There's a sudden chill in the Spring air, and I feel like I need warming up, but I don't want to indulge in something too stodgy.
This noodle soup is sweet, smoky and slightly sharp - which makes for a satisfying, but light and refreshing dish.
It takes no time at all to make and uses mainly store cupboard ingredients, so is perfect for a week-night meal.
This dish is a recent invention, but it's already become a favourite at home.
You can switch the leafy herbs according to what's available - try mizuna, peashoots, or a friend of mine made a lovely suggestion of using wild garlic which is in season right now.
Smoky Bacon and Watercress Noodles
- 6 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
- 500ml chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 300g fresh udon or rice noodles
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 2 tbsp wine vinegar
- 1 spring onion, finely sliced
- Large handful of trimmed watercress
- Pinch of sweet smoked paprika to serve
Combine the bacon, stock and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Immediately turn the heat down to medium and simmer briskly for 5 minutes. Take out the cooked bacon, slice into strips and set to one side.
Now bring the stock back to the boil, add the fresh noodles, turn the heat down to medium and let the noodles cook through in the simmering stock - udon will cook in 3 minutes, rice noodles take 1 minute. Take out the noodles and divide between two bowls.
Top the noodles with the sliced bacon and drizzle a tablespoon each of light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and vinegar over each bowl. Bring the stock back to the boil one last time and then pour it carefully over the noodles.
Garnish with the sliced spring onion and watercress and sprinkle with a little paprika. Serve immediately.