Home-Made Udon Noodles

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves:

    4-6

Appears in

My Street Food Kitchen

My Street Food Kitchen

By Jennifer Joyce

Published 2015

  • About

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.

Preparation: 30 Minutes, Plus 4 Hours Resting
Cooking: 3 ½ Hours

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 225 ml (7 fl oz) warm water
  • 450 g (1 lb 3 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour or 00 (pastry) flour, plus extra for rolling and dusting
  • 2 large handfuls of chopped spring onions (scallions)
  • 1 teaspoon shichimi togarashi (optional)

Chicken broth

  • 4 chicken Marylands (leg quarters)
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and quartered
  • 4 celery stalks, quartered
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 4 cm ( inch) piece ginger, halved
  • ½ garlic bulb
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (rice wine)
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce

Method

To make the broth, preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F) or 200°C (400°F) fan forced.

Put the chicken, carrot, celery and onion in a large roasting tin. Season and roast for 30 minutes or until golden. Remove from the tin and place everything including the fat and juices into a stockpot or large saucepan. Add the ginger and garlic and enough cold water to cover. Bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce the heat as low as possible. Skim any fat and impurities from the surface and place a lid on top, leaving it slightly askew. Simmer for 2-3 hours without stirring (stirring may make the broth cloudy), then remove from the heat and stand until cool. Skim the excess fat off the surface and strain the liquid into a clean saucepan, reserving the chicken and discarding the vegetables. Stir the mirin and soy sauce into the stock and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. You should have about 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) of stock.

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 (9 fl oz/1 cup) cold water, then bring it back to the boil. Add another cup of cold water and bring back to the boil again. By this stage the noodles should be al dente. If not, then repeat the process of adding water and returning to the boil until they are done. It should take about 6-8 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold running water until cold, then leave the noodles in a colander until using. Keep refreshing with cold water from time to time to keep them from sticking.

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.