The Japanese are noodle gurus, whether it be chewy buckwheat soba, egg ramen or delicate wheat somen; however, their triumph is the thick bouncy udon with its toothsome bite. I know making your own sounds very aspirational (or just insane) but it’s no more effort than making home-made pasta. Fry them up yakisoba style (see method below) or make a comforting soup. A good broth is all you need, so either buy it or use my quick method below. Good Japanese grocery stores also sell quality frozen noodles, which is the next best thing to home-made.
To make the broth,
Put the chicken, carrot, celery and onion in a large roasting tin. Season and
Meanwhile, to make the noodles, dissolve the salt in the warm water. Put the flour in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. With the motor on low speed, add the water and knead for 8-10 minutes or until the dough is soft and smooth. Add 1 tablespoon of flour, if necessary, to help the dough come unstuck if it seems wet. Alternatively, put the flour in a mound on your work surface, make a well in the centre and then pour the salted water in. Gradually incorporate the flour until the dough comes together, then knead for 8-10 minutes. Transfer it to a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and stand at room temperature for 3-4 hours to rest. To check if the dough is ready to use, make an indentation with your finger. If the dough bounces back, give it another hour, but if the dent remains the dough is ready to use.
Cut the dough into four pieces. Using a rolling pin, roll out each piece of dough on a lightly floured work surface into a 5 mm (¼ inch) thick rectangle. If the dough feels sticky, sprinkle both sides with a little extra flour. Use a sharp knife to cut into 5 mm (¼ inch) strips. Untangle the noodles and scatter them over a well-floured tray. You could also use a pasta maker on the thickest setting to roll each piece of dough and then cut into noodles using the fettuccine attachment.
To cook the noodles, bring a very large saucepan of water to the boil. Add the noodles slowly so they don’t stick together. As soon as they are all in, add 250 ml (
Bring the broth to a simmer. Meanwhile, remove and discard the chicken skin, then shred the meat. Divide the noodles, shredded chicken and spring onions among 4-6 serving bowls, then pour on the hot broth. Sprinkle with the shichimi togarashi, if using, and serve immediately.
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