Monday, June 04, 2007

Udon & Okinomiyaki

Nothing like a bowl of cold noodles on a hot summer day. The first time I ate cold noodles that were not in the form of macaroni salad was with my friend Lisa, who made me chilled Korean buckwheat noodles when we were in college at Case. Since that time, I was emboldened to order cold noodle dishes at restaurants and when we lived in Taipei. This little food storyline had sort of trailed off until yesterday, when Joe and I learned to make Japanese Udon from scratch.

Our awesome neighbors, Tai and Saya, have a hard time obtaining Japanese food here. Tai began making his own udon noodles to fill a craving.
To make Udon:
1 part bread flour
2 parts regular flour
salt to taste

Slowly add water to the flour until a dough is formed, if it becomes too sticky, add more flour. Taizo seemed to add just a tablespoon of water, then after he'd formed a dough ball with some of the flour, he'd add more water and use the existing dough ball to grab up more dry flour.

Then comes the kneading.I guess it's sort of a man's job because of all the kneading... have a look:

The dough balls need to sit at room temp for 1-2 hours. We played UNO during that time. Then roll out the dough into a large thin rectangle. Give it a very generous coating of cornstarch before folding it into fourths longways. Use a sharp knife to cut it into strips. Unfold strips and loosely bundle about ten noodles on a plate (makes it easier to throw them in the pot).

Bring water to a boil on high with some salt. Swish a few bundles of noodles into the water, and pull them out when they change from white to slightly yellow. Immediately rinse them in cold water and/or swish in an icewater bath. Drain in a collander before serving.

In addition to cold noodles dressed in a thin fish broth, sesame seeds,green onions and seaweed, Taizo also made Osaka-style okinomiyaki.

To see more photos of our Japanese homestyle cooking class visit my Ringo album.

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