Udon has been a Japanese staple since the 13th century and has in turn found appreciation overseas, especially in Western countries. Thanks to the Japan Centre you can now experience what it’s like to make authentic udon noodles in the comfort of your home.
If you’re looking for a fun and rewarding activity that will allow you and your loved ones to bond, then we suggest trying the centuries old ritual of udon making. There’s nothing more challenging and rewarding than having the opportunity to taste what you have worked hard for.
Japan Centre has recently made available, Nisshin’s White Men Ishin Udon Flour; this is the flour of choice for London’s best udon restaurant – Ichiryu. Now you can have it in your home and ensure that the udon noodles you make are 100% authentic. This Men Ishin udon flour has been milled in Japan and was specially formulated to produce the thickest, chewiest and bounciest udon noodles.
To find out how to make your own udon noodles at home, follow our step by step guide below:
1. Combine water and salt to make a brine solution. Add udon flour to a separate bowl and slowly add brine little by little.
2. Gently mix in brine by hand until completely absorbed into the flour. When the consistency is dry and crumbly, form the dough into a ball.
3. Place dough on a flat surface lightly dusted with flour. Knead the dough.
4. When the dough is a nice, stretchy consistency, cover with plastic wrap (to prevent drying) and allow to rest for two hours.
5. Place rested dough on a floured flat surface and roll out into a square shape. Wind the rolled out dough around the rolling pin and proceed to roll again on the pin to flatten further. Unroll the dough from the pin, and continue using the rolling pin to flatten until the dough reaches 3mm in thickness.
6. Fold dough gently into thirds. Slice across folded dough with a large chopping knife in 3mm increments, being as consistent as possible, so each slice is a folded up udon noodle. To make sure that the noodles all finish cooking at the same time, ensure the width of the noodles are as similar in size as possible. To prevent the noodles from sticking to each other after cutting, unravel them and place them flat before boiling.
7. Boil noodles for 15-18 minutes in about 4L of water. Make sure to not let the noodles boil over. Drain and rinse in water, then use in any udon dish.
Another top tip is to place your udon flour dough in a plastic bag and step on it in order to knead it properly. This is how udon is traditionally made in Japan and you can ask your friends or family members to join in on the challenge.
The biggest advantage of making udon at home is that you get to choose the shape, length and thickness. You have complete control and can really have the opportunity to experiment with your preferences. Tochigi prefecture is well known for their specialty “mimi udon;” “mimi” means ears in Japanese and thus their udon is shaped liked ears. An interesting and fun experience for those willing to venture out of the norm.
If you are more into traditional udon you can try yaki udon, as described on our inspiration page. The longer you knead your dough, the thinner and chewier your udon noodles will be. For those of you who prefer them to be a little firmer, kneading them with your feet in a plastic bag is not necessary.