EOWTTA*: U is for Udon and the Unexpected

Friday, April 30, 2010

*EOWTTA=Eating Our Way Through The Alphabet

Ha, bet you thought I’d given up. Or forgotten all about this EOWTTA thing didn’t you?

The truth is, I was actually uninspired. There aren’t that many edible things that begin with the letter U, and most of those that do are actually in Japanese : Unagi (eel), Umeboshi (type of pickled fruit) and Udon (noodles).  I suppose there’s also Ugli fruit, but I have no idea what it actually is or where to find one.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a massive fan of Japanese cuisine, I just feel a little unworthy of actually attempting any “proper” Japanese food.  After watching Japanese Food Safari , and listening to a sushi master discuss his art, I felt even more intimidated.

But, the show must go on as they say, so I’ve attempted to make my own Udon. As you know, udon is a type of thick, wheat noodle, and it can be served in a variety of ways, from cold to hot dishes.

The method is simple enough, and can be found here. I followed the ingredient list and instructions with a few minor changes.  I used slightly less salt and also added the water in a little at a time rather than all at once.

(Don't think a noodle master would approve of my cutting method)

It was pretty easy but I think I actually made the noodles a bit too thin. Still, they cooked up well and I turned them into a “surprise” dinner (definitely not a traditional Japanese dish).

“Surprise” dinners usually come about because I have been too busy/tired/lazy/forgetful to pick up groceries so I need to work with whatever is at hand. Think of it as a game show, if you will:
“Contestant number one, you have a quarter head of red cabbage, some eggs, a half-forgotten paper bag of mixed Asian mushrooms, shallots, a dash of tamari, mirin and sesame oil and 5 leftover roasted chestnuts. Plus the star ingredient: home-made udon noodles. Take it away Shaaazaaa!”. (cue cheesy game show music).

“Surprise” dinners usually need to be made fairly quickly because they manifest at the end of a long/busy/tiring day and the two velociraptors mini-critics are quietly eyeing each other off.

Luckily, the “Udon stir-fry surprise” went pretty well and I still had two whole children left at the end of the evening.

Here’s how I averted cannibalism: Get all the ingredients ready: red cabbage – shred finely, mushrooms – clean and slice appropriately, shallots – dice, roasted chestnuts – peel, dice and fry in a little oil until crisp.  Pre-boil the udon noodles until al-dente. Beat some eggs with a pinch of salt  (as many as you wish, I usually work with 1 for each diner plus one extra for good luck). Heat a wok and add a little oil, swirl to coat so that the wok is well coated but no oil is pooling at the bottom. Pour the beaten egg in and gently fry until set but not browned. Slide out onto a plate, roll it up and cut into strips, keep warm.

Add a bit more oil if necessary, then stir-fry the shallots and cabbage until the cabbage is starting to become tender, add a tiny bit of water if needed but don’t drown it. Add the mushrooms and keep stir-frying until cooked. Throw in the noodles and add a dash of tamari, mirin and sesame oil. Lower the heat if needed and stir-fry to coat everything in the sauce and until the noodles are heated through. Dish up, top with the omelette strips and some nori strips if available, then scatter with the chestnut bits. Add some sliced cucumber for a touch of green.

Not what you’d expect for Udon, but still tasty enough. And speaking of unexpected (shaz the segue mistress strikes again!), here are a few pics of some dudes breakdancing. What on earth has it got to do with this post? I snapped it after a visit to our favourite sushi train (shaz the tenuous-link woman also rides).

Have a great weekend folks ☺


grace said...

velociraptors, cannibalism, and breakdancing. wowza, what a post. :)

Hungry Dog said...

1) Homemade udon? You're awesome. So brave! 2) Random breakdancing photo: I dig it. Breakdancing is always relevant. 3) Have a great weekend!

dessert girl said...

I love udon noodles! And they are homemade? I'm impressed!

3 hungry tummies said...

I have been thinking about food that starts with U without much luck lol
Love your handmade udon and the dish looks beautiful!

MaryMoh said...

Beautiful homemade udon. I would love to try that.

pierre said...

i long to eat these udons have ssen them many times but not tasted yet !! cheers Pierre de Paris

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Bravo for your U choice and I've never made udon before but it sounds so simple. And I love udon in soup so I think this might be a good Wintry dish :D

Nazarina A said...

These noodles are a work of art and the final dish did a "Pavlov's dog" number on me!Beautiful!

Esi said...

Homemade noodles? You are awesome.

Trissa said...

No way Shaz - never would I have thought of making my own noodles like what you did - such a fantastic idea - am sure much better than store bought!

shaz said...

grace - dinosaurs always add more excitement :)

Hungry Dog - thank you! The noodles weren't too tricky though.

dessert girl - cheers :)

3 hungry tummies - U is pretty tricky huh?

MaryMoh - hope you do give it a go.

pierre - hope you get a chance to taste some soon.

Lorraine - it is pretty simple

Nazarina A - thanks and nice to meet you

Esi - thanks dear, but they weren't too tricky.

Trissa - they were pretty tasty

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Valen said...

You have inspired me to make my own noodles!

shaz said...

Thanks Sugar Plum Fairy :)

Go for it, Valen. Will wait to see what sort of experimentation happens with your noodles.

Vanille said...

Breakdancers are so cool, aren't they ?
And fresh noodles...yum, delicious !