U is for Udon Soup: Inspired by Retireby40 – Dr. Plastic Picker

U is for Udon Soup: Inspired by Retireby40

| Posted in Vegan Dreams - Less plastic, More plants, More Fiber

Inspired by a recipe posted by Retireby40.

November 9, 2020

by drplasticpicker

It’s important to give credit where credit it due. I made a super simple Udon Soup yesterday, but it was a reinvention of a recipe for Khoa Tom Pla Thai Rice Soup with Fish) from Retireby40 – one of the personal finance bloggers I follow. https://retireby40.org/sahd-cooking-khoa-tom-pla/ I really love Thai food and Joe is Thai, and his recipes are really good. I find them easy to follow and not too fussy. I called my mom to tell her about the recipe, and she approved. She is a superb Vietnamese cook and she has always thought Thai food is as fresh and healthy as our native foods. Plus Joe’s recipes are usually frugal. Please click on Joe’s original link to give him credit, and also he has links to buy the ingredients if you don’t have them at home.

I really love this recipe because it used things I had at home already. Plus, I have a lot of teenage patients of all ethnicities in clinic that are eating an unhealthy amount of Ramen. I am going to refer them to this blogpost and to Joe’s website so that can incorporate something a bit different that is Asian but healthier than Ramen, which is Udon. Udon is very approachable to most of the world as it takes one minute to cook.

Dr. Plastic Picker’s Udon Take on Retireby40’s Rice Soup with Fish (Forever now known as Dr. Plastic Picker’s Easy Udon with Fish, My edits are in italicized.

  • 2 packages of Udon
  • 2 fillets of tilapia
  • 2 green onions, sliced.
  • 2 stalks of celery chopped including the leaves. Joe wrote “You can use the top part of the celery. Some leaves are good in this dish.” I added a bit of bok choy greens for a bit more leafy vegetables)
  •  a few sprigs of cilantro (we used parsley and it worked)
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce (we subbed in hoison sauce)
  • 1 tsp better than chicken bouillon


  1. Cut up the ingredients (I chopped up the celery, green onions, and cut up the fish on an dorsal to ventral axis to make it easier to cook)
  2. Mix the sauce – sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, and oyster sauce.


  1. Put 6 cups of water into a pot and heat it up.
  2. Add a teaspoon of chicken bouillon
  3. Wait for the soup to boil.
  4. Add fish
  5. Wait for the water to boil again, about 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add vegetables, sauce and Udon
  7. Cook for 2-3 more minutes.
Made 3-4 bowls. Mr. Plastic Picker was happy. So thank you Joe at Retireby40!!!

What I loved about Joe’s dish is that it taught me the fundamentals that an easy soup base for Udon or a Rice Soup is

  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce (we subbed in hoison sauce)
  • 1 tsp better than chicken bouillon

I just looked up that there are fancy Udon restaurants and they sell Udon bowls for $10 a bowl! That is crazy. It’s loaded with sugar and salt. I estimate that since I used only 2 tilapia fillets from Costoc, its about $4 for the fillets and the Udon is about $2. Everything is really just pennies or already in the kitchen. So $6 for a meal for 4, versus easily $40 at a restaurant! This Udon which is really a traditional Thai dish that I reimagined in my kitchen as I didn’t have all the ingredients, has healthy tilapia and you can fill it with organic vegetables and green onions that you grow in your own house! Indeed, I saved the ends of the scallions and put them in a pot in my new container garden last night. I’m hoping to have onions that are fresh from our own soil, albeit started from the stalk purchased at the local grocer.

I hope everyone tries this Udon! Or stop by Joe’s blog. I really like his blog because it’s really down to earth. I didn’t end up retiring when I hit 40, although we hit our financial independence number, but I’ve always enjoyed reading Joe’s journey. I fell like he’s like my older brother. Indeed he is about the same age as my older brother. Joe actually pays more attention to me than my older brother, as Joe has commented on my blog once. My older brother, not so lunch. LOL. Middle child here, always trying to get attention!!!

Fried Onions. Epic fail yesterday morning. Let’s just say they were reimagined into a bean onion mash that I’ll be having for lunch. The mash ended pretty good.

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3 thoughts on “U is for Udon Soup: Inspired by Retireby40”

  1. Joe says:

    Thanks for the mention! I’ll have to try it with Udon noodle soon. 🙂
    I posted a vegetarian recipe last week. Check it out!
    Also, I think you should pick up the oyster sauce. It’s very useful for many SE Asian dishes.

    1. drplasticpicker says:

      Thank you Joe for stopping by!!! I’m truly honored. I’ll pick up some of the oyster sauce and get the brand you recommend the next time I’m at the Asian market. The vegetarian stir fry you have looks really good. Probably will try this weekend and let the blog readership know!

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