Homemade Udon Noodles

1:17 PM

 My first recipe this year had to be a special one and of course,it has to come from Japan. Prepare for what is going to be my longest article so far,but that's because it has many pictures as well,my first step-by-step recipe.
Before getting into it,let me tell you a little bit about the Japanese New Year,Osoghatsu, traditions.By the end of the year all the duties have to be completed and no debts to be had.The year ends with a "bonenkai" party,which means forgetting the year or living it behind.

Soba noodles are served on New Year's Eve and they symbolize longevity. On the first day of the year mochi (rice cake) is eaten.This is served in a soup called ozoni.
Osechi ryori is the traditional Japanese food for New Year's celebration.It contains many small dishes,each symbolizing something. Kazunoko(herring roe) for fertility,konbu (seaweed) for long life,kuromame (black beans) for good health and success.Photo is from wikipedia:

One of the most important traditions of the Japanese family is the first day of the year's visit to the shrine,hatsumode. People arrive from the midnight on to express gratitude for the blessing of the year gone and to pray for good fortune for the new year.

With a little introduction on this special holiday now I should get started with my udon.Fresh udon is readily available in Japan,but in the west it is usually dried or frozen. Here,it's not available and I was so suprised to find out that it's actually not very difficult to make.The first discussion I had about it was with Nona (Rishinnomori from the Asian forum) and she told me how she'd put the dough in a ziplock bag and jump on it . I followed the instructions too.The recipe comes from "The Japanese Kitchen" by Emi Kazuko.
Just so you know,I enjoyed this udon very much. I served it with soy sauce and some yuzu kosho,which is made from a citrus native to Japan and mixed with pepper.
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup water
1 T salt

Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre.
Dissolve the salt in the water,pour into the well and gently fold to make a firm dough.

Now it's the time to put the dough into the ziplock bag and jump on it and I don't know why but I remember that it has to be done 100 times.
Cover with a damp cloth and leave for two hours.
Roll out to make a rectangular sheet of 3 mm thick.Dust with flour,then fold one long side into the centre.
Turn over,dust with flour and fold the remaining third.If you look at the end of the folded dough you'll see an S shape.

Cut the folded dough with a sharp knife into 3 mm thich strips.Separate the strands with your hands.
How to cook udon:
Bring plenty of water to boil.Add the udon and cook for 25-30 minutes,adding some cold water each time it starts to boil,until noodles are thoroughly cooked but still slightly firm.

Drain and wash well under cold water.
Tip:To check if the noodles are done,cut a strip of udon and if the core of the cut face is turning from white to grey ,it's done.

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