Saturday, October 8, 2011

Bad Idea Friday: Homemade Udon

Every time my father-in-law gets to dictate a menu, he requests homemade ravioli stuffed with osso bucco. He dictates a menu fairly frequently, and I am still at the stage in the daughter-in-law relationship where I sometimes do trial runs of dishes before feeding them to my in-laws. (I'm not totally cowed, I am proud.)

Long story short, fresh egg pasta from scratch is excellent, but it's also a terrible pain to make.

So let's take out all of that irritating protein and fat, and make pasta with flour and water! How could this go wrong?

We invited Gyozilla over for dinner, because he's pretty understanding about catastrophic cooking failures and terribly late meals. We made plans for a takeout based fallback.

Recipe from lafujimama. They probably also have better pictures and instructions.

Mix 4 cups white flour with one tablespoon salt. Add 1 cup water and mix into a shaggy ball. Knead for 3-5 minutes. (If you were making egg noodles, you'd just keep kneading and kneading- for about 10 minutes. If you want to skip the next step- you shouldn't, it's brilliant- just keep kneading for 10-15 minutes. After everything is a smooth shiny ball, just keep kneading and kneading for eternity.)

Put ball of dough into a heavy duty ziploc and seal. Wrap in dishtowel or grocery bags, and stand on it. Squoosh that dough out into the far reaches of the bag. Open the bag, roll the dough into a ball, and repeat- do a total of 4 times.

Oh goodness, you guys, this is delightful! All of us enjoyed squashing dough with our feet, and believe you me, it's like six times more fun than kneading for eternity.

Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes. (You see how they say 3-4 hours in the other place? They weren't hungry. Half an hour is fine.) This is a great time to prepare the things that will be served with the udon. We made wonderful tamago, chopped cucumbers and tomatoes, steamed some sweet potatoes and chicken, pulled some kimchi out of the fridge, and made a peanut sauce.

Now, take out your pasta maker. (Of course you have a pasta maker. It justifies its shelf space each and every Christmas, saint's day, Fathers' day, and C's dad's birthday. If you don't, I'm sure you have a recently married friend who has like five.*) Dust the dough with flour and roll it through the thickest setting. Slice into thick noodles. Boil in ample water until translucent and firm- bite through a noodle to make sure it's cooked in the center. Serve- either in broth, or with all sorts of exciting vegetables and sauces.

*Fine, you don't have a pasta maker. Get a inch thick dowel, about 2-3 feet long. Roll out the dough until it's about 1/8 inch thick, you poor unlucky sod, and then follow the rest of the instructions.

So, how does this stack up as a bad idea? For a recipe where you throw something on the ground and stomp on it, it's pretty good. The udon is not ground shaking. It's pretty good- better than store-bought udon, but not by the order of magnitude that homemade ravioli is better than store-bought ravioli. The dough is much easier to work with. It's worth a try, especially if you don't live two blocks from an excellent noodle house.

1 comment:

  1. This is a bad idea in HI because pretty much any self-respecting local-style eatery serves a decent udon for about $4.