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Inaniwa Handmade Udon Noodles $9.95

Once given as gifts to samurais, inaniwa is a particularly thin type of udon noodle, which are usually quite thick. They hail from the Akita Prefecture and are made with a recipe that dates back to 1665.


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These can be enjoyed hot or cold—simply boil for three minutes and run under cold water for 10 seconds to stop the cooking process. Kake udon (simple warm noodles) simply requires the boiled udon and a simple sauce: boil water and mentsuyu together in a pan, using two parts water to one part mentsuyu. Pour the liquid into a bowl, plop in the noodles and garnish with scallions and shichimi pepper. We also love them in a simple stir fry or tossed with peanut sauce and sesame.

Udon Noodle Soup with Pork and Spinach In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon each white miso and soy sauce. Cut one 1-pound pork tenderloin (trimmed of silver skin) in half lengthwise, then slice each half crosswise about ¼ inch thick. Add the pork to the bowl and stir. In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add 4 ounces dried udon noodles and cook until tender. Drain, rinse under lukewarm water, drain again, then divide among 4 serving bowls. In the same pot, bring 1½ quarts low-sodium chicken broth to a boil over medium-high. In a small bowl, whisk 3 tablespoons white miso with 2 tablespoons of the broth. Add the mixture to the pot along with 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger. Reduce to medium and simmer gently for 10 minutes, then bring to a boil over medium-high. Add the pork and cook, stirring, until for 2 minutes. Off heat, stir in 8 ounces baby spinach and 3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar. Ladle the soup over the noodles, then sprinkle with 6 scallions (thinly sliced).

Kitchen Notes

Because Inaniwa udon is a thinner noodle, it cooks much faster, so you’ll want to be careful when making them. If you don’t use enough water or boil the noodles too long, they will lose their soft texture. To make them perfect, start with boiling 3 liters of water per one serving of udon (about 100g). Once the water is boiling, add the noodles to the pot and use chopsticks to spread them around, so they don’t stick to each other. You want the noodles to be separated enough to look as though they are constantly “dancing” in the pot. Also, dipping them rather than leaving them sitting in a sauce keeps the noodles from getting too soft.

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