Wondering what your homemade udon noodles are made up of? Udon is a thick noodle of Japanese origin made of wheat flour, water, and salt, typically served in a simple dashi-based broth. The shape and size of your homemade udon noodles should be similar to fettuccine when dried. Fresh udon is rounder and plumper. But in both cases, their smooth, pleasant texture makes them appealing and versatile. Your homemade udon noodles will be thicker than buckwheat soba noodles—typically two to four millimeters—and can be either flat or rounded.
“Dried udon noodles are good and store-bought pre-cooked udon work well. But there’s nothing like homemade udon noodles and believe it or not, you can really make the irresistibly slick, chewy, springy noodles by yourself at home. Homemade Udon noodles require no great skill. Just water, flour, a rolling pin, and a little patience. If kneading the dough, which activates the gluten in the flour and gives the noodles their texture, makes your arms tired and makes you frustrated, do what home cooks in Japan do: put the dough in a resealable plastic bag, wrap it in a towel, and knead with your feet!”
Although stepping on the dough will make your homemade udon noodle soft and chewy, too many steps make them too chewy and you may end up having to cook the udon for longer. So the right amount of steps is 50 times.
Buying Udon Noodles
There are so many brands of udon noodles in stores whether dried or fresh. The difference between them is not so much therefore, your choice will largely depend on what you want or what is available to you.
Whole wheat udon is a variant that you might find in natural foods stores. Undoubtedly, they’re more nutritious, though their character becomes a bit closer to soba than to the traditional thick Asian noodle.
Dried udon is most often sold in cellophane-wrapped 8-ounce packages and cook as you would any kind of pasta — in plenty of rapidly simmering water. It’s best to follow package directions. They take about 5 to 7 minutes to cook to an al dente texture. Some directions call for rinsing them briefly after draining, to wash away a bit of the starch. Packaged udon keep nearly indefinitely in the pantry. Dried udon is akin to fettuccine in shape, a bit flatter than the fresh type.
Fresh udon is plumper and rounder than the dried variety. They come in sealed packages in quantities ranging from 12 to 16 ounces (or more). Once purchased, keep them in the fridge and keep your eye on the best-used-by date. These noodles are nearly ready to use, so you can add them to soups in the last 2 to 3 minutes of cooking. For stir-fries and cold dishes, you still need to cook them for 2 to 3 minutes — as with the dried noodles, it’s best to follow package directions.
Are homemade udon noodles good for you?
Since your homemade udon noodles are mostly carbs, it is advisable to combine homemade udon noodles with dishes that contain lots of vegetables — soups, stir-fries, and salads. If you don’t mind eating wheat, then homemade udon noodles ain’t any different. High in carbs and low in fat, a cup of cooked noodles contains 4 grams of protein and a modest amount of fiber and iron.
How to Make Homemade Udon Noodles – Step By Step Recipe
- All-purpose flour
- Kosher salt
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. Add 1 1/4 cups water. Use hands to mix until the dough starts to come together in a few large lumps. Firmly press and knead the dough, incorporating any loose flour until there is none left. If necessary, add a little more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you can incorporate all of the flour.
- Knead the dough until smooth, about 5 minutes. Cover the dough with plastic and let it rest for about an hour. This will make the dough relax and easier to roll out.
- Use a big rolling pin and as you roll the dough, occasionally rotate the dough 90 degrees and dust lightly with flour.
- Roll evenly. Dough thickness should be slightly less than 1/4″.
- If you find the dough resisting too much, cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 5-10 minutes.
- When you get the dough to desired thickness, fold the dough in thirds (like a letter fold) and slice it into 1/8″ thick noodles.
- Dust noodles with flour and separate. Cook immediately.
What can be paired with your homemade udon noodles?
- Snow peas.
- Carrots (sliced thinly or use julienne carrots)
- Fresh mushrooms.
- Corn kernels.
- Hard-boiled egg (already hard-boiled, just cut in half)
- Thin, roasted seaweed slices (nori)
- Fresh bean sprouts.
Here is a Delicious Homemade Udon noodles Broth Recipe
- 4 cups dashi
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons mirin
In a saucepan, combine ingredients and bring to simmer. Serve with fresh udon noodles, garnish with sliced green onion.
Other Ways to Use your Homemade Udon Noodles
In soups: Break dry udon in half before cooking, then drain and add at the last minute to Asian-style vegetable and miso soups. If using fresh udon, add them close to the end of the soup’s cooking time.
In stir-fries: Udon noodles are excellently combined with stir-fried vegetables. Use at least an equal proportion of noodles to veggies to improve the carb and nutrient ratio.
Cold noodle dishes: In addition to peanut or sesame noodles, udon lends itself to other cold noodle dishes. Combine with crisp uncooked or very lightly steamed vegetables like peppers, bok choy, broccoli, celery, carrots, scallions, etc., and dress in Sesame-Ginger Salad Dressing.
A simple side dish: For a tasty side dish, season udon noodles with soy sauce and garnish with scallions or sesame seeds. To make a quick and healthy main dish, add some diced tofu.
Peanut or sesame noodles: Combine cooked udon with Coconut Peanut Sauce. Cold udon noodles are also excellent with sesame sauce. These types of dishes can be infused with crispy vegetables and served cold or warm.
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