March 22, 2007
I’ve got a thing for noodles; spaghetti, vermicelli, lo mein, almost clear rice noodles, soba, and especially, udon. The Japanese udon is a wheat noodle and gloriously thick, absorbing the flavors of it’s honored dish, Udon Noodle Soup. Feast your eyes on the most mouth-watering pictures I’ve seen of udon. In my mind, udon noodle soup truly reaches perfection with the addition of tempura, pictured here (the noodles in this soup are soba but I couldn’t resist the beautiful picture, my apologies).
I picked up some delicious tempura udon on the way home on Tuesday. Thinking about it, tempura is truly magical. It’s technically deep-fried seafood, often shrimp, or vegetables, but the result is seldom greasy and perfectly crispy, unlike so many other manifestations of fried food in America. Rather than the boring potato, tempura carrots, yams, squash, and green beans are simply scrumptious. Make some Tempura Broccoli Florets or Crispy Onion Flowers and no sane person will turn up their nose at these vegetables!
A mixture of tempura, shrimp and vegetables, should be served alongside a good Udon Noodle Soup, so that each piece can be dipped into the hot broth and quickly gobbled up. A variety of vegetables, including mushrooms, seaweed, and scallions, can be added to the udon noodle soup. In many restaurants, a half-moon slice of fish cake called kamaboko is served on top of the soup. If making udon soup at home, use miso soup for the broth (you can buy miso paste at any Asian supermarket). Remember, Japanese custom actually encourages loud slurping of udon noodles!
4 C. Flour
1 tsp. Salt
1 Egg yolk
Sift flour and salt together into a large bowl. Add egg yolk and enough water to make a stiff paste. Knead thoroughly. Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel and let it stand for 30 min. Sprinkle board and rolling pin with additional flour. Roll out dough until it is paper thin. Fold into a long roll and cut into strips about 1/10 inch wide. When unrolled, the strips should be at least 12 inches long. Cook 3-4 min in boiling salted water.