Japanese Linguine Style Noodles
A thick, cream-colored wheat noodle, udon, resembles linguine. Udon noodles are made from 100 percent whole wheat flour or a combination of whole wheat and unbleached white flour. One hundred percent whole wheat udon is a sturdy noodle with a full whole wheat flavor. There are other lighter, smoother udons that readily absorb the flavors of broths, sauces, and seasonings. Brown rice udon (genmai udon), a combination of brown rice flour and wheat flour, is not a traditional Japanese food, but rather was developed by Mitoku especially for the natural foods market.
Sakurai noodles are an extraordinary line of traditionally made, whole grain Japanese pasta that have been made for the last 80 years by the Sakurai family in their small shop located in the foothills of the Japanese alps. The family freshly mills select grains for each batch, and prepares their pastas by the centuries-old-roll-and-cut method. The long strands are slowly air-dried, using no artificial heat, then cut and packaged. Their skill and commitment to quality is evidenced by the fresh, homemade flavor and uncommonly good texture of Sakurai pastas. Exceptional!
Uses: Though usually served in broth or with a strong-flavored dipping sauce, udon is also good when pan-fried. It can be used in noodle salads as well. Easy to prepare, udon is ideal when on the road or camping.
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Cooking with Udon
During the heat of summer, noodles are deliciously refreshing when served floating in a bowl of ice water and accompanied by a chilled dipping sauce. For warmth in the winter, noodles are commonly served in piping hot broth. Whether in soups or salads, sautéed with vegetables, deep-fried, baked, or topped with sauce, noodles are delicious.
Quick to prepare, they provide the perfect solution when you have unexpected guests. In the time it takes for the water to boil and the noodles to cook, you can prepare a broth or sauce and a vegetable dish and voilà! In twenty minutes you can create a nutritious and satisfying meal.
Since most Japanese noodles are made with salt, it is not necessary or advisable to add salt to the cooking water. In a large pot, bring the water (about ten cups of water for every eight ounces of noodles) to a full rolling boil. Add the noodles a few at a time so as not to completely stop the boiling. Stir gently until the water is boiling rapidly again to prevent the noodles from sticking to the bottom of the pan. If too many noodles are added at once, the water will not quickly return to a boil and the noodles will be overcooked on the outside and undercooked on the inside. Also, using too little water will result in sticky, unevenly cooked noodles.
There are two acceptable methods for cooking noodles. The first method is quite basic. Simply bring the water in the pot back to a rapid boil once all the noodles have been added (as just described), then cook the noodles over medium heat until done. The second method is known as the "shock method". Once the noodles have been added to the pot and the water returns to a rolling boil, a cup of cold water is added to "shock" the noodles. When the water returns to a boil again, another cup of cold water is added. This is repeated three or four times until the noodles are cooked. No matter which method is used, noodles should be tested often to avoid overcooking. A properly cooked noodle should be slightly chewy. When broken in half, the noodle should be the same color throughout.
Once cooked, immediately drain and rinse the noodles in two or three cold-water baths or under cold running water to prevent further cooking and to keep the noodles from sticking together. When they have cooled enough to handle, drain and set aside until ready to assemble your dish. If reheating is necessary, place individual noodles in a strainer or colander and submerge in a pot of boiling water until just heated. Drain well and serve.
The noodle cooking water can be reserved, allowed to sour slightly, and then used as a natural leavening agent in breads, muffins, and pancakes.
|Noodles in Broth|
This popular, satisfying dish takes little time to prepare. Simply served with a garnish of scallion, Noodles in Broth makes a filling lunch or a substitute for soup in a heartier meal. You can top the noodles with a colorful assortment of steamed, simmered, or deep-fried vegetables; fish; tofu; mochi; or seitan for a complete dinner. Udon or soba are recommended.
3 cups Shiitake Dashi (see Shiitake Mushroom recipes)
1 package Mitoku 100% Udon
1/8 teaspoon Masu 100% Sea Water Salt
2 tablespoons Mitoku Yaemon Tamari
1 1/2 tablespoons Mitoku Mikawa Mirin
1-2 teaspoons fresh ginger juice
Finely minced scallion for garnish
Cook noodles according to the directions on the package, then rinse under cold running water, drain, and set aside. Meanwhile, in a medium-sized pot combine the Shiitake Dashi, salt, tamari or shoyu, and mirin. Simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat and add ginger juice.
To serve, divide noodles in deep individual serving bowls. Ladle hot broth over noodles to almost cover, and garnish with minced scallion or your choice of topping.
Japanese-Style Fried Noodles
In this tasty Japanese dish, cooked noodles are simply tossed in a pan with sautéed vegetables and a small amount of sweet and savory sauce. Mirin and mellow miso combine for a perfect marriage of flavors. Minced scallion adds color as well as fresh crispness.
8 ounces uncooked Mitoku Sakurai Udon
2 1/2 tablespoons Mitoku Sweet White Miso
2 1/2 tablespoons Mitoku Mikawa Mirin
1 tablespoon Mitoku Virgin or Toasted Sesame Oil
2 tablespoons minced shallot or 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
Minced scallion for garnish
Cook noodles according to the directions on the package, then rinse under cold running water, drain, and set aside.
Combine miso and mirin in a small bowl. Heat oil in a large skillet, add minced shallot or garlic, and sauté over medium-low heat 1 minute. (Be careful not to brown garlic or it will become bitter.) Add miso-mirin mixture to the skillet, then add noodles and toss to evenly coat. (It may be necessary to add a little water.) Sauté 1 minute more, then remove from heat. Serve immediately with a generous sprinkling of scallion.