So what are Udon Noodles? They are a thick, chewy, delicious Japanese staple. Traditionally served in soup, but also can be stir-fried, served with dipping sauce or even eaten cold. I have never made Udon Noodles so thought it was time I tried. I did a bit of research and found a recipe online that sounded intriguing. Mainly because of the technique used to knead the noodle dough.
But first, let’s start with the recipe…the recipe I found on the Chopstick Chronicles site seemed like it was translated from Japanese so I had to do some guessing, but with only 3 ingredients how could you go too far wrong?
15 g. salt (3 1/2 tsp.)
140 ml. water (2 1/2 cups)
300 g. all-purpose flour (1 1/4 cups)
Generous amount of corn or potato starch for rolling out the noodles
In a jar or bowl dissolve the salt in the water. Place the flour in a large bowl and add the salt water gradually to combine with the flour by using either your finger or a chopstick. I used my fingers. If the dough is not coming together, add more water 1 Tbsp. at a time.
At this stage, do not knead, just stir to combine the flour and water to make a nice, soft dough. After all the water has been added, knead the dough together into a round shaped ball. Here’s where the fun begins. Place the dough into a large ziplock bag and seal the bag. Knead by stepping on the dough 50 times.
Repeat the process 3 times (for 150 steps). After 3 times, take the dough out and gently fold it over several times. Return to the bag and step 50 more times for a total steps of 200. This really is fun and would be a treat to do with kids. Take the dough out and shape it into a neat round ball. Leave the dough, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours at room temperature. I left mine for 3 hours.
After 3 hours of resting, dust a surface with corn (or potato) starch and roll the dough out from the center to the outer edges. The dough should be 3 mm (about 1/8 inch) thick. Then cut the dough with a sharp knife into strips about 1/8 inch wide. The dough is quite elastic so can be stretched and rolled on the counter or board to make a nice round noodle. I got a little excited and didn’t get the noodles quite as evenly shaped as I’d wished, but they sure were delicious!
Bring a large pot of salted, boiling water to boil. The large quantity of water is necessary as it helps prevent the noodles from sticking together. Drop the noodles in and cook for 10 – 12 minutes. Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse the cooked noodles under running water. The rinsing helps the noodles from sticking as they are quite sticky.
You could then make the traditional soup, called Kakejiru which is made from the Japanese version of mirepoix (carrots, celery, onion) or in Japan: dashi, soy sauce and mirin.
I stir-fried pork strips with mushrooms, garlic, yellow bell peppers, broccoli, lots of fresh basil. In a separate saute pan make a roux with sesame oil and flour. This made just the right base for the sauce. Add the soy and teriyaki, lime, and pepper flake to achieve the right consistency. Mix the pork and veg together with the sauce and then gently fold in the Udon Noodle.
|Adding lots of fresh basil.
Udon Noodles are the quintessential Japanese comfort food. They were very easy to make and I will be making them again with chicken, beef, lots of fresh ginger root, possibly even cabbage. Endless possibilities!
Just for the record, I do not believe Chef Morimoto kneads his Udon Noodles with his foot, but will have to look into that further.
UNTIL NEXT TIME…
|We’ve had a nest of herons with us
since early spring. So entertaining and
such a prehistoric looking creature!