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This is one of my favorite types of noodle dishes. Originating from China, it is a cool blend of spicy and sesame. I usually see this served two ways, one more brothy and the other more like a Bolognese-style sauce like my version.

Generally, at home I use frozen udon noodles because I have a hard time finding thick fresh ramen noodles.

Serves 4

Sauce and Noodles
2 Takehisa Dried Donko Shiitake Mushrooms 
Tare sauce (see below)
2 tablespoons Wadaman Dark Roasted Golden Sesame Oil
1 pound pork, ground
2 tablespoons, scallions, sliced fine
2 teaspoons ginger, peeled & diced fine
2 teaspoons garlic, chopped fine
2 tablespoons sake
1½ tablespoons Suehiro Usukuchi Shoyu (soy sauce)
½ teaspoon Yamatsu Tsujita Sansho Powder
4 packages of udon or thick ramen noodles

Tare Sauce
¼ cup Horikawaya Nomura Aka (Red) Miso
¼ cup Horikawaya Nomura Shiro (White) Miso
2 tablespoons gochujang
1 tablespoon Takehisa Dried Shiitake Mushroom Powder
3 cups dashi
¼ cup Wadaman Organic White Sesame Paste
2 tablespoons rayu

½ cup cucumber, julienned
¼ cup scallions, sliced fine
2 tablespoons Wadaman Organic Roasted White Sesame Seeds

Soak the shiitake mushrooms in 1 cup room temperature water for 5 hours, then dice them finely, reserving the soaking liquid.

To make the tare, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Mix well and reserve.

In a large sauté pan, heat the sesame oil on high heat until it just starts to smoke, then add the ground pork. Using a wooden spoon, make sure to break up the pork so it does not clump together, then let it cook for about a minute, then stir. Continue to do this until the pork starts to brown, then add the diced shiitake mushrooms, scallions, ginger and garlic. Cook over medium heat until it becomes fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Be careful not to brown the garlic.

Deglaze the pan with the sake and shoyu, and cook for another minute or so until the liquid is almost gone. Add the tare, mix well, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and add the sansho. Keep hot.

Cook the noodles as instructed by the manufacturer. Drain and toss into the hot sauce, mix well, and divide into 4 bowls. Garnish with cucumber, scallions and a generous amount of sesame seeds on each bowl. Enjoy.

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