Udon Noodles 手打ちうどん

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  • Learn how to make udon noodles from scratch. You’d be surprised how easy & fun it is once you give this homemade recipe a try! With a little bit of footwork (yes, read on to find out more), you’ll get some delicious homemade noodles that is far more superior than store-bought ones.

    Udon Noodles in a bamboo basket.

    One of the easiest Japanese noodles that you can make at home is Udon Noodles (うどん).  Today I’ll share with you how to make this popular Japanese noodles from scratch. Since Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, we’ll make a pink version for fun.

    How do we color it pink?  We use homemade natural food coloring – beet juice!

    Why beet juice?  I’m collaborating with other talented YouTubers for Tastemade‘s new “Hero Series“, and the ingredient for this month’s series is beets.  At the end of my YouTube video, you will see the playlist of all the recipes so please check them out!

    Watch How To Make Homemade Udon Noodles 手打ちうどんの作り

    Making delicious udon noodles at home requires just water, salt, and flour. Nothing beats the flavor and texture of fresh homemade udon.

    What is Udon Noodles?

    Udon is a type of thick wheat flour noodle commonly used in Japanese cuisines. Enjoyed in many ways, the noodles come with white, thick, chewy yet soft texture. With a neutral flavor, udon noodles can be served in hot dashi soup (made with kombu and bonito flakes), or eaten cold by dipping in a soy-sauce based sauce, or stir fried with meat and vegetables. Some delicious udon noodles recipes you may enjoy: 

    Making Udon Noodles from Scratch

    Living in San Francisco, it’s easy for me to access to all kinds of Japanese products and produces, including udon noodles.  I always have this package of frozen Sanuki Udon in my freezer, so I don’t really have to make my own noodles.

    Then why do I make udon noodles from scratch?

    • Fresh tasting and quality texture. The texture of refrigerated udon noodle packages sold in Asian markets are usually not of good quality.  Not only the noodles break too easily, the taste tends to be floury and the texture can be rubbery. Homemade noodles?  The texture is smooth and chewy with an elastic toothsome bite. The freshness is simply unbeatable.
    • You only need 3 ingredients to make udon noodles: flour, water, and salt.  The methods to make udon are very straightforward.
    • No special kitchen gadget required. Unlike making pasta noodles, you need a pasta machine to make perfect noodles. With udon, you only need your hands, your feet (read on to find out why) and a sharp knife to make the noodles from scratch.

    Udon on a bamboo tray.

    Challenges with Making Udon Noodles

    To be honest, there are a few drawbacks (but not big deal IMHO) with making udon from scratch.

    • It takes time.  To be exact, you need at least 4-5 hours including inactive time.  The dough needs to rest to relax the gluten.
    • It’s a bit of a workout.  Considering you will enjoy the heavenly noodles, this is not too bad, right?  Compared to bread dough, udon noodle dough is harder.  You will need some strength to roll out the dough.  And this leads to my third point.
    • It requires your FEET.  What???  Yes, I’m not joking.  Because the dough is pretty hard to knead with hands, the Japanese use our feet to do the work.

    Feet on a napkin.

    If I haven’t said yet I must tell you, IT’s SO WORTH IT!  My family enjoys these homemade noodles every time I make them.  The taste and texture are much better than any store bought brands, including the best ones. And there is no preservatives used in homemade udon.

    Measuring for Udon Noodle Recipe

    The ingredients and methods for making udon noodles are very simple.  I recommend the following measurements for one serving.

    1 serving = 100 grams of all purpose flour + 50 grams of salted water (salted water = 5 grams of salt and 45 grams of water)

    * 45 grams of water means 45 ml/cc.  

    So, for two and four servings, it is as simply as:

    2 servings = 200 grams of all purpose flour + 100 grams of salted water (10 grams of salt + 90 grams of water)

    4 servings = 400 grams of all purpose flour + 200 grams of salted water (20 grams of salt + 180 grams of water)

    and so on…

    For the best result, please use a kitchen scale (I started using it more so that I can give you precise measurement).  I purposely didn’t include a “cup” measurement (I’m sorry!) as 1 cup of flour varies depending on how you measure it, whether it’s been sifted or not.  It’s the most accurate when you measure by weight.

    Udon Noodles on a cutting board.

    Tips and Tricks

    • Do not skip “resting” time.  I know, we are all busy and we don’t have time to wait around.  However, in order to achieve good chewy udon texture, hang in there, at least for your first try!  I actually have tried skipping the rest time and made a quick version of udon.  They turned out okay, and probably better than those refrigerated udon noodles from the stores, BUT they are not comparable to the ones that have enough resting time.
    • Get a 5 gallon Ziploc bag if you are making more than 2 servings.  If you have a clean thick plastic bag, then that’s okay too.  Don’t use a thin bag because you might rip it.  1 gallon bags will be way too small for 3 servings and more.
    • Knead with your feet until the dough is as soft as your ear lobes.  It’s going to be much harder to roll with your hands later if your dough is not soft enough.
    • Cover your dough with a plastic bag when you are resting it. This is to keep the moisture in the dough, and remove as much as air as possible.
    • Roll out the dough to a square shape so that the noodles will be of equal length.
    • Use a sharp knife to cut the noodles.  If it’s a dull knife, the sides of the noodles will not have a clean cut.  Part of the texture that makes udon unique is its clean edge.

    So… Beet Pink Udon, Yay or Nay?

    I personally loved it, even though I’m pretty traditional when it comes to Japanese food.  The best part is that you don’t really taste the beets.  I mean, I can sense it, but it’s definitely not a significant amount of flavor.  I’m comfortable to serve it to someone who is not a big fan of beets.  Depending on how you serve these udon, you are not likely to taste the beets at all.

    The shade of pink really depends on how much beet juice you use.  I have tested enough times that I know exactly how much beet juice I wanted for this recipe, but you have to slowly combine the water and beet juice to achieve the right shade of pink you want.

    My daughter LOVES these pink udon noodles.  I guess I don’t have to wait until Valentine’s Day to make these colored udon noodles in my house.

    If you enjoy making food from scratch, like these Homemade Gyoza Wrappers, you will definitely enjoy making udon noodles in your own kitchen. Have fun!

    Udon Noodles on a bamboo tray.

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    4.25 from 16 votes
    How To Make Udon Noodles | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com
    Udon Noodles
    Prep Time
    20 mins
    Cook Time
    10 mins
    Total Time
    2 hrs 45 mins
    Learn how to make udon noodles from scratch. You’d be surprised how easy & fun it is once you give this homemade recipe a try! With a little bit of footwork (yes, read on to find out more), you’ll get some delicious homemade noodles that is far more superior than store-bought ones.
    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: homemade noodle, udon
    Servings: 2
    For regular white udon
    • 200 g all-purpose flour (200 g = 7 oz)
    • 90 g water (90 g = 90 ml)
    • 10 g salt (kosher or sea salt; use half if using table salt) (10 g = about 2¼ tsp)
    • potato/corn starch (or flour for rolling and dusting)
    For pink udon
    • 200 g all-purpose flour (200 g = 7 oz)
    • 80 g water (80 g = 80 ml)
    • 10 g salt (kosher or sea salt; use half if using table salt) (10 g = about 2¼ tsp)
    • potato/corn starch (or flour for rolling and dusting)
    • 10 g beet juice (10 g = 10 ml) (or about 2 tsp)
    For Beet Juice
    • 1 beet
    • 1 cup water
    1. Gather all the ingredients. If you are making white udon, skip to step 5.

      Beet Udon Noodles Ingredients
    2. Peel and slice the beet root into ½” (1.3 cm) thickness.
      Beet Udon Noodles 1
    3. Put sliced beets and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan and cook for about 20 minutes until the beet juice is reduced to about 2 Tbsp.
      Beet Udon Noodles 2
    4. Save the beet juice in a small bowl. Combine 80 g (80 ml) water and 2 tsp. of beet juice. Add the 2 ¼ tsp. salt and mix until it’s completely dissolved.
      Beet Udon Noodles 3
    5. Combine 90 g (90 ml) water and 2 ¼ tsp. salt and mix until it’s completely dissolved.

    6. Place the flour in a large bowl and add the salted beet juice (for pink udon) or salted water (for regular udon) little by little while mixing with hands.
      Beet Udon Noodles 4
    7. Combine the dough until there is no dry flour left and form into a ball. If there is some flour left, add tiny bit of water. Then place the dough in the large durable plastic bag (such as 5 gallon Ziploc bag). Close the bag leaving a small air gap and leave it for 20-30 minutes to relax the gluten.
      Beet Udon Noodles 5
    8. Just in case the plastic bag breaks, place the bag between 2 kitchen cloths on the floor. Step on the dough with your feet (heels) using your weight. Turn around and press from the inward to outward. You can do this step with your hands, but it will take more effort and time. Stepping udon dough with your feet is a common practice in Japan! Step on the dough until the dough is completely flatten.
      Beet Udon Noodles 6
    9. Take out the dough and fold it into a ball again. Place it in the bag and close the bag leaving a small air gap.
      Beet Udon Noodles 7
    10. Step again until the dough is stretched and flatten. Take out the dough and fold into a ball again. Prepeat this process one more time (total 3 times), or until the dough is soft just like ear lobe (that’s how we say in Japan).
      Beet Udon Noodles 8
    11. After the 3rd round of stepping the dough, fold it into a ball and place in the plastic bag. Seal tight and rest the dough for 2 hours (3 hours or overnight in winter).
      Beet Udon Noodles 9
    12. Dust the working surface with potato/corn starch and take out the dough. Form a nice round ball and then flattern with your hand.
      Beet Udon Noodles 10
    13. Using a rolling pin, stretch the dough into a rectangular shape. Dust the dough with portato/corn starch in between to make sure the dough is not sticky. Turn the dough 180 degree and stretch it evenly.
      Beet Udon Noodles 11
    14. Once it’s nice rectangular shape, turn 90 degree and stretch to make it into square. If the dough is square, all the nodles will have the same length when you cut them.
      Beet Udon Noodles 12
    15. When the dough is a square shape, roll the dough into a rolling pin and stretch to let the rounded corner into more pointed tip. Make the dough into 3 mm (1/8”) thickness.
      Beet Udon Noodles 13
    16. Dust the potato/corn starch on top of the dough and fold the dough like an accordion.
      Beet Udon Noodles 14
    17. Put more potato/corn starch on top and then cut noodles into 3 mm (1/8”) thickness. Pick up some noodles and fluff the noodles to make sure the noodles are covered with the potato/corn starch to prevent from sticking to each other.
      Beet Udon Noodles 15
    18. If you cook immediately, boil a big pot of water (do not add salt) and cook for 10-12 minutes (depending on thickness of your noodles). Stir the noodles so they don’t stick to each other. Drain and rinse well with cold water to remove the starch. Drain and they are ready to use for your favorite udon recipe.

    19. If you don’t use the udon noodles right away, divide them into small portions (100-150 g per person) and freeze in an airtight containers/bags for a month. You can refrigerate for a few days but it tastes better when you freeze the fresh udon right away. To cook frozen udon, boil for 12-13 minutes without defrosting.
    Recipe Notes

    Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

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