UDON NOODLES

Udon is a type of thick wheat-flour noodle of Japanese cuisine.

Udon is usually served hot as noodle soup in its simplest form as kake udon, in a mildly flavoured broth called kakejiru which is made of dashi, soy sauce (shōyu), and mirin. It is usually topped with thinly chopped scallions. Other common toppings include tempura, often prawn or kakiage (a type of mixed tempura fritter), or abura age, a type of deep-fried tofu pockets seasoned with sugar, mirin, and soy sauce. A thin slice of kamaboko, a halfmoon-shaped fish cake, is often added. Shichimi can be added to taste.

The flavor of broth and topping vary from region to region. Usually, dark brown broth, made from dark soy sauce (koikuchi shōyu) is used in eastern Japan, and light brown broth, made from light soy sauce (usukuchi shōyu) is used in western Japan. This is even noticeable in packaged instant noodles, which are often sold in two different versions for east and west.

Origin:

In China, similar thick wheat flour noodles are called cū miàn (粗麵). This original udon was 2 to 3 cm in diameter, a flat pancake-shaped “noodle” added to miso-based soup. The Japanese character 饂飩 is different from the modern Chinese characters 餛飩, which refers to wonton dumplings, not noodles. In Chinese, udon is called 烏冬 wūdōng or 烏冬麵 wūdōngmiàn, sometimes 烏龍麵 wūlóngmiàn, although it is unrelated to Oolong tea, 烏龍茶 wūlóngchá.

Like many Japanese noodles, udon noodles are served chilled in the summer and hot in the winter. Toppings are chosen to reflect the seasons. Most toppings are added without much cooking, although some are deep-fried. Many of these dishes may also be prepared with soba.

Advertisements

HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN PAD THAI NOODLES?

Pad Thai or Phat Thai ( ผัดไทย, “fried Thai style”) is a dish of stir-fried rice noodles with eggs, fish sauce ( น้ำปลา), tamarind juice, red chilli pepper, plus any combination of bean sprouts, shrimp, chicken, or tofu, garnished with crushed peanuts, coriander and lime, the juice of which can be added along with Thai condiments (crushed peanuts, garlic chives, pickled turnip, cilantro, lime, spicy chili oil, chili powder, vinegar, fish sauce, sugar). It is usually served with spring onions and pieces of raw banana flower.

The dish had been known in ancient Siam in various forms for centuries. The variant of noodle was brought to the ancient Thai capital of Ayuthaya by Vietnamese traders. However, it was first made popular as a national dish by Luang Phibunsongkhram when he was prime minister during the 1930s and 1940s, partly as an element of his campaign for Thai nationalism and centralization, and partly for a campaign to reduce rice consumption in Thailand. The Thai economy at this time was heavily dependent on rice exports; Phibunsongkhram hoped to increase the amount available for export by launching a campaign to educate the poor in the production of rice noodles, as well as in the preparation of these noodles with other ingredients to sell in small cafes and from street carts. Nowadays Pad Thai has become a widespread staple food and is one of Thailand’s national dishes.

Ingredients:

1/2 teaspoon ground dried chili pepper

1 egg

4 teaspoons fish sauce

3 cloves minced garlic

ground pepper

1/2 lime

2 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoon tamarind paste

1/2 package Thai rice noodles

1/3 cup extra firm tofu

2 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 minced shallot

1/2-1/4 lb shrimp (Optional)

2 tablespoons peanuts (Optional)

1 tablespoon preserved turnip (Optional)

1-1/2 cup Chinese chives (Optional)

1/2 banana flower (Optional)

1-1/3 cup bean sprouts (Optional)

2-3 Servings, Prep Time: 40 minutes.

Start with soaking the dry noodles in lukewarm or room temperature water while preparing the other ingredients. Getting the noodles just right is the trickiest part of making Pad Thai. Check out Tips and Substitutions for in depth explanations. By the time you are ready to put ingredients in the pan, the noodles should be flexible but not mushy. Julienne tofu and cut into 1 inch long matchsticks. When cut, the super firm tofu/pressed tofu should have a mozzarella cheese consistency. You can fry the tofu separately until golden brown and hard, or you can fry with other ingredients below. Cut the Chinese chives into 1 inch long pieces. Set aside a few fresh chives for a garnish. Rinse the bean sprouts and save half for serving fresh. Mince shallot and garlic together.

Use a wok. If you do not have a wok, any big pot will do. Heat it up on high heat and pour oil in the wok. Fry the peanuts until toasted and remove them from the wok. The peanuts can be toasted in the pan without oil as well. Add shallot, preserved turnip, garlic and tofu and stir them until they start to brown. The noodles should be flexible but not expanded at this point. Drain the noodles and add to the wok. Stir quickly to keep things from sticking. Add tamarind, sugar, fish sauce and chili pepper. Stir. The heat should remain high. If your wok is not hot enough, you will see a lot of juice in the wok at this point. Turn up the heat, if it is the case. Make room for the egg by pushing all noodles to the side of the wok. Crack the egg onto the wok and scramble it until it is almost all cooked. Fold the egg into the noodles. The noodles should soft and chewy. Pull a strand out and taste. If the noodles are too hard (not cooked), add a little bit of water. When you get the right taste, add shrimp and stir. Sprinkle white pepper around. Add bean sprouts and chives. Stir a few more times. The noodles should be soft, dry and very tangled. Pour onto the serving plate and sprinkle with ground pepper and peanuts. Serve hot with the banana flower slice, a wedge of lime on the side, raw Chinese chives and raw bean sprouts on top. As always, in Thailand, condiments such as sugar, chili pepper, vinegar and fish sauce are available at your table for your personal taste. Some people add more chili pepper or sugar at the table.

Tips and Techniques

By far, the trickiest part is the soaked noodles. Noodles should be somewhat flexible and solid, not completely expanded and soft. When in doubt, undersoak. You can always add more water in the pan, but you can’t take it out.

Shrimp can be substituted or omitted.

In this recipe, pre-ground pepper, particularly pre-ground white pepper is better than fresh ground pepper. For kids, omit the ground dried chilli pepper.

Tamarind adds some flavor and acidity, but you can substitute white vinegar.

The type of super firm tofu or pressed called for this recipe can be found at most oriental groceries in a plastic bag, not in water. Some might be brown from soy sauce, but some white ones are also available. Pick whatever you like.

If you decide to include banana flower, cut lengthwise into sections (like orange sections). Rub any open cut with lime or lemon juice to prevent it from turning dark.

The original Pad Thai recipe calls for crushed roasted peanuts. Thailand is hot and humid and storage conditions are often sub-optimal, so a certain fungus can grow on peanuts. This fungus is linked to cancer, so many people in Thailand avoid eating peanuts.

NOODLE SOUPS FROM ALL OVER

Noodle soup

Cambodia:

Ka tieu – a pork broth based rice noodle soup served with shrimp, meat balls, pork liver and garnished with fried garlic, green onions, cilantro, lime and hoisin sauce.

-Cambodia noodle soup

China:

There are a myriad of noodle soup dishes originating in China, and many of these are eaten in, or adapted in various Asian countries.
Ban mian (板面) – Hokkien style, flat-shaped egg noodles in soup.
Crossing the bridge noodles (Chinese: 过桥米线; pinyin: Guò qiáo mĭxiàn) – served as a bowl of chicken stock with uncooked rice noodles, meat, raw eggs, and vegetables and flowers on the side that get added and cooked when one is ready to eat. Stock stays warm because of a layer of oil on top of the bowl. Typical cuisine of Kunming, Yunnan Province (昆明, 云南省).
Wonton noodle (雲吞麵) – a Cantonese dish

-Making noodles

 

Japan:

A bowl of Tokyo-style ramen Traditional Japanese noodles in soup are served in a hot soy-dashi broth and garnished with chopped scallions. Popular toppings include tempura, tempura batter or aburaage (deep fried tofu). Soba (そば) – thin brown buckwheat noodles. Also known as Nihon-soba (“Japanese soba”). In Okinawa, soba likely refers to Okinawa soba (see below).
Udon (うどん) – thick wheat noodle served with various toppings, usually in a hot soy-dashi broth, or sometimes in a Japanese curry soup.

Chinese-influenced wheat noodles, served in a meat or chicken broth, have become very popular in the past 100 years or so. Ramen (ラーメン) – thin light yellow noodle served in hot chicken or pork broth, flavoured with soy or miso, with various toppings such as slices of pork, menma (pickled bamboo shoots), seaweed, or boiled egg. Also known as Shina-soba or Chuka-soba (both mean “Chinese soba”)
Champon – yellow noodles of medium thickness served with a great variety of seafood and vegetable toppings in a hot chicken broth which originated in Nagasaki as a cheap food for students

Okinawa soba (沖縄そば) – a thick wheat-flour noodle served in Okinawa, often served in a hot broth with sōki (steamed pork), kamaboko (fish cake slice), beni shoga (pickled ginger) and koregusu (chilli-infused awamori). Akin to a cross between udon and ramen.

-beef noodle soup

Korea:

Janchi guksu (잔치국수) – noodles in a light seaweed broth, served with fresh condiments (usually kimchi, thinly sliced egg, green onions, and cucumbers)
Jjamppong (짬뽕) – spicy noodle soup of Korean-Chinese origin
Kalguksu (칼국수) – Hand-cut wheat noodles served in a seafood broth
Makguksu (막국수) – buckwheat noodles with chilled broth
Naengmyeon (냉면) – Korean stretchy buckwheat noodles in cold beef broth, with onions, julienned cucumber, boiled egg sliced in half, and slices of pears. This dish is popular in the humid summers of Korea.
Ramyeon (라면) – South Korean noodles in soup, served in food stalls, made of instant noodles with toppings added by stalls. In the 1960s, instant noodles were introduced to South Korea from Japan. Its quick and easy preparation, as well as its cheap price, ensured it quickly caught on. It is typically spicy with chili and kimchi added, amongst other ingredients. Shin ramyun (신라면)

-Korean noodle soup

Indonesia:

Soto ayam – spicy chicken soup with rice vermicelli. Served with hard-boiled eggs, slices of fried potatoes, celery leaves, and fried shallots. Sometimes, slices of Lontong (compressed rice roll) or “poya”, a powder of mixed fried garlic with shrimp crackers or bitter sambal (orange colored) are added.
Mie ayam – chicken noodle soup comprising a bowl of chicken stock, boiled choy sim, celery leaves, diced chicken cooked with sweet soy sauce , and fried shallots. Some variants add mushrooms and fried/boiled pangsit (wonton). Normally it is eaten with chili sauce and pickles.

-Indonesian noodle soup

Malaysia and Singapore:

Hae mee (虾面; pinyin: xiāmiàn), or “prawn noodles” – Egg noodles served in richly flavored dark soup stock with prawns, pork slices, fish cake slices and bean sprouts topped with fried shallots and spring onion. The stock is made using dried shrimps, plucked heads of prawns, white pepper, garlic and other spices. Traditionally, small cubes of fried pork fat are added to the soup, but this is now less common due to health concerns.

Curry laksa – Rice noodles in a coconut curry soup. Topped with prawns or chicken, cockles, bean sprouts, tofu puffs and sliced fish cakes. Boiled egg may be added. Served with a dollop of sambal chilli paste and Vietnamese coriander. Popular in Singapore.

Assam laksa – Rice noodles in a sour fish soup. Various toppings including shredded fish, cucumber, raw onion, pineapple, chilli and mint. There are regional variations throughout Malaysia

-Assam laksa

Philippines:

Philippine noodle soups can be seen served in street stalls, as well as in the home. They show a distinct blend of Oriental and Western culture adjusted to suit the Philippine palate. They are normally served with condiments such as patis, soy sauce, calamansi juice, as well as pepper to further adjust the flavor. Like other types of soup, they may be regarded as comfort food and are regularly associated with the cold, rainy season in the Philippines. They are normally eaten with a pair of spoon and fork, alternating between scooping the soup, and handling the noodles, and are less commonly eaten with the combination of chopsticks and a soup spoon.

Batchoy – A noodle soup from Iloilo garnished with pork innards, crushed pork cracklings, chopped vegetables, and topped with a raw egg.

Mami – A noodle soup similar to the Chinese variety, with either a beef, pork, chicken, or wanton garnish and topped with chives. Usually thin egg noodles are used, but there are versions using flat rice noodles (ho fan). Introduced in the Philippines by Ma Mon Luk.

Sopas – A noodle soup that has a Western influence. It usually has chicken strips and broth, chopped vegetables, and macaroni noodles. Milk is added to give it a richer flavor. The name literally means “soup.”

Pancit Molo – A noodle soup that has wonton wrappers for its “noodles.” It is normally made from meat broth, leafy as well as chopped vegetables, and possible wonton dumplings.

Miswa – A soup with wheat flour noodles. Chopped pork (with fat to give more flavor to the soup) is fried before the water is added. The noodles take very little time to cook, so they are added last. The dish also normally has chopped patola. “Miswa” also refers to the noodles itself.

-Mami noodle soup

Taiwan:

Beef noodle soup (牛肉麵) – noodles in beef soup, sometimes with a chunk of stewed beef, beef bouillon granules and dried parsley. Popular in Taiwan.
蚵仔麵線 – vermicelli noodles with oysters

Thailand:

-Noodle stall in Thailand

Thai noodle soups are popular in street stalls, canteens and food courts. The noodles are served in a light (chicken) stock, often topped with meat or fish balls and coriander leaves. The diner then adjusts the flavour by themselves using sugar, nam pla (fish sauce), dried chilli and chilli in vinegar provided at the table. Unlike most other Thai food, noodles are eaten with chopsticks. Both noodles and chopsticks are clear Chinese influences. The word kuaitiao is a direct loan from Teochew.

Bami nam (Thai: บะหมี่น้ำ) – egg wheat noodles in soup, often with minced pork, braised or roast duck, or cuts of mu daeng (char siu)

Kaeng chuet wunsen (Thai: แกงจืดวุ้นเส้น) – glass noodles in soup

Khanom chin kaeng khiao wan kai (Thai: ขนมจีนแกงเขียวหวานไก่) – Thai rice noodles served with chicken green curry

Khao soi (Thai: ข้าวซอย) – rice or wheat noodles in a curry soup; a northern Thai dish

Kuaitiao nam (Thai: ก๋วยเตี๋ยวน้ำ) – rice noodles in soup

-Thai noodle soup stall

NOODLE HISTORY

NOODLE HISTORY:

Instant noodles were first created by Momofuku Ando, who was born in southwestern Taiwan when the island was under Japanese colonial rule,in Japan on August 25, 1958, under the brand name Chikin Ramen (チキンラーメン). Momofuku developed the production methodology of flash frying the noodles after they had been made, creating “instant” noodles. This step dried the noodles and gave them a longer shelf life. Chikin Ramen itself was distinctly different from modern instant noodles in that each block of noodles was pre-seasoned and sold for 35 Yen. Initially, due to its price and novelty, Chikin Ramen was considered a luxury item,as Japanese grocery stores typically sold fresh noodles for one-sixth their price. Despite this, instant noodles eventually gained immense popularity, especially after being promoted by Mitsubishi Corporation.

In 1971, Nissin introduced the Cup Noodles, instant noodles in a waterproof polystyrene cup, to which boiling water could be added to cook the noodles. A further innovation added dried vegetables to the cup, creating a complete instant soup dish.

According to a Japanese poll in the year 2000, “the Japanese believe their best invention of the 20th century was instant noodles.” As of 2010, approximately 95 billion servings of instant noodles are eaten worldwide every year. China consumes 42 billion packages of instant noodles per year – 44% of world consumption – Indonesia, 14 billion; Japan, 5.3 billion, Viet Nam 4.8 billion, USA 4 billion. Per capita, South Koreans consume the greatest amount of instant noodles, 69 per capita per year.

Instant noodles are not only popular with college students, they can also be an economic indicator. In 2005, the Mama Noodles Index was launched to reflect the sales of Mama Noodles, the biggest instant noodle manufacturer in Thailand.The index was steady following recovery from the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, but sales increased about 15% on a year-to-year basis in the first seven months of 2005, which was regarded as a sign of an inferior good, one whose consumption increases as incomes fall. The theory was that the increase in sales of instant noodles, which are usually cheap, occurred because people could not afford more expensive foods.

Nissin Foods is a world-wide company that makes instant ramen noodles. It was established in Japan on September 4, 1948 by Momofuku Ando as Nissin Food Products Co., Ltd. of Japan (日清食品株式会社 Nisshin Shokuhin Kabushiki-gaisha?) and ten years later introduced the first instant ramen noodle product, Chikin Ramen (Chicken Ramen). They established a US subsidiary Nissin Foods in 1970 and sold instant ramen noodle products under the name Top Ramen. Instant noodles (1958) and cup noodles (1971) were both invented by Momofuku Ando. Nissin Foods has its headquarters in Yodogawa-ku, Osaka. The company moved to its current headquarters in 1977, when the construction of the building was completed.

Nissin Foods has established offices and factories in various countries, such as Brazil (since 1981), Hong Kong (since 1985), India (since 1992), Germany (since 1993), Thailand (since 1994), China (since 1995) and Mexico (since 2000). Their products are also sold in Philippines, Taiwan, Singapore, Canada, Sweden, Malaysia and Australia.

Nissin founder, Momofuku Ando, has always instilled a sense of commitment and quality in Nissin products. Today, Nissin’s corporate philosophy inspires this same commitment to taste, convenience, and quality. Mr. Ando began the company as part of a humble family operation back in 1948. Faced with sparse food sources after World War II, Mr. Ando realized that a quality, convenient ramen product would help to feed the masses. His goal was to create a satisfying ramen that could be eaten anywhere, anytime. In 1958, Nissin introduced “Chicken Ramen”, the first instant ramen. Ironically, it was considered a luxury item, since Japanese grocery stores sold fresh Japanese noodles (udon) at one-sixth the cost of Mr. Ando’s new food concept.

Still, Mr. Ando was convinced that his revolutionary new method of preparation would sell. The concept seemed simple enough. All users would have to do is simply remove the ramen from its package, place it in a bowl, add boiling water, cover the bowl, and wait three minutes. The conservative Japanese food industry, however, rejected the product as a novelty with no future. They had never been so wrong.

Soon, Chicken Ramen was selling beyond even Mr. Ando’s wildest expectations. Before you could say “instant”, more than ten companies were rushing to put their own versions out on the market. By the end of 1958, grocery shelves were crowded with this new staple for the Japanese kitchen. From this point on, Nissin Foods began introduction of a long list of successful and innovative ramen products. Today, Nissin has 21,900 employees, enjoys net sales of over $3.2 billion per year, operates 29 plants in 11 countries, and its products are sold worldwide.       nissinfoods.co.jp