The original of this was a clear soup with chopped chilli and no mushroom, but this is our favourite version.
For the soup:
Udon or soba for two - I use Clearspring, which come conveniently portioned
Six or seven spring onions
Six or seven shiitake mushrooms
A clove of garlic
Half a litre of chicken stock
Chilli oil, for frying
For the tempura:
Twelve raw king prawns, shelled
A red pepper
Tempura batter mix (lazy? moi?)
Oil, for frying
Thickly slice the courgette and pepper, salt, and place in a bowl lined with kitchen paper, with a gentle weight on top.
Cook the noodles by placing them in boiling water then adding a small cup of cold water when they come to the boil. Repeat the cold water at least three times, until the noodles are cooked almost al dente. Drain and rinse in cold water immediately, then cover with cold water until needed.
Get the oil for frying the tempura heating - if you're using a fryer, you know how long it takes; if not, slowly heat at least two-and-a-half inches of oil in a pan.
Heat the stock, if cold.
Clean and chop the spring onions and de-stalk then thinly slice the mushrooms. Mince the garlic. Reserve some of the green spring onion tops for garnish.
Heat the chilli oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the spring onions. When softened, add the garlic and mirin and cook for a minute. Add the mushrooms and the stock and simmer for ten minutes. Add the noodles and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat, season with shoyu or salt if needed and leave to simmer for up to ten minutes.
Meanwhile, make up the tempura batter, salt the prawns and turn out the courgette and pepper. Dipping in batter, fry first the prawns, then the peppers, in batches if necessary (both about 90 - 120 seconds), placing them on kitchen paper to drain; then the courgettes, frying till almost golden then removing, resting, and returning to the oil for a final blast.
Serve the soup garnished with spring onion, with the tempura.