Udon noodles are a Japanese type of noodle, characterized by their thicker strands and chewy texture. Udon noodles are different from ramen and soba in that they're made without eggs. To give udon noodles their bounce, they are cooked, stirred, and cooked again before serving.
To learn more about Udon noodles, we'll first learn a bit about the history of the noodle and the Udon noodle. Udon noodles are thick wheat noodles, which were actually brought over from China to Japan from the Silk Road in the 8th century. During the 13th century in Japan, Udon noodles were really expensive because they were made from wheat. To grind the wheat into useful flour, you needed a stone grinder, which was very expensive. This led to only the rich and wealthy people being able to eat Udon. After the civil war, more wheat and stone grinders were produced in Japan to facilitate this war. This led to Udon becoming more widely available for the Japanese population. The end of the Second World War really marked the start of the popularity of noodles in Japan and later in the entire world. They became loved for their taste, nutritional value, and affordability.
Udon noodles are made by combining flour, salt, and water. The ratios of these ingredients are very precise and differ from restaurant to restaurant in Japan. When the mixture is mixed, the dough is put on a rolling machine or rolled by hand. This dough should be as soft as a cushion, hence the name "zabuton" dough (which means cushion in Japanese). After the dough has the right texture, it is cut into thick strands. These thicker strands, combined with the cushion texture, give Udon its signature texture to make it more "bouncy," as they say in Japanese. The noodles are cooked and stirred and then cooled off before getting cooked again right before serving.
A very common broth to use with Udon noodles is Dashi, a type of stock made from sea kelp and bonito flakes. It's a broth that combines the flavors of sweetness and umami. You could also add dried mushrooms to the broth to give even more umami flavor. You can add chicken or mushrooms to the soup and top it with whatever toppings you want, such as scallions, tempura, or corn.
That's it about Udon noodles for now. Make sure to drop by our restaurant in Rotterdam to try some of our noodles yourself.