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Bento Recipes: Homemade udon noodles


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Why spend a dollar or two on a package of dry noodles when you can spend a few hours making your own? Um... well, you can cut homemade noodles into neat shapes. And you can add food coloring to them. And, making your own noodles is hardcore.

Irregular noodlesWhat you'll need:

    2 cups of sifted all-purpose flour
    2/3 cup water
    1 tbsp salt

Dissolve the salt in the water, then mix this into the flour. Keep mixing until the doughball has absorbed all the flour. Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth, then pound it 100+ times with your fist to hammer out all air bubbles. (Pound it more if you feel like it; this can be therapeutic.) Then put it back in the mixing bowl, cover the top with a moistened paper towel, and let it sit for two hours.

Generously flour a large working surface, then roll the dough out to about 1/8 inch thickness. (During this process make sure the dough remains well-floured. You don't want it to stick to the working surface!) Flour the top well, then fold the upper third down over the center. Flour the folded-over surface well, then fold the bottom third up. Flour this too. Now, with a sharp knife, cut this roll into 1/8" segments starting at one end, and separate the noodles by hand.

Boil a decent sized pot of water to a boil. Put the noodles in. Let them cook for 7-12 minutes - less for fine noodles, more for thick ones. Test by taking out a noodle and cutting it open. If the center is white as opposed to raw-flour gray, it's done. Do not overcook or they will become mushy! Next, drain and rinse the noodles very well with cold water to wash off the starch. The noodles are now ready to cook in yakiudon or freeze. If you're cooking them in soup - or, come to think of it, pretty much any recipe - just pick up in your recipe after the point that the noodles are boiled to softness.

Fun variations I've tried include thicker noodles, inspired by jjol myun (Korean chewy noodles) and specially-shaped noodles cut out with a vegetable cutter.