Important Disclaimer !!!! I’m not Japanese – and I’m far from being an expert in Japanese cooking !!!
Yet – I’m very good at finding the “correct” recipe online (the one that will yield the result I am expecting) – and then working them out – to make them doable at home in a practical way that can be encapsuled in our daily routine.
That’s the story of this recipe … I wanted to make fresh Udon noodles (fallen in love with them while visiting Japan). Searched and found this recipe Original Udon Recipe – by Fuji Mama – and gave it a go.
Result was awesome !!! Great chewy noodles !!! Exactly what I wanted – accurate recipe – family members couldn’t be happier – CHAPEAU Fuji Mama !!!!
There was only one issue … as you will see in the original recipe – it takes a lot of effort to work the dough – it even calls for using your feet.
I prepared those noodles a couple of times the way described in the original recipe (no feet – good workout for my arm muscles) – but I realized I was no Japanese housewife – there must be a simpler way to do that.
Important notice – the beast pictured above is powerful !!! The dough is so tough that even my brave and loyal Kenwood screams in pain every time I beg him to help me knead this dough … don’t do that to your mixer unless you are sure he’s got what it takes …
Now – here is my way of preparing Udon noodles – same recipe – different method.
In the bowel of your Mixer put 2 cups of bread flour + 1.5 cups of all purpose flour.
Mix 1 cup of hot water with 4 flat teaspoons of salt (yep – 4 – its not a typo) and mix to dissolve the salt.
Add the water to the mixer and start kneading slowly. It will look like a mess – you will feel the urge to add water – but trust me – be patient … the dough will eventually look like dough – a very dry dough though. To get chewy noodles you need to work this dough for a long time – at least 20 minutes.
When the dough is ready – wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 4 hours. No – you cannot skip this rest !!! without it the dough will give you such a fight when you try to convince it to become noodles … don’t go there …
To make noodles out of the dough – I use a simple pasta machine. I roll up the dough using the pasta machine and then use the large pasta cutter to take the sheets and cut them into noodles. If the dough is dry enough and is well rested – this task is a piece of cake. Last piece of advise – use flour – a lot of it – make sure your noodles don’t stick to each other.
After a little practice – it takes me 10 minutes to turn this
Noodles should be cooked in hot boiling water. Large pot !!! Lots of water !!! Really boiling !!! No salt added to the water !!! 3-5 minutes – just taste them – make sure they are completely cooked – but don’t let them turn mushy.
Now pay attention – when noodles are ready – strain them in a sieve and then rinse them under cold water. But I mean – really rinse them. We need to take all that sticky stuff of the noodles. We want them slickly and chewy – not sticky and mushy.
Next step is really open to your imagination … just stir fry them with your favorite ingredients and your favorite sauce.
Here is my vegetarian version. Vegetables change based on my mood and on what’s available : Bok-choy, snow peas, Mushrooms (look for fresh Shiitake if you can), Julienne of carrots, Broccoli … anything works.
My sauce is a combination of the following : Brown sugar, Mirin (good quality – not corn syrup marketed as Mirin), Sake, Soy sauce, a drop of toasted sesame oil + a little of my magic vegetarian Shiitake based sauce I bough on my last trip to Hong Kong and is about to be finished (I guess its time to panic).
Last (but not least) trick … I don’t use a wok to stir fry – since like most of us – my stove doesn’t have this special burner that enables the wok’s sides to be heated as well as the bottom of the wok. I use a flat “Sautez” that heats very well to stir fry. Its a trick I read somewhere online a long time ago – and I apologize I cannot give the reference as I really do not remember where I read it … so i just pass the knowledge on …
Heat it very well before you start. Add the vegetables (pay attention to the order based on their cooking time) – then add the noodles – then the sauce … stir … fry … add something crunchy (I love toasted cashew nuts)… add something green (green onions always work) – and you are done !!!