April 23, 2011

Very Substantial Kitsune Udon/とても具沢山のきつねうどん

For supper tonight, I made very substantial kitsune udon.

As you can see from the results of a Google image search for kitsune udon in Japanese, most kitsune udon is much less substantial.

I must add some important notes about kitsune udon:
In Kanto (Eastern Japan), kitsune udon/soba means udon/soba with seasoned abura age in it, and tanuki udon/soba means udon/soba with tiny bits of deep-fried tempura batter (tenkasu or agedama) in it.
At least in Osaka in Kansai (Western Japan), kitsune means udon with seasoned abura age in it, and tanuki means soba with seasoned abura age. In Osaka, many udon shops serve tenkasu free of charge, and there can be no such things as tanuki udon.

To make things even more complicated, in Kyoto in Kansai (Western Japan), tanuki udon is udon with thinly sliced abura age and grated ginger in broth thickened with katakuriko (potato starch), as you can see from here.

In general, soba is preferred in Kanto, while udon is preferred in Kansai. There are, of course, personal preferences, though. Finally, the broth in Kanto is dark-colored due to the use of dark soy sauce (and dried bonito), while it is light-clored in Kansai because of the use of light soy sauce (and kombu).


Sissi said...

I'd better not let my husband see this yummy post! During his quick stay in Japan he has fallen in love with all the noodle soups and dishes served in broth (such as ramen). Now he dreams of those made at home (read: by me, who knows only how to prepare stir-fried noodles).

Hiroyuki said...

Sissi: Making decent ramen is not so difficult as you might think, provided that you can get good ramen noodles. I hope you can get them where you live.

Sissi said...

Hiroyuki, I get many types of Japanese noodles, not sure if they are very good compared to the ones sold in Japan (my favourite are soba and udon, the latter sold in the fridge section of the Japanese grocer shops). I have heard that the broth is the clue...

Hiroyuki said...

Sissi: As for the quality of noodles and broth, let me just say, "Trust your tongue!" Don't be fooled by what people may say or what you read about Japanese food.

For udon/soba broth, start with a 12:1:1 ratio for dashi, soy sauce, and mirin, and adjust the ratio to suit your taste, as I mentioned somewhere in my blog. I know from your blog that you can make decent dashi from scratch, but as for me, I have no problems with instant dashi, no matter what serious home/professional cooks may say. (I would go bankrupt if I made dashi from scratch every morning.)

As for noodles, if you find a certain brand is good, it will be good enough for you. It's obvious that you will have better options in Japan, but what does it mean to you? I hope you can make decent, satisfactory udon where you live!

Sissi said...

Thank you, Hiroyuki, for all the advice. It's strange, but I think instant dashi costs me much more in Switzerland than making my own dashi, I must count. I suppose if I needed to make dashi every day, I wouldn't have time nor patience (I don't need it every day). I must admit I make a bigger batch for two or three days of both primary and secondary dashi and put those into the fridge. I suppose the professionals and perfectionists (I think about Osen....) wouldn't approve of my fridge method at all ;-)