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Japanese foods--menrui


torakris
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  • 8 months later...

Ive eaten a lot of udon at what are considered the best shops in Osaka. I finally decided to try and make restaurant quality udon at home. I thought I would share what I found out. For me the best udon combines the noodles of Sanuki with the dashi of Osaka. So that was what I aimed for. Sanuki udon noodles are described in Japanese by saying koshi ga aru. I think the best translation for this is that they have some bite to them, they are firm. Making the noodles is the easy part. Here is the condensed recipe:

For ever 1 kilo of flour:

450ml of water with 50g of salt dissolved in it.

Combine and let rest 30 minutes. Knead by stepping on the dough between two vinyl sheets. Spread the dough out with you feet, roll it into a cylinder and rotate 90 degrees. Repeat this processed at least 6 times resting 5 minutes between turns. Mature the dough for at least 4 hours, I mature it overnight. Separate the dough into 200g balls and wrap with plastic wrap. You can freeze what you don't need immediately. When you want to eat udon start a large pot of water to boil and roll out the dough into a square sheet. Fold the dough like a letter and cut noodles that are as thick as they are wide, a little smaller than a pencil (they will expand when cooked). Sprinkle the noodles with flour and separate them. Boil for 10 minutes and then chill in cold running water. You can reheat them for hot noodles or eat them cold.

There are two components to udon "dashi". Dashi is actually a kind of ambiguous word because it can mean a pure extract from one or more sources or a broth that has been seasoned. Udon dashi is made from kaeshi, the seasonings combined and matured, and dashi taken from fish and kelp. This is how to make the kaeshi:

usukuchi (light) soy sauce 20

sake 3.5

sugar 3

mirin 1

salt 1

Combine all the ingredients except the soy sauce in a pot and bring almost to the boil. When you can no longer smell alcohol evaporating from the mirin and sake turn off the flame and let it cool. When the mixture is cool add the soy sauce and store in the refrigerator. Most shops make a large amount of this at one time and mature up to one month before using. I matured it a week and the flavor definitely changed from when it was fresh.

The broth component of the dashi is the most difficult part. This is not the orthodox method but one I developed based on my cold dashi experiments. In Osaka the broth always seems to be based on katsuo. A lot of shops use sababushi, dried mackerel flakes, and urumebushi, herring flakes. Because these are ingredients that you cant buy at a normal supermarket I use niboshi, small dried sardines, and katsuo bushi. This is how I make dashi:

For every 1 liter of water:

niboshi 45g

konbu 5~8g

thin katsuobushi 10~20g

Combine the niboshi, konbu, and water and let it sit over night in the refrigerator. The next day remove the kelp and heat the liquid with the niboshi to almost boiling. Add the katsuobushi and let it steep for a few minutes. Strain the dashi and chill it. The niboshi and konbu give the umami and the katsuobushi gives the aroma and further complexity to the dashi.

For hot udon in broth: Prepare noodles as above. Heat some dashi and add some kaeshi. I don't have an exact amount you should add, this is up to you taste. I add it until the color seems right and if the flavor is weak I add some salt. The "right" color for Osaka is a deep golden color. Reheat the noodles in the dashi or the boiling water and then put them both in a bowl. I put sliced negi, green onion, on top. Other toppings include ten kasu (tempura bits), and shichimi togarashi (a seven spice mix based on red chili)

For cold udon: Place the chilled and drained noodles in a bowl. Top with raw egg, soy sauce, and negi to taste. Cold udon is also great with: grated daikon, tsudachi, ginger, more negi, shredded nori. If you don't like raw egg you don't have to use it.

If you have been thinking of trying to make udon I'd say give it a try. It is pretty easy and doesn't take that long to make. Because you can freeze the dough and dashi you can enjoy udon any time.

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This is how to make the kaeshi:

usukuchi (light) soy sauce 20

sake 3.5

sugar 3

mirin 1

salt 1

Thanks for your detailed report.

What interests me the most is the ingredients of your kaeshi and their ratio. I have made kaeshi once, using only three ingredients: mirin, soy sauce, and sugar. 20 parts soy sauce?

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This is how to make the kaeshi:

usukuchi (light) soy sauce 20

sake 3.5

sugar 3

mirin 1

salt 1

Thanks for your detailed report.

What interests me the most is the ingredients of your kaeshi and their ratio. I have made kaeshi once, using only three ingredients: mirin, soy sauce, and sugar. 20 parts soy sauce?

Yes 20 parts usukuchi soy sauce. I have been told that kaeshi should be 100% usukuchi shoyu to 10% mirin by volume. Other additions vary. My kaeshi is sort of a combination of different things I have heard/researched. I am still changing this recipe which is why I didn't put it on recipe gullet. It is pretty close to udon shop udon but still not quite there. Maybe it's the atmosphere.

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Thank you _john!

I've started making udon during the last few months and have had good results with this recipe

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fg20010701rl.html (although I let it rest longer than suggested)

I'll give yours a try this week.

Which flour do you find gives you the best results? And what would you expect to use outside of Japan?

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This is how to make the kaeshi:

usukuchi (light) soy sauce 20

sake 3.5

sugar 3

mirin 1

salt 1

Thanks for your detailed report.

What interests me the most is the ingredients of your kaeshi and their ratio. I have made kaeshi once, using only three ingredients: mirin, soy sauce, and sugar. 20 parts soy sauce?

Yes 20 parts usukuchi soy sauce. I have been told that kaeshi should be 100% usukuchi shoyu to 10% mirin by volume. Other additions vary. My kaeshi is sort of a combination of different things I have heard/researched. I am still changing this recipe which is why I didn't put it on recipe gullet. It is pretty close to udon shop udon but still not quite there. Maybe it's the atmosphere.

Thanks. I did some googling and realized that udon kaeshi was different from soba kaeshi.

I found one udon kaeshi recipe:

http://allabout.co.jp/gourmet/udon/closeup/CU20020117tuyu/

which calls for:

500 cc usukuchi

50 g sugar

60 cc mirin

50 cc sake

I know that kaeshi can be good, but I can't bring myself to make it...

As for udon noodles, I like frozen ones (store-bought).

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Thank you _john!

I've started making udon during the last few months and have had good results with this recipe

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fg20010701rl.html (although I let it rest longer than suggested)

I'll give yours a try this week.

Which flour do you find gives you the best results?  And what would you expect to use outside of Japan?

I use the highest protein flour I can find in super markets in my area. I can tell you the restaurant use brands that are used in Japan but I don't think that would be very useful. Use bread flour, not all purpose flour in the U.S.

Their recipe is almost the same as mine with a little less salt. And they call for all purpose flour. The salt makes the noodles firmer I'm told. This recipe calls for very little resting of the dough which is probably because they call for all purpose flour. With high protein flour it is impossible to roll it out without resting, it just springs back. It says that using water that is too cold will make the noodles tough. I thought that was the point? And not washing noodles for hot broth, hmmm. I was always told do it for hot and cold. This was to remove nebari stickiness.

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You can usually buy "chuuriki" or medium-strength flour specifically for udon. How do you find using a high-protein flour is in comparison, John?

Sanuki udon are often eaten with the cooking liquid as a broth, so the taste of the flour is important. I usually use a Japanese-produced flour for noodles, mostly in the hope that it will be more freshly milled than imported flour.

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I use the highest protein flour I can find in super markets in my area. I can tell you the restaurant use brands that are used in Japan but I don't think that would be very useful. Use bread flour, not all purpose flour in the U.S.

Their recipe is almost the same as mine with a little less salt. And they call for all purpose flour. The salt makes the noodles firmer I'm told. This recipe calls for very little resting of the dough which is probably because they call for all purpose flour. With high protein flour it is impossible to roll it out without resting, it just springs back. It says that using water that is too cold will make the noodles tough. I thought that was the point? And not washing noodles for hot broth, hmmm. I was always told do it for hot and cold. This was to remove nebari stickiness.

I don't have a cooking background so had no idea of the principals, I just know that I've been increasing the ratio of bread flour (high gluten) to all purpose flour (low gluten - called 'plain' flour in the UK) each time I made it. The longer resting times I give make more sense now.

We like them chewy too, and I haven't been able to bring myself not to rinse them either.

Thanks to you and to helenjp, it feels great to have a discussion about this.

I have another question.

My husband likes to mix raw egg in his udon (I just like having the yolk). I rinse the udon with cool water and then pour freshly boiled water over it so that the egg can coddle - mixed immediately with the noodles in the bowl.

Is this the best way? All the references I've seen about sanuki udon with egg and condiments don't go into any detail. Is it just egg yolk, or the entire egg? Is it mixed into cold noodles? Or are they piping hot (the way the rice you eat with egg at breakfast is)?

I've only eaten udon in soup in Japan, and my husband couldn't remember.

(The restaurant use brands would be useful - my husband is from Tokyo so we do go back periodically. If I could get a batch on the next trip I'd know the taste and texture to aim for)

Edited by MoGa (log)
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For every 1 liter of water:

niboshi 45g

konbu 5~8g

thin katsuobushi 10~20g

Do you use whole niboshi, or do you behead & gut them? If cleaned, is the 45g weight of the whole niboshi, or the after cleaning weight?

Monterey Bay area

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Helen:

You definitely get more bite with the high protein flour but it takes more time to work with the dough because it needs to rest. When I have time I roll it out by hand with a flat rolling pin called a menbou (麺棒 not 綿簿 :smile: ). The rest of the time I use my pasta machine to roll it to the correct thickness. If I use the pasta machine I don't have to let the dough rest when rolling it because of the brute force of the machine.

MoGa:

There are two ways to do the egg. One way is to put the drained piping hot noodles with no broth in a bowl and then put a whole raw egg over the top and mix for some time until it thickens slightly. This is essentially udon carabonara. You add some dashi and soy sauce and top with negi. This is called kamatama. One point when making this dish that makes a real difference is to heat to bowl with the boiling water before adding the noodles. You don't have to heat it long but you won't get the right texture if the noodles are cooled down too much.

The second way is to put a coddled egg onsen tamago over cold noodles. This is usually seasoned with a little soy sauce and the ever present negi. I have a method for making the onsen tamago that I will post in the egg thread.

Flour production companies produce what is called "flour for handmade udon". some famous brands are: suzume スズメ、ahiru アヒル、tsubaki ツバキ. The problem is these flours are sold in 25kg bags. Your best bet would be to ask an udon shop if you can buy flour from them.

ojisan:

It depends on the size of the individual niboshi. I did some experiments and found that if the niboshi weigh less than one gram each you do not need to remove the head and guts. Over one gram I would remove the head and guts and use 30g of cleaned niboshi for one liter of dashi.

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Could the chewiness also come from working the dough? I've made udon with AP flour and bread flour, even added more gluten to both, but didn't find a huge difference. I do the initial mixing in a food processor (yes, its cheating, but its so much faster and thorough). I've also heard that using mineral water can also affect the hip or bite of udon?

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I dunno, call me old-fashioned...seems that you might get all bounce (elasticity) and no stretch (extensibility/flexibility) if there is too much gluten and the dough is made very fast! When people use high-protein/strong flour instead of "medium" flour, they usually cut it with low-protein/weak flour.

As far as I know, the initial kneading (walking around on it) develops the gluten, which is then relaxed during the rest period, so that you get a flavorful noodle which has a good balance of softness and bite, but is neither so soft that it disintegrates into a gluey mass in the water, nor so hard that it breaks up into short lengths when handled/boiled.

I'm sure that using hard water would affect the dough, and so does salt. I know that the amount of salt is varied according to the season, but the site below gives a useful chart:

Japanese page on sanuki udon

The site recommend 8% brine for spring or fall, added at a rate of 44-48ml per 100g "chuuriki" or medium (8-10% protein) flour (but that would vary if you user different flour.

As for recipes using udon, whenever I was in Takamatsu I ate plain "kama-age" udon with scallions, grated giner, soy sauce, and sometimes sesame or yuzu. I don't like to add egg, but you can. Whole egg is fine - I can't see Kagawa people wasting the white for no good reason! In those days, people arrived by ferry, and they would rush straight to the noodle stands on the pier for their homecoming noodle fix!

Flour:

Domestic flour - medium protein, high amylose, low gelatinization temperature and maximum viscosity temperature for starch/defatted starch, and high breakdown. Hokkaido udon flour similar to Australian ASW flour (the preferred flour for udon - I recall hearing long ago that udon makers used imported flour, and that is only changing now), and characterized by large size of starch granules, low protein, low amylose.

Characteristics of Japanese wheat

Desired characteristic for flour for sanuki udon - absorb relatively large amount of water.

Characteristics of this wheat - yellowish color, low amylose - but not extremely low, high breakdown and viscosity.

Sanuki no Yume 2000 wheat/flour for udon, compared with Nourin 141 (Chikugo-izumi)

P.S. This old bat thinks you shouldn't hurry udon-making if you want optimum flavor and texture...

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Again, thank you!

This should be enough information to help me progress a little further. (It took me several years and many botched attempts before I finally reached a satisfying state of competency with okonomiyaki, the udon may take longer, but I will persist.)

I'll be very interested to see _john's advice for onsen tamago.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I love Okinawa Soba, especially the soki soba. Soki being incredible tasting marinated pork rib. Here is a nice picture with some information about it at wikipedia.

I wish it was more readily available...

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Yes...The Wikipedia does do the dish justice.

As Tokakris stated marinated pork rib meat w/ scallions and pickled ginger (I think). I've not had it with pork belly.

As a couple of side notes..

My aunt does make a great pork belly dish called Rafute. It's made with all the usual ingredients, awamari or sake, mirin, soy, bonito stock and sugar. I have trouble getting anything under a 50 pd. case here in the states, so I substitute country style pork rib for the dish.

I'm kinda stuck in Rafute mode right now !!!

My mother has the butcher cut babyback ribs across the bone into little riblets and adds them to her Japanese style curry.

-Jimmy

Typos are Copyrighted @

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  • 3 months later...

Some members on this forum probably get boxes of somen as summer gifts like I do. My question is what to do with it all? Besides summer cold somen what are some satisfying dishes? I want something I can make for dinner and not be left feeling like I have an empty stomach and want to eat rice.

nyuumen, age somen, any recommended dishes?

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What exactly are those summer gift sets anyway? I've been seeing them everywhere, like gift sets full of jellies and soaps and things - are they just to celebrate summer, or are they for a special occasion?

I've been making Harumi Kurihara's somen salad for lunch a lot recently - it's not really a full meal sort of thing, but it's great for a packed lunch, and would make a substantial side salad. I give the details here, but if you're not familiar with the recipe, it's basically a stack of somen, cooked and cooled, tossed with a can of tuna, mayonnaise, cucumber, and onions. I serve it with lots of ground pepper, and I love it. I always have my co-workers drooling over it at lunch. I think it's really nice if you can find red onion for it.

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I made the salad today exactly as you described except that I added a few drops of sushi vinegar to give it a little more tang. Good despite the fact that I don't really care much for canned tuna.

I ate it all. :biggrin:

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I'm glad you enjoyed it! I love it, and frequently eat way more of it then I intend to. :biggrin:

gallery_41378_5233_165105.jpg

I'd also like to find a substitute for the tuna for a variation, though. My husband doesn't care for tuna that much, and I'd like someone to prevent me from eating a whole batch by myself. Any ideas?

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