Making udon noodles from scratch is an easy task that will give you deliciously fresh noodles every time. It requires only three ingredients: flour, water and salt. You can even add a small amount of tapioca flour to increase the gluten content for a stronger and chewier texture.
A good quality udon noodle should be 1/8 inch thick and expand when it is cooked. The best way to achieve this is to use strong flour with a high gluten content. You can also experiment with a variety of gluten-rich flours, says Shuko Yamada, head chef at Koya in Japan.
To make a batch of udon, start by mixing the ingredients together in a large bowl. Then gradually add the salted water, stirring to distribute evenly. Once fully incorporated, knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic. Then allow it to rest for 3 hours.
Next, roll out the noodle to about 3mm (0.1 inches) thick. Then fold the dough into three accordion folds and dust it with potato starch. Then cut the folded noodle into thin strips.
Once the noodles are ready, place them in a pan of boiling water and cook until they are tender but not mushy. Ideally, they should take about 7-12 minutes. It is a good idea to dunk the cooked noodles in ice water before eating to remove excess starch and increase “bounce” of the noodle.
If you are making a small batch of noodles, you can divide the dough into serving portions and keep them in the fridge or freezer until needed. This will keep them fresh for a couple of days.
Alternatively, wrap the whole batch in cling film and store it in the freezer for up to a month. This will keep them fresh for a while but they need to be eaten within one month or they will get soft.
You can easily make a large quantity of noodles using a plastic bag. This will make it easier to get the right shape and thickness. You can add a little tapioca flour to the bag as well to make it even easier.
Once the noodles are made, you can serve them with a range of dishes such as stir-fries, soups and other Asian recipes. They pair especially well with a range of sauces including curry, pesto, miso, gochujang and more.
Homemade udon are better than the store-bought ones you can buy in most Asian markets. They are more fresh tasting, have a good texture and are more versatile. They can be served hot or cold and can be paired with a variety of vegetables and proteins.
How to make homemade udon Noodles
The first step is to mix the flour with the water. You can make the flour mix a little thicker or thinner by adding more or less water depending on the desired consistency of your udon. Adding too much water will make the noodle too soft and elastic, while too little will leave it sticky.