Fight the January blues with light and zesty flavours

  • SERVES: 4
  • PREP TIME: 15 mins
  • COOKING TIME: 10 mins
  • DIFFICULTY: easy
  • IDEAL FOR: family, midweek meals
  • BUDGET: £


I’m not doing any of the fads or the extreme cold turkeys like dry-January.

And January is my birthday month.

Which is always a bit depressing hearing everyone say they are sick of food, drink, socialising

‘Um, I guess we could all go for a walk in the cold to celebrate??’… Mmm

Not going to happen

Obviously, I force my husband to get involved in the celebration and I always manage to twist a few (weak) arms of friends to make it a fun day.

But having said all that about January, I also need a break from heavy (delicious), never-ending food from Xmas.

Which is why I’ve decided to find a few Asian-style recipes to whip up.

Asian food – Fusian cooking

Coming from New Zealand we had a huge food revolution a couple of decades ago.

It was some of our great chefs such as Peter Gordon, often described as ‘the godfather of fusion cooking’, who started a wave of fusing dishes.

Combining the traditions and flavours of different countries (such as South East Asia) with more of our traditional cooking.

It was a game changer and little old New Zealand went on a sensational food journey uncovering incredible Asian flavours and methods giving us vibrant, light, zingy dishes to enjoy.

Which noodles??

Don’t get too worried about the type of noodle you use.

Obviously, try to go by the recipe as that’s always the best results but sometimes supermarkets or local shops don’t have all the mind-boggling noodles.

For this dish, it’s the udon noodle. Lovely and plump.

But you could easily substitute for ramen noodles (thinner) or soba noodles (probably closest to in texture and size).

I’ve included my guide to noodles if you want a bit more info.

It’s all in the broth – warming, vibrant, spicy

So, now that we’re all getting used the idea of it being 2020 and work really has started, it’s nice to keep enjoying food.

That’s why I think this pork udon soup hits the spot.

Blanching the mini pak choi

And it ticks a few boxes for those January blues

  • Lightno guilt for eating a heavy meal (yet it’s filling)
  • Packed with veggies
  • Less meat – ok, so it has meat but you can choose to add less (and you can easily substitute for tofu)
  • Quick to make

So, give it a go.

But remember… this is a BIG tip to newbies at making this type of recipe… it’s all in the broth so taste and follow the recipe.

(**Admission – the first time I did this, I messed up the broth by not following the instructions properly)

And kick start your January into… just a good January.


All the goodness you need in January
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5 from 2 votes

Pork Udon Soup

Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Japanese
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 people
Cost £


  • 250 g pork belly try and buy locally and/or organic
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2.5 cm fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp chilli garlic sauce
  • 4 cups chicken broth (preferably home made if you have some)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (or a bit more to taste)
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar (don't substitute with red wine vinegar – I made this mistake once)
  • 250 g Udon noodles (you can have more noodles if you like) (see blog post for substitutes)
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 baby pack choi, sliced length-ways (aka Bok choy) if you can't find baby pak choi, just use normal size and cut the stalks into smaller pieces.
  • 1 onion, small-medium sized, sliced thinly

Marinaded eggs

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water

Optional toppings

  • 1 sliced spring onion
  • fresh coriander, chopped
  • chilli garlic sauce or oil
  • bean sprouts


Marinaded eggs (optional)

  • **you can choose just to boil the eggs as per below instructions and not marinade them if you want a no fuss and easy meal. You will simply set aside after you've peeled them until you 'build' your final soup**
  • Place eggs in a pot, cover with water and bring to the boil over a medium heat
    Bring to a boil over moderate heat, then turn the heat down so it's not boiling and cook for 7 minutes
  • While the eggs are cooking, put cold water into a bowl (with ice if you have any) so you can place the eggs gently into the cold water once they are down.
    Leave them in the cold water for 3 – 5 mins. This is so you can easily peel them.
  • In another bowl add the low sodium soy, rice vinegar, water and after you've peeled the eggs, place them in this mix. Add more water of the eggs aren't covered fully.
    Leave for 2 – 3 hours or even so the night before.

Pork Belly

  • In a frying pan, add vegetable oil and sear the pork belly on all sides until a golden crust forms.
    Then remove from the frying pan, slice thinly and set to the side.


  • In a large pan, over medium heat add the sesame oil, onions, garlic, ginger and chilli garlic sauce and saute for 2 minutes or until the onion is soft.
    Add the chicken stock, soy sauce and rice vinegar and bring to a simmer.
  • Next add you udon noodles and shiitake mushrooms and gently simmer for a few minutes.
    Add you pak choi last and gently simmer for another 2-3 minutes.
    *You want to maintain the green of their leaves so don't over cook.
    TIP: slice the middle thicker base of the pak choi stalk so it cooks faster or you can add the white stalk separately and then the green leaves last.
    Taste the broth and add more soy sauce if you need to.
  • Now, slice your eggs in half and in four bowls start building your soups…
    Divide the broth and noodles evenly, place half and egg in each, add your pork belly slices and pak choi plus any additional toppings such as sliced green onion, bean sprouts and/or dash of garlic chilli oil.


It’s all in the broth. Make sure you taste.
(**Admission – the first time I did this, I messed up the broth by not following the instructions properly)
Pak choi
Slice the middle thicker base of the pak choi stalk so it cooks faster in the broth and doesn’t lose the lovely green of the leaves
Add the white stalk separately and then the green leaves last.

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