This is another one of those dishes with which you conclude your Izakaya feast. Last time we were in Kappabashi district in Asakusa 浅草合羽橋, we found this mini-donabe ミニ土鍋, measuring a bit less than 5 inches in the outside diameter, in one of numerous restaurant supply shops which line the streets there. Since we are not big eaters, this is a perfect size for us to have a very small individual nabe dish. Tonight, I made a tiny "nabeyaki udon" ミニ鍋焼きうどん.
I had already cooked udon (I prepare it as per the package instruction, it will keep several days in the refrigerator. This was leftover from making a tarako pasta dish). I place enough to fit in this small donabe pot (probably 1/4 of one standard serving). I use a bottle concentrated noodle sauce diluted in hot water to taste (use hot water to dilute as per instructions on the bottle label but make sure you taste it and adjust the strength). Of course, you could make this from scratch using dashi, mirin, sake, sugar, and soy sauce. I poured the diluted sauce to just cover the noodles. I added fresh shiitake mushroom (use small ones), two shrimp (I used frozen ones), greens (spinach is traditional but you can used anything such as snow peas, green beans, even green asparagus etc. I used baby arugula here. You could pre-cook them before putting in or, like I did, just put it in over the top of the noodles and put on the lid. After it wilts and decreases in volume, you can rearrange the greens) and scallion sliced on an angle. Put on the lid and simmer for 10 minutes on a very low flame (be careful, it will boil over very easily). I finish the dish by adding half a beaten egg, put the lid back and let it stand for 5 minutes until the egg sets.
Serve it with Japanese seven flavored red pepper powder or "shichimi togarashi 七味唐辛子 (red cylinder in the picture above). The sake cup is hand cut crystal by Kitaichi glass in Otaru, Hokkaido 北一ガラス、小樽、北海道. When you pour sake into this cup, the cherry blossoms etched on the bottom "float". Since Cheery trees have been in blossom in Washington DC, this is perfect.