Koya – The Soho Udon Bar, London

I love a good noodle bar in the cold and wet London winter weather. The warmth of the restaurant with its steamy soup bowls is always a great tummy warmer.

So, Emma, Charlotte, Pam and I found ourselves in Koya this specific evening. It exactly how you would imagine a noodle bar in Japan with its planks of wooden menus covering the walls.

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Now, I am usually a Ramen girl but Koya is a specialist Udon bar. Ramen is a thin and curly egg noodle, which I absolutely adore as I feel that it really absorbs the flavours of the soup. Udon, on the other hand, is a thick rice noodle, which I very rarely eat, but if you are going out to eat Udon, then Koya is definitely the place to go.

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We started off the evening with a bowl of duck offal (£8.90) and a plate of tempura squid balls (£8.90). Adventurous!

The offal was actually very nice – a mixture of chestnuts, liver and gizzard in a thick sweet soy sauce. Not to everyone’s taste, but if you enjoy top to tail eating it is lovely, if not, the menu is quite big and there is lots of other things to choose from.

The tempura squid balls were different than I thought they would be – they were better. They were mixed with spring onion with a light batter that stayed slightly crisp even after dipped in the sauce.

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Then we dug into the Udon – a Kamo (£13.30) and a Butajiru (£11.80).

The Kamu is Udon served in a hot chicken broth with sliced duck breast and duck meat balls. Meat balls in soup can turn out quite dry but all the duck in the soup was cooked perfectly – the breast still slightly pink just the way it should be.

The Butajiru is Udon served in a hot miso soup with pork and vegetables – also gorgeous. For me, a noodle soup is as much about the soup as the filling, and the soups were great.

We had some Tanuki (bits of tempura batter £0.60) to sprinkle into our Udon soups, which added a bit of extra texture.

I will still say I am very much a Ramen girl, but the dishes were great and its a cute little tummy warming bar. A must try.

http://www.koya.co.uk/

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Dora Ma’s Family Recipe for Chinese Pork Dumplings

The girls and I decided to do a home cooked meal for our Chinese New Year dinner. We cooked Kung Pao Chicken, Beef in Oyster Sauce, a mixed vegetable dish, white rice and some pork dumplings. The pork dumplings are Dora’s family’s recipe and were absolutely delicious, so I thought I would share the recipe with you all.

Dumpling mixture:

  • pork mince (fatty is tastier!) – about 750g
  • 2 eggs spring onion ginger (finely chopped)
  • dry or fresh shrimp
  • some kind of vegetable: usually Chinese leaf OR Chinese chive OR green beans (Note when using Chinese leaf, you need chopped it finely, add about 2 teaspoon of salt for one whole plant of Chinese leaf, leave it for a bit and water will ooze out. Pour the water out and put the Chinese leaves into a tea towel or any thin piece of fabric and squeeze the rest of the water out! This makes the vegetable crunchy and so the water doesn’t come out when you mix it into the mixture)
  • dark soy sauce – 4 tablespoon
  • light soy sauce – 2 tablespoon
  • sesame oil

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    1. Mix the pork mince with dark and light soy sauce, stirring only in one direction
    2. Add eggs – if the mixture becomes to stiff you can add a little water just to make it easier to stir
    3. Add spring onions, ginger, shrimp, sesame oil
    4. And lastly the vegetable of choice

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Dumpling skins:

Literally just mix flour with water together and knead. Leave the dough covered (in a pan or something) for at least an hour before making the skins. Use warm water if you’re short of time.

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Cut the dough into small balls and roll out into a small circle the fill with the filling mixture then dip your finger in water and stick the sides together.

Pop the dumplings into boiling hot water and cook for 4 minutes and voila! They are ready to eat!

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