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How to Make Your Own Udon!

24 March 2011

This book is great!

Recently, I have been obsessed with this Japanese cookbook that I have (I mentioned it briefly in my previous udon post). It’s called Japanese Food and Cooking and it’s by Emi Kazuko. It’s quite a wonderful and very educational book and it has sections on culture, customs, history and, of course, cooking. I have always loved Japanese food, especially the simplicity, beauty and great flavours of the dishes. It would be a great loss if we didn’t have this cuisine. I want to just take some time to turn some attention to the current crisis in Japan. My heart goes out to all those affected by the earthquake and tsunami. May all those whose lives have been taken rest in peace and may all those that are still lost return home safely and swiftly. I’m planning on donating to the Red Cross for relief efforts and you can too by visiting your national Red Cross website.

Udon is one of the most popular food items to make it out of Japan. It’s the thickest of the Japanese noodles and it is made from wheat flour. You can find it fresh in Japan, but here in North America you can only find it dried or frozen. I figured that everything tastes better homemade and since there was a recipe for this in the cookbook, I should make it! So my girlfriend and I decided to make it together yesterday. It’s not that difficult to make, though I did manage to screw it up a bit…Oh well, there’s always next time.

Here’s what you’re going to need (I’ve made some adjustments from the cookbook):

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt

I have edited the directions a bit, because mine didn’t turn out as a well as I had hoped.

1. Sift the flour into mixing bowl. Create a well in the centre. Dissolve the salt in the water and pour into the well.

2. Gently fold the flour into the water to create a firm dough. Add more water or flour if necessary.

3. Place the dough on a floured surface. Knead for about 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and firm (mine isn’t really a good example). The dough should be quite elastic which gives a nice chewy texture.

4. Hit the dough with your fist at least 100 times to get rid of any air pockets. Cover with a damp cloth for about 2 hours.

Your dough should be smoother than this

5. Roll out the dough on a floured surface. Roll into an oblong, rectangular shape until about 1/8 inch thick (or to your preference). Dust with flour then fold it over onto itself in an S-shape.

6. Cut the dough crossways into 1/8 inch thick strips. Separate and lightly dust with flour to prevent from sticking.

7. Cook the noodles in boiling water for about 3 minutes, until they float to the top, and continue cooking for about another 3 minutes.

8. Drain the noodles and run them under cold water to remove the starch. Serve in soup!

Yields: ~ 4 servings

I also made a soup for the udon. It was quite simple and I based it off of some soups I saw in the cookbook.

Here’s what you’re gonna need:

  • 4 cups dashi stock (or 4 cups of water and 1 tsp dashi-no-moto)
  • about 2 tbsp Japanese soy sauce (shoyu)
  • about 2 tbsp mirin

Heat up dashi or dissolve the dashi-no-moto in the water. Add the shoyu and mirin, to taste, and allow to simmer for a few minutes. Then add any ingredients you want in your soup, such as sliced green onion, vegetables, meat, egg, or tofu.

I decided to add bok choy, tofu, chicken, green onion and poached eggs to the soup. Then I poured the soup over the noodles and served.

The egg broke :(

The soup is actually quite good and tastes just like the kind you would get in a Japanese restaurant. Dashi is the quintessential ingredient in Japanese cooking; it is used in almost all the sauces and soups and a lot of food is cooked in it. It is basically a broth made from konbu, a variety of dried kelp, and katsuoboshi, dried skipjack tuna (bonito) which has been shaved into flakes. It has a very pleasant sweet, salty and kind of fishy flavour. I will try to make it from scratch one day!

Overall, I was a little disappointed in the quality of my udon. I didn’t really cut them evenly, so some of them were very thick. Also, I didn’t make mine smooth enough and I didn’t wash off enough of the starch. Next time I will learn from my mistakes and do better! There will be a next time!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Kelsey permalink
    16 May 2011 11:15 pm

    Even though I have a stomach ache right now, this just made me so hungry

  2. 16 December 2011 4:09 pm

    I can’t wait to try this! When I make pasta or cookies by hand I use a rolling board, mine is about 18 inches square. It kind of looks like a picture frame with a wood insert that you can lower using a dial. just flop the dough on the lowered insert and roll away, the insert will stay level and when it levels with the frame, you’ve got perfectly level dough – I don’t know how I lived without it.

  3. 6 April 2012 2:44 am

    nice udon soup,
    Grat job…….
    Thx for the recipe, i’ll try that for sure….


  1. How to Make Udon…Again! | Chew on This.

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