Udon is a traditional Japanese dish. Connoisseurs of oriental cuisine have long known and love this delicious noodle, but for the average consumer this dish is still a curiosity. In Japan, this dish is as popular as sushi and sashimi. But this is simply thick noodles made from wheat flour. Its main difference from all other types of the same product is the absence of eggs in its composition. Now more and more there are restaurants with Japanese cuisine, where you can try this dish and evaluate its taste. And how useful or harmful it is, let's try to figure it out.
A bit of history
As early as the 7th century BC, flour was prepared in the countries of East Asia and delivered along the famous Silk Road to China. The craftsmen of the ancient eastern civilization, which originated in the Yellow River valley, made nutritious and tasty noodles with it, which were then exported to other Asian countries and even to Italy.
According to the Chinese classification, flour pasta was divided into several types. One of them - boiled flour tortillas - includes udon noodles.
This species came to Japan around the VIII century AD. At that time, it had many different names: muginava, tabata or sakubey - the traditional Chinese names for noodles for that time. One of the stories of the appearance of this dish in Japan suggests that the Buddhist monk Kukai from the country of To brought it there. It happened around 804, in the Heian era. Just at that time, the monk arrived in the Chinese city of Choan (modern Sian), which was famous for its high yield of wheat. The result was the receipt of various cultures on its basis, and the Seiruji Temple, where Kukan studied Buddhist teachings, was one of the most famous producers of wheat noodles at that time. Therefore, this story is not without meaning. Especially if you consider this fact from several perspectives and assume that the monk could bring not the noodle culture itself, but new methods of its use. And such an interpretation of events seems more acceptable, especially since the existence of noodles in Japan is mentioned in ancient chronicles long before this journey of Kukai. And since this monk was originally from Kagawa Chinese Prefecture, it is he who is credited with the base of this type of noodle, like sanuki-udon.
General description and types of udon noodles
At its core, udon is a product made up of wheat flour, salt and water. Traditionally, for its preparation, it is customary to use special water - kansui, which is considered mineral and contains phosphates. This is what gives the dough and noodles a specific, salty taste.
The color of the product is executed in gray-white tones, depending on the type of flour that is included in it, and can vary from dirty white to dazzling white options. This is the thickest of all kinds of Japanese noodles. Its thickness reaches a diameter of about 2 to 4 mm.
By the way, depending on the thickness and diameter, several types of udon noodles are distinguished. Moreover, each species is inherent in a certain region in Japan.
Types of Noodles:
- inaniva-udon is an extremely subtle variety made in Akita Prefecture;
- mimi-udon - a type of noodle manufactured in Togiti Prefecture and shaped like “ears”;
- Himokawa - flat and wide noodles from the city of Kiryu, Gumma Prefecture;
- hoto - a popular dish in Yamanashi Prefecture, a fairly wide and flat udon;
- kishimen - flat noodles made in the Japanese city of Nagoya;
- ise-udon is a soft and thick variety from the city of Ise in Mie Prefecture;
- sanuki-udon - a thick and harsh appearance common in Kagawa Prefecture;
- hakata-udon - noodles from Fukuoka Prefecture, usually soft and rather thick.
These are just some of the types of udon noodles. In all of Japan, there are more than thirty varieties of them.
Chemical composition and nutritional value
Udon noodles contain a rich mineral complex and a wonderful vitamin composition. Among vitamins, useful substances such as:
- pantothenic acid;
- folic acid;
- vitamin H;
- vitamin PP.
And the mineral composition is represented by calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, iron, chlorine, sulfur, iodine, chromium, fluorine, molybdenum, boron, vanadium, tin, titanium, silicon, cobalt, nickel, aluminum, phosphorus and sodium. Udon noodles are quite high-calorie, its energy value is 337 kcal. The protein content is 10.4 grams, fat is 1.1 grams, and carbohydrates is 69.7 grams.
Udon noodles contain a large number of complex carbohydrates. Their use in food improves the cardiovascular system, charges the body with energy and vigor, and helps to get rid of extra pounds. Complex carbohydrates also serve to prevent and treat diabetes. But they are very slowly absorbed by the body, hence their dietary value. Udon noodles, due to the special technology of kneading the dough, are digested quite easily. Due to the fact that this technology allows enzymes to more efficiently break down complex carbohydrates.
Fiber, which is part of the product, contributes to the normalization of intestinal microflora, the removal of dangerous toxins and toxins from the body, and the general strengthening of the body. It also reduces blood cholesterol, thereby preventing the development of atherosclerosis.
The content of large amounts of B vitamins in the noodles makes it an almost natural antidepressant. It positively affects the nervous system, relieves stress and neurosis, perfectly soothes and relaxes.
Harm and hazardous properties
Prepared using the right technology, high-quality udon noodles are made from whole grain wheat flour, which contains gluten protein. You need to remember this for those who do not consume this protein for dietary reasons. This product is also contraindicated for those who are inclined to be overweight or people who are following the figure. It is very high-calorie and its excessive use can lead to obesity. In stores and supermarkets, you can often find cheaper options for such noodles, consisting of flour processed. Such a product does not contain any useful properties, since it is practically devoid of the vitamin component and fiber important for the body. Also, synthetic preservatives can be used for its preparation, from which nothing good can be expected either. And the lack of dietary fiber can lead to a decrease in the performance of the digestive system.
Traditionally, serve udon noodles as a first course. It can be consumed both in hot and in cold form. The color and saturation of the broth is quite different in different regions of Japan. So, for example, in the East it is more saturated, dark in color, since it is cooked with the addition of dark soy sauce. In the West, lighter types of this product are used, which accordingly makes the broth light brown.
Cold udon noodles are especially appreciated in hot and sultry times, as they can quench thirst well. Often it is used as a side dish, which goes well with mushrooms, seafood, vegetables, green onions and ginger.
There are many delicious dishes that are prepared using this delicious noodle. Here are just a few of them:
- kake-udon - traditional hot udon noodle broth chopped with finely chopped green onions;
- tempura-udon - hot udon served with ebi tempura (with shrimp);
- kare-udon - broth udon noodles cooked with curry seasoning;
- yaki-udon - fried udon in the sauce;
- tikara-udon - the so-called force noodles, served with fried rice cakes;
- Wakame-udon - udon served with special dark green wakame seaweed.
From cold dishes, several types can also be distinguished. Dzaru-udon, traditionally seasoned with chopped nori. It is served with wasabi, Japanese chilled sauce or grated ginger on a bamboo tray. As well as kijayu-udon, such noodles are served with soy sauce and citrus juice. Often it is decorated with grated Japanese radish daikon.
Cooking noodles at home
Tasty and healthy udon noodles are obtained from quality products. It is easy and simple to make at home, without spending a lot of effort.
To prepare, you will need:
- wheat flour - 200 grams;
- water - 90 ml;
- salt - 1 teaspoon;
The main thing in the preparation is the exact amount of ingredients. Depending on this, the dough will be either stiffer than necessary, or the noodles will spread, not wanting to take the desired shape.
Dissolve the salt in the right amount of warm water at room temperature. Next you need to add flour and mix everything. Kneading the dough is not necessary yet, it will be enough to roll it into a homogeneous mass. Thus obtained kolobok should be placed in a hermetically sealed bag and remove from it as much as possible air, creating such an artificial vacuum. Leave the dough alone for half an hour.
Traditionally in Japan, it is believed that the dough for making such noodles needs to be kneaded with your feet. At home, this is quite simple. You need to place the bag of dough on a towel and, carefully stepping over, walk on it several times there and back, thus kneading the bun. As soon as it becomes flat - the dough is ready.
After that, you need to get it from the bag and again give a spherical shape. Then place back and knead again. The process should be repeated at least three times. At the end of the procedure, roll the dough again into a bun and leave in the bag for about 3 hours.
Roll out the dough up to three millimeters thick, sprinkle with starch and wrap the edges in the center. Turn seam down and cut into vertical strips with a width of about 3 cm. Expand each strip, sprinkling with starch.
Cook freshly prepared noodles in boiling water for 5-10 minutes. Frozen food should be slightly thawed before cooking so that the noodles do not break in the process.
How to eat and store udon
They eat such noodles, like other Japanese dishes, using chopsticks, but the use of a spoon is also allowed. First you need to bring the bowl closer to your mouth, eat noodles, and then drink the broth. The Japanese never finish it until the end, as it is believed that it is needed only in order to give a specific flavor to tender noodles. They say that in Japan, loud squelching is welcomed. Thus, you supposedly pay tribute to the cook for a deliciously prepared dish.
Freshly prepared udon can be frozen and stored this way for about a month. Ready noodles without freezing should be kept in the refrigerator and consumed within three days from the date of preparation. The most delicious is considered to be just cooked product.
Udon noodles are an original traditional Japanese dish. It is light and nutritious, very well absorbed by the body and contributes to its saturation with energy and vigor. A high-quality natural product made from natural ingredients using whole grain wheat flour contains many useful properties. He is able to beneficially influence the nervous system, helping to fight depression and bad mood, tuning in a good mood, improving performance and vitality. There are many national Japanese dishes that include udon noodles. Each of them has its own distinctive features characteristic of the regions of Japan in which it is prepared. Udon noodles are a very high-calorie dish. It is not recommended to use it for people prone to fullness or practicing a healthy lifestyle. Also, a natural product is rich in a specific protein, gluten, and is not suitable for people who adhere to a gluten-free diet or suffer from intolerance to this protein.