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Udon noodles

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I just saw the Japanese movie called "Udon" - all about Udon in Sanuki region where there are something like 900 udon shops for the 1 million people there, as compared to the 500 McDonalds for teh 12 Million people in Tokyo...

There was a brief how-to in the movie..at the point when the subtitle read, "...you knead to noodle with you feet..." which of course comes on before the action is shown, and I was momentarily taken aback...but not to worry...they wear sock..(just kidding..you'll have to watch the movie :)

ANYWAY, does anyone know how to make udon noodles? For the past weeks I've been flirting with making hand-pulled noodles, which is turning out to be quite a difficult task. While taking a break from Hand-pulled noodles, I'd like to give udon a shot if more detailed instructions can be had from the great Chowhound Home Cooking folks!

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  1. I'd love to know how to cook and serve Udon noodles. They're available at my local asian market, as "fresh" in small, single serving packets, with or without seasoning or instructions. The "with" are sold in larger packages of the smaller packets. I hesitate to buy and use anything with seasoning that doesn't clearly list ingredients.

    AnnieG

    1 Reply
    1. re: violabratsche

      You should be able to buy a bottle of "tsuyu" at your asian store. It's basically a fishy soy sauce. Just ask for it. You can dress the hot or cold noodles in a bit of the sauce, or add some of the sauce to hot water to make a soup broth for the noodles.

      Yummy! Maybe that's what I'll have for dinner tonight. :)

    2. there's a recipe in the latest issue of Saveur magazine, and the author of the recipe was inspired after watching the movie ...just like you (:

      I recently finished it a few weeks ago and loved it. I went to the store yesterday and bought a few packets of fresh udon cause I was craving it so much

      1. I feel somewhat assured since the Japanese markets have rows and rows of Udon that it is probably safe & tasty. I LOVE the Udon soups w/ chicken flavor. I think you need to add mushroom, chicken, bok choy, etc..but they are great for a starter!

        As for as making from scratch, I have no idea. Anthony Bordain was in Shanghai (Not udon country, but noodles!) and he went to a traditional noodle house. the process looks best left to the masters.

        I want to see that movie!

        10 Replies
        1. re: stellamystar

          if you go to crunchyroll.com you can watch the movie for free....although it's on a tiny tiny screen and you have to sign up for an account.

          I like the refridgerated packets of udon with an egg added and some kimchi on the side. In the movie they eat it with just shoyu and an egg added which is really plain. I bet this would be great with the best homemade noodles

          1. re: bitsubeats

            bitsubeats, crunchyroll.com was the place I saw it online. Don't know if you know it, but without paying you can at least clikc on the "larger" so that the screen is indeed larger, just that the quality of the picture isn't clear any more. There are also many other food related series, including Kuitan I, II and the Special (where the food-crazed detective Kuitan goes to Hong Kong); Antique Cake Store, about pastries and other goodies; Bambino, about a young man learning how to survive in the high-pressure kitchen of a high end Italian restaurant in Tokyo.

            In the Udon world, there was something I didn't quite understand: that you can order the noodle, hot in hot, cold in hot...etc?

            i also like the clear broth type of udon in the movie..it's going to be something hard to duplicate, too...seeing how they went around to find out how to cook those little fish to make the broth.

            Stellamystar, it's good that you mentioned Shanghai. apparently the kanzi character for Udon is the Chinese character of Wonton. Udon was introduced into Japan when a Japanese man who visited China in the 9th century returned home to the Sanuki region. So far I've managed to make dumpling skin from scratch, and have been thinking that the same dough could possibly be the start of udon, but I've yet to experiment.

            The Chinese hand-pulled noodles really works the arm/shoulder muscles as you pull the noodles up and out at a controlled, but brisk speed. I guess since the movie mentioned kneading udon with the feet, it might even out the sore muslces - let the arms rest and feet take over.....

            1. re: HLing

              Very interesting! Thanks for the history tid bit.

              1. re: HLing

                I don't watch kaiten , but I do watch docchi no ryouri and cooking master boy (anime about the youngest chinese master chef).....anyways to keep it on topic.

                I forgot about the clear broth, but I'm assuming that is achieved by cooking niboshi or baby sardines. I have a lot of them and keep them in the freezer so that they'll stay fresh. I just take a few of them from the freezer, throw them in some water, and then cook them for a few seconds and take them out. I even like making an egg drop soup with the broth from the little fish.

                1. re: bitsubeats

                  Kaiten? Is that yet another food related series?

                  Are the baby sardines dried? Or do you get them frozen? I couldn't tell from the movie except that they were all sort of floating vertiically in the water in the stock pot..also something about the temperature being important.

                  1. re: HLing

                    they are dried, but I store them in the freezer. You can find them in the refridgerated dried fish section of your asian grocer

                    1. re: bitsubeats

                      Would you please post the recipe, and or the instructions for making your fish broth. Is this to take the place of dashi?

                      After seeing some interesting photos about oya kodon and how to make that, and then I was also looking at udon noodles and the soup photo shots. I am a lover of Asian soups, and the broth you make, certainly sounds very useful for different soups.

                      1. re: chef chicklet

                        I just boil some water, add some kombu and a few niboshi and simmer for a few seconds and then discard them. If you want a stronger broth, add more fish or simmer longer....if not add less.

                        It's the same as making your normal dashi with kombu and katsuoboshi

                        1. re: bitsubeats

                          Thanks, I will search for the fish. I think this is difference between a good and really knockout soup base.

                2. re: HLing

                  With regard to temperatures, you can usually order udon different ways.
                  Hot broth x hot noodles (in the soup, usually softer)
                  Hot broth x cold noodles (served on the side and dipped in, more al dente)
                  Cold broth x cold noodles (tsuyu poured over the noodles)

                  I don't know if you can order hot noodles and cold broth, but i'm sure its possible. I've just never seen it.

              1. re: gabby29

                The recipe calls for udon flour (!) I guess the next question is "what is udon" flour? I suppose something you can buy at an Asian market? Can you make udon flour yourself out of buckwheat and wheat flour perhaps?

                ~TDQ

                1. re: gabby29

                  thanks for the links. While there I also saw this for Udon in a Bag:
                  http://www.saveur.com/our-favorite-fo...

                  I'll probably look for the sanuki ones just to get a sense of the firmer texture, but like TDQ says, "what is udon flour"? Also, it seems, now i have to go back and watch the movie again, that there was an extra step in the making of Fresh Udon that the Saveur recipe skipped? Ah, i just want an excuse to watch the movie again, I think..

                  1. re: HLing

                    There is a recipe for udon in Shizuo Tsuji's Japanese Cooking book, and it uses AP flour. I think you would only use buckwheat if you want soba.

                    1. re: nonaggie

                      Yes, you're right about the buckwheat. I wrote that in haste!

                      ~TDQ

                2. I just found this:
                  http://asiarecipe.com/udon.html

                  Love the instructions and the cartoon man mixing the flour, but it really does sound like a daunting project. The flour is the least of the problem. It sounds right, though, coinciding with the movie's simplified instruction.