want to try something different ... udon

64
7
Joined Oct 9, 2017
I want to try something new... so there is a sale on frozen udon noodle, which I never had before lol

what do you recommend for recipes? current asian ingredients i have in stock are low and regular soy sauce, oyster sauce, and rice vinegar

I am willingly to buy other ingredients as long it not uncommon ingredient that doesn't used often or crazy expensive
 
2,424
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Joined Jan 8, 2010
Udon noodles are Japanese, if I am not mistaken.
I don't have a recipe on hand, it is just far too long ago since I was in Japan ;)
I would use google. Even wikipedia tends to link to typical recipes for the ingredient.
Maybe chrislehrer chrislehrer will chime in. He is real clued up about Japanese food!
 
4,196
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Joined Dec 18, 2010
Probably not authentic at all, but I really like a bowl of either beef or chicken broth with udon, seasoned with a bit of ginger and soy sauce. Garnished with togarashi, green onions and mushroom… or whatever vegetable is in the refrigerator or garden. Broth often is made using bullion base. It’s a quick, easy, and tasty meal. Another broth I tried and liked was basically just tea. But the caffeine gave me a headache whereas the salt in bullion just gives me heart disease, which I hope to not notice for a while longer.
 
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Another broth I tried and liked was basically just tea. But the caffeine gave me a headache whereas the salt in bullion just gives me heart disease, which I hope to not notice for a while longer.
that's an attitude I can get behind.
 
2,463
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Joined Oct 9, 2008
Assuming you're not going to hunt for ingredients much, get a jar of powdered hon-dashi and mix up a cup or two following the directions on the jar. Boil the udon in plain, unsalted water for about 2 minutes; it should be cooked but quite firm and bouncy. Flush thoroughly in cold water and drain. Put the noodles in a bowl, pour over the boiling dashi, and scatter over finely minced scallion. That's very basic but good.
 
64
7
Joined Oct 9, 2017
Assuming you're not going to hunt for ingredients much, get a jar of powdered hon-dashi and mix up a cup or two following the directions on the jar. Boil the udon in plain, unsalted water for about 2 minutes; it should be cooked but quite firm and bouncy. Flush thoroughly in cold water and drain. Put the noodles in a bowl, pour over the boiling dashi, and scatter over finely minced scallion. That's very basic but good.
Don’t have a Asian grocery near me … have grocery store nearby with an Asian aisle with products but not sure how legit they are
 
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Joined Oct 9, 2008
Hon-dashi is a cheap powdered product. If you can't find it in your store, you can get a jar on Amazon or whatever. It'll be quick and cheap. But I wouldn't be surprised if you could find it in a grocery store "international" section. You could also offer $5 to a local sushi place for half a cup. They get it in bulk for cheap.
 
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Joined Oct 9, 2017
What would be the next level recipe for udon?

are there any good non-soup/broth type ..like a sauce coating udon or something like that?
 
4,196
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Joined Dec 18, 2010
I don’t know if it’s considered “a step up” but there is a stir-fry Udon called yaki udon.

Or you could eat them cold with a dipping sauce, like soba is served.
 
2,463
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Joined Oct 9, 2008
https://www.justonecookbook.com/yaki-udon/

Next step up would be to make dashi properly. You need either (a) a package of kombu and a bag of katsuobushi, or (b) a decent Japanese brand of dashi-makings in a teabag. For the kombu and katsuobushi:

Take a nice piece of kombu, maybe 2x6 or so, and brush it lightly with a dry paper towel to remove any dust; do NOT wipe it vigorously or with water, as the white stuff is flavor. Put it in 3-4 cups of water (soft water is best) and hold it at 145F for an hour.* Remove the kombu and bring the liquid just to a boil, dump in about half a bag of katsuobushi, and shut off the water. Wait a few minutes, then strain without pressing.

* Unless using excellent kombu and soft well water, this long, very slow steep is the best way to get the flavor out. The traditional method is to bring the water slowly just barely to a simmer, so that bubbles just form around the edges, but actually flavor extraction happens only around 140-150F. Don't boil the kombu or it will get slimy.

Dashi made this way will be very intense and distinctive, and needs almost nothing added to it. Ideally, however, you should season the boiling-hot dashi with a very small amount of good soy sauce just before serving, but be careful: it takes very little. If you want to get cute, make a little more dashi than you need, add 1 Tb sake, 1 Tb mirin, and 1 Tb soy sauce (Japanese-style, not Chinese), and boil hard until the alcoholic flavor is removed. Season with a tiny dash more soy sauce just before serving, just to bring the salt level to a good soup flavor. (This step isn't really necessary with hon-dashi, which tends to seem salty already, but some people do it anyway.) I feel that if you've made really good proper dashi, you should start with only 1 tsp sake, mirin, and soy per cup or two of dashi, and finish with 1/2 tsp soy. You want to taste what real dashi tastes like. Once you have that flavor clearly in your palate, you can alter to suit your preference.

Garnish the udon soup (this dashi with boiled and well-rinsed udon) with scallions, 1-2 slices kamaboko or naruto fish cake, and optionally a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds. This is kake udon.

In winter, use an attractive earthenware dish that can go over heat. After the noodles and dash, put in the fish cakes and a biggish triangle of age-dofu (deep-fried and dried tofu). Bring to a boil, crack an egg to one side, put on a lid, and shut off the heat. Wait a few minutes until the egg white is just set. Garnish generously with scallions and a little sesame seeds. Shichimi togarashi may be added if you like the flavor. This is nabeyaki-udon.

If you're feeling really hard-working, serve plain udon soup (with the scallions and maybe fish cakes) with a small assortment of tempura. This is tempura-udon.

At base, udon are best as soup noodles. They should be served in strong, pure dashi. Everything else is garnish, appropriate to the time and place.

If you don't want to deal with dashi, you could buy a bottle of menmi or tsuyu, both of which are effectively the same thing: a concentrated general-purpose soup base using dashi, soy, and reduced sake and mirin. For best results, make the broth rather weak (according to package directions, but using about 2/3 the liquid called for) and use it for hot-pot, putting in a little white fish (cod is popular) and lots of vegetables. When you've finished with the solids, put the cooked and rinsed udon in the flavored stock and bring back to a boil.

My family really, really hates the tendency of American "Japanese" restaurants to serve udon in chicken broth. It tastes very wrong, sort of like dreadful ramen, nothing at all like udon.

Hope that helps.
 
64
7
Joined Oct 9, 2017
https://www.justonecookbook.com/yaki-udon/

Next step up would be to make dashi properly. You need either (a) a package of kombu and a bag of katsuobushi, or (b) a decent Japanese brand of dashi-makings in a teabag. For the kombu and katsuobushi:

Take a nice piece of kombu, maybe 2x6 or so, and brush it lightly with a dry paper towel to remove any dust; do NOT wipe it vigorously or with water, as the white stuff is flavor. Put it in 3-4 cups of water (soft water is best) and hold it at 145F for an hour.* Remove the kombu and bring the liquid just to a boil, dump in about half a bag of katsuobushi, and shut off the water. Wait a few minutes, then strain without pressing.

* Unless using excellent kombu and soft well water, this long, very slow steep is the best way to get the flavor out. The traditional method is to bring the water slowly just barely to a simmer, so that bubbles just form around the edges, but actually flavor extraction happens only around 140-150F. Don't boil the kombu or it will get slimy.

Dashi made this way will be very intense and distinctive, and needs almost nothing added to it. Ideally, however, you should season the boiling-hot dashi with a very small amount of good soy sauce just before serving, but be careful: it takes very little. If you want to get cute, make a little more dashi than you need, add 1 Tb sake, 1 Tb mirin, and 1 Tb soy sauce (Japanese-style, not Chinese), and boil hard until the alcoholic flavor is removed. Season with a tiny dash more soy sauce just before serving, just to bring the salt level to a good soup flavor. (This step isn't really necessary with hon-dashi, which tends to seem salty already, but some people do it anyway.) I feel that if you've made really good proper dashi, you should start with only 1 tsp sake, mirin, and soy per cup or two of dashi, and finish with 1/2 tsp soy. You want to taste what real dashi tastes like. Once you have that flavor clearly in your palate, you can alter to suit your preference.

Garnish the udon soup (this dashi with boiled and well-rinsed udon) with scallions, 1-2 slices kamaboko or naruto fish cake, and optionally a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds. This is kake udon.

In winter, use an attractive earthenware dish that can go over heat. After the noodles and dash, put in the fish cakes and a biggish triangle of age-dofu (deep-fried and dried tofu). Bring to a boil, crack an egg to one side, put on a lid, and shut off the heat. Wait a few minutes until the egg white is just set. Garnish generously with scallions and a little sesame seeds. Shichimi togarashi may be added if you like the flavor. This is nabeyaki-udon.

If you're feeling really hard-working, serve plain udon soup (with the scallions and maybe fish cakes) with a small assortment of tempura. This is tempura-udon.

At base, udon are best as soup noodles. They should be served in strong, pure dashi. Everything else is garnish, appropriate to the time and place.

If you don't want to deal with dashi, you could buy a bottle of menmi or tsuyu, both of which are effectively the same thing: a concentrated general-purpose soup base using dashi, soy, and reduced sake and mirin. For best results, make the broth rather weak (according to package directions, but using about 2/3 the liquid called for) and use it for hot-pot, putting in a little white fish (cod is popular) and lots of vegetables. When you've finished with the solids, put the cooked and rinsed udon in the flavored stock and bring back to a boil.

My family really, really hates the tendency of American "Japanese" restaurants to serve udon in chicken broth. It tastes very wrong, sort of like dreadful ramen, nothing at all like udon.

Hope that helps.
Awesome information …thanks

haha I was actually thinking of buying chicken broth til I saw your family comment … that easy option is out :p

hopefully the store have menmi or Tsuyu to start off easy at first

did a search… would something like this work?
https://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/oigatsuo-tsuyu-soup-base-bonito-flavour/6000197110678
 
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2,463
480
Joined Oct 9, 2008
Yes, Oigatsuo will work fine. It is a little too salty and too soy-heavy, as you'd expect with a premade product. I'd suggest diluting it by using about 2/3 or so as much mix to water as they suggest. Be sure to serve piping hot: its best qualities come out that way.
 
64
7
Joined Oct 9, 2017
What is your take on ready made/packaged ramen/udon/noodle that Just add hot water and cover or dump in boiling water for a bit

is it frowned upon or are there worthy brands to get?
 
2,463
480
Joined Oct 9, 2008
What is your take on ready made/packaged ramen/udon/noodle that Just add hot water and cover or dump in boiling water for a bit

is it frowned upon or are there worthy brands to get?
You mean, where you just soak them briefly, like mung bean noodles and such? I never heard of this in wheat noodles. The ones I'm familiar with aren't really a big thing in Japan, though they're popular in Korea so I'm sure there's some Japanese variation.

I usually see udon as frozen or refrigerated packs that take about 2 minutes to boil. These are very cheap and usually pretty good, so I don't try making them except once in a blue moon as a project. There are also dry udon, but I find they don't have the bouncy texture I associate with proper udon. Udon are simple to make -- just flour and water and (debatably) a pinch of salt -- but you have to knead the hell out of them, rolling is a big pain, and cutting is awkward because they stick to the knife.

Ramen noodles have egg and usually a bit of what I believe is called baked soda. I haven't ever tried to figure out what's a good national or international brand, as there are lots of local Chinese brands of noodles and dumplings in the Boston area, and they make "Cantonese noodles" that are basically the same thing as ramen noodles (not that I ever make ramen, but still).
 
267
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Joined Sep 21, 2010
Assuming you're not going to hunt for ingredients much, get a jar of powdered hon-dashi and mix up a cup or two following the directions on the jar. Boil the udon in plain, unsalted water for about 2 minutes; it should be cooked but quite firm and bouncy. Flush thoroughly in cold water and drain. Put the noodles in a bowl, pour over the boiling dashi, and scatter over finely minced scallion. That's very basic but good.
For a quick soup, I rely on hon-dashi. I always have wakame and kombu onhand, and use that, along with udon or ramen noodles. If I have bamboo shoots or baby bok choy, that goes in, too.
 
64
7
Joined Oct 9, 2017
You mean, where you just soak them briefly, like mung bean noodles and such? I never heard of this in wheat noodles. The ones I'm familiar with aren't really a big thing in Japan, though they're popular in Korea so I'm sure there's some Japanese variation.

I usually see udon as frozen or refrigerated packs that take about 2 minutes to boil. These are very cheap and usually pretty good, so I don't try making them except once in a blue moon as a project. There are also dry udon, but I find they don't have the bouncy texture I associate with proper udon. Udon are simple to make -- just flour and water and (debatably) a pinch of salt -- but you have to knead the hell out of them, rolling is a big pain, and cutting is awkward because they stick to the knife.

Ramen noodles have egg and usually a bit of what I believe is called baked soda. I haven't ever tried to figure out what's a good national or international brand, as there are lots of local Chinese brands of noodles and dumplings in the Boston area, and they make "Cantonese noodles" that are basically the same thing as ramen noodles (not that I ever make ramen, but still).
ahh maybe that why lol... i watch some korean drama and once in a while i see them eating some noodle in a cup ... i guess korean style is different from japanese, oops :p
 

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