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Yakiudon with Pickled Ginger
This Japanese stir-fried noodle dish is largely about the chew, which comes from hearty wheat udon noodles. We got the dense chewiness we wanted by using the Italian technique of cooking until al dente—still quite firm. Japanese noodles often are rinsed after cooking, and chilling helps prevent them from turning soggy. We streamlined the process by adding ice to the strainer as we rinsed the udon under cold running water. Fresh udon is sold frozen, refrigerated and in shelf-stable packages, but for this recipe we used dried noodles, which are more widely available. The sharp bite of pickled ginger complements the salty, savory noodles. If you’re not up to making your own, look for jars of it in the grocery store’s Asian section. Also in that section: shichimi togarashi, a Japanese spice blend for sprinkling on at the table to add a little heat.
ounces dried udon noodles
tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
01In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add the udon, stir well and cook until al dente. Drain the noodles, then add 2 cups of ice to the strainer. Continue running under cool water, tossing, until the noodles are chilled. Drain well, then transfer to a large bowl. Toss with 2 teaspoons of the oil, then set aside.
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I've made this about 4-5 times now and it's quickly become one of my favourite meals! Great with added protein (I like tofu, but ground pork or a fried egg is also nice), and vegetable substitutions have worked out well if you know how long to fry them. If you can't get your hands on togarashi, adding a bit of spice to the finished product helps with balance.
I made this for me and my wife, so I reduced the noodles by half. Otherwise, I followed the recipe as written. It was great! Will definitely make this again.