Udon Rising - Saveur
- kare_raisu Nov 10, 2007 02:34 PM
I just wanted to put to words here how much I really enjoyed this article in the Thanksgiving issue. It was an intriguing snapshot into the world of Udon, a curiosity which apparently sprung forth from the author seeing a film with the same title.
I could not help put compare the one page describing the different noodles available at Japanese Groceries in the US - Frozen, dried etc - to Americas Test Kitchen. This feature was appreciated by me - who many a times in the past stood astounded at Mitsuwa at the different noodle offerings all described in Japanese. This was a helpful explanation.
I thought that it was excellent how the author visited a traditional Udon house (likening the Experience to Colonial Williamsburg), a mom and pop operation, and the 'street-food' esque quality of the last ultra popular partial tent operation.
It is neat to hear how these restaurants are sometimes set up - in self-customization - eat cold, or reheat - then add fesh grated ginger, tempura veg etc.
My sister and I both loved this article. I was on an udon kick all week. My SIL made the best dashi for her udon soup for her daughters birthday dinner. She used daikon in addition to the ingredient listed in the recipe in Saveur. I tried two brands of refrigerated udon and it didn't have the nice texture that I get from the ones at my favorite udon restaurant. I loved the description of how the noodles are made. I couldn't help remembering how the noodles were being made during Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations visit to Hong Kong.
I use frozen udon, and the texture is identical to what I get in restaurants. Can't remember the brand name -- besides, it's written in Japanese and my computer in its pesent configuration doesn't do kanji -- but you might try the frozen. The brand I use comes with five individual bagged servings in a larger package.
i was pleased to see that one of the featured packages of udon is one that i try to keep in the pantry: the inaniwa udon. i don't have the article nearby, but it was the package depicting a man using a rolling pin to roll out a flat sheet of dough.
now if only someone could do a comparable feature on packaged katsuobushi, then maybe i might get closer to making a dashi that i actually like, rather than going, "eh...close enough."
i really enjoyed the article, as well, and am hoping to overcome my fear of making anything made of flour that has to be kneaded. i wish saveur would focus on asian traditions more, since they are about the only magazine i can think of that approaches them with respect, instead of inventing quick fix "asian inspired" nightmares.
i'm still crossing my fingers that they'll do a huge feature on kimchi in all of its wonderful incarnations.
Foodtv's Glutton for Punishment had an episode in which the host (Canadian Surreal Gourmet) trained for a Hong Kong noodle competition.
Using raw egg is common in Japanese home cooking. The noodles don't actually "cook" the egg per se. It enhances the flavor. A lot of the time only the yolk is used. If you look at the Saveur 100 list this past year they have a blurb about #9 Tamogo Kake Gohan, it's rice mixed with a raw egg and soy sauce. It's a common breakfast item in Japan And If you've ever had Sukiyaki, the ingredients are dipped in raw egg before you eat it.
When I was growing up, my Dad used to mix a raw egg with soy sauce and just drink it. I used to do the same. Now, I can't just "drink" the egg, but I love to pour it over hot rice! I also love to add raw egg to the above mentioned dishes too. Japanese aren't afraid about raw eggs!