These fat noodles are fun to eat (especially when slurped up in soup), but they’re also a lighter option for noodle-lovers seeking to get their fix. Their secret is in how simple their ingredients list is: Made up of just kneaded wheat flour, salt, and water, they can also be created using brown rice flour for those who are gluten-intolerant. In fact, nowadays you can also find some varieties made out of whole-grain flour, making them a tasty way of getting in some complex carbohydrates. Their health benefits will vary depending on which type of wheat they’re created with, but thanks to its very small ingredients list, they are very easy to digest. They’re also typically a low-calorie and low-fat option (there is no added fat in these noodles), making them an easy choice for those seeking to watch their waistlines by keeping the calorie count lower while still feeling filled up on something distinctly satisfying to chew on. They also have a relatively decent fibre content, which aids in digestion and weight loss.
How do you use it?
One of the best things about udon noodles is, undeniably, their texture: Thick and chewy, they’re just fun to eat and really enjoyable to munch on. They’re also excellent used in a variety of ways: Serve them in a bowl of noodle soup (whether that’s a simple miso or broth base, or one that’s laden with other delicious ingredients from fish cakes to mushrooms), or as an Asian-inspired stir-fry. They are just as tasty hot or cold, and the latter can be served plain with a dipping sauce, such as miso, soy, chilli, or sesame. Their extremely mild flavour and delicate-yet-firm texture holds up well to both simple tastes such as broth or miso and “dashi” soups, as well as stronger flavours such as curry. Bonus: They also cook extremely quickly, which makes them a super-easy meal option for busy weeknights.
The recipe for udon-style noodles was said to have first been adapted from one provided by a Buddhist monk back in the 9th century, and while they are now often sold as a “cheap and cheerful” meal item, back in the day (and in many places in Asia today) they were and are still considered a luxury. This is because of the craftsmanship and skill required to make noodles by hand, which is considered by many to be an art – and one that is often passed down from generation to generation by a noodle “shifu” or master. In some places in Asia, such as in Japan, it is a sign of enjoyment to slurp your noodles in as loudly as possible, to show how delicious you find them.