For sushi friday I am making Kake-Udon, or Udon Noodle Soup in Broth. This is surprisingly tasty broth with very simple ingredients. Not only does it have simple ingredients, but it is also super easy and quick to make. There is a common variation of this soup called Tempura Udon, which is basically the same preparation with the addition of a tempura shrimp piece or two.
There a basically two main flavor varieties of this soup. You have the darker broth which is prepared with dark soy sauce, which is of a stronger flavor. It is more popular int the eastern parts of Japan. You also have the lighter broth which is prepared with light soy sauce, which is of a milder flavor. It is more popular in the eastern parts of Japan. As you can see from the photo, I prefer the darker variety.
What amazes me is how many different flavors the Japanese can achieve in their dishes using the same main ingredients of Dashi, Mirin, Soy Sauce, and Rice Vinegar. You can see from my previous recipes, the Sunomono Dressing is made up of the same ingredients in different proportions, as the stock for Miso Soup.
There is a traditional technique for cooking the Udon noodles. It requires a boiling pot of water and adding the noodles. Then you add 1 cup of cold water to stop the boiling. When it comes to a rolling boil again, add another cup of cold water. You repeat this 4 times until the noodles are done, which usually takes 12 minutes. I have done this procedure several times and always takes 12 minutes. I am not sure wether it makes a difference, but to me it reminds me of some of my grandmothers techniques for cooking food when you don’t have timers or thermometers. I have done the preparation like cooking pasta with a timer, and have not noticed a difference. I just reduce the cooking time to 10 minutes.
For Udon Soup in Broth
3 Ounces of Dry Udon Noodles
4 Cups of Water
2 Teaspoons of Dashinomoto
2 Tablespoons of Dark Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon of Sugar
1 Tablespoon of Mirin
1 Sprig of Green Onions
Shimichi Togarashi (optional)
In a large stock pot , bring about 2 liters of water to a boil. Cook the noodles either using the traditional technique (see above), or for ten minutes like if you were cooking pasta. Drain the noodles. Add 4 Cups of water in the pot and cook on medium heat. Dissolve the dashinomoto. Add the dark soy sauce, the sugar, and the mirin. When the sugar is dissolved the broth is done. For serving, I recommend that you combine the noodles and the broth just before you serve. If you do it ahead of time, the noodles will darken, and become very soft and gummy. Garnish with thinly chopped green onions, and if you like it spicy with some shimichi togarashi. Variations – If you want a milder flavor use light (regular) soy sauce instead of dark soy sauce. For Tempura Udon add one or two pieces of tempura shrimp as garnish.