively thick dashi stock to keep the rich flavor of the miso from overpowering the stock.
In Aichi Prefecture, Hatcho Miso is an essential condiment in everyday cooking. It is of course used in miso soup, but also other miso-based dishes, for example, miso katsu and miso dengaku.