Dinner/ Lunch/ Recipes

Shikoku Mountain-Style Udon Noodles

A foot-crafted recipe of delectable noodles from the Udon Master in Shikoku, Japan. Slurp yourself happy with these Shikoku Mountain-Style Udon Noodles, an irresistibly moreish delight for lunch or dinner.

Shikoku Mountain-Style Udon Noodles - A foot-crafted recipe of delectable noodles from the Udon Master in Shikoku, Japan. Slurp yourself happy with this moreish dinner delight. | wandercooks.com

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To this day, one of our favourite cooking travel memories was of the time we headed deep into the mountains of Shikoku, Japan, to learn the fine art of making Japanese udon noodles with our feet.

Yep. You read that right.

Made by hand feet and cooked in a massive pot over a rustic wood-fired stove, they were the best, chewiest, most deliciously satisfying and flavour soaked udon noodles we’ve EVER eaten.

Shikoku Mountain-Style Udon Noodles - A foot-crafted recipe of delectable noodles from the Udon Master in Shikoku, Japan. Slurp yourself happy with this moreish dinner delight. | wandercooks.com

 

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Which is not too bad really, considering it was our first attempt at making udon noodles from scratch.

But it definitely helped having the village’s very own udon master on hand to teach us how.

Stepping inside the cosy udon cooking shed, the master launched straight into his lesson with a quick introduction to the recipe – both of which were completely in Japanese.

We quickly realised that he knew no English and we would have to rely on our limited Japanese skills (and a few useful hand gestures) to turn the simple ingredients of flour, water and salt into noodle-y goodness.

Shikoku Mountain-Style Udon Noodles - A foot-crafted recipe of delectable noodles from the Udon Master in Shikoku, Japan. Slurp yourself happy with this moreish dinner delight. | wandercooks.com

Quickly donning aprons and super stylish bandanas, we followed along as the flour and water were measured out into large bowls.

Doing our best to copy the master’s technique, we used our hands to mix the ingredients, first into thin fluffy strips and then into a rough ball shape.

Shikoku Mountain-Style Udon Noodles - A foot-crafted recipe of delectable noodles from the Udon Master in Shikoku, Japan. Slurp yourself happy with this moreish dinner delight. | wandercooks.com

That’s when the fun part came in.

Popping our little balls of dough between sheets of thick plastic, the master motioned to us to jump up and knead the balls with our feet!

We looked at each other, quickly confirmed we’d both understood that instruction correctly, then jumped up and got stomping.

We couldn’t argue though – this unusual and completely unexpected technique was super effective.  Squishing the dough under our feet helped it become smooth and perfectly kneaded.

Plus it was much faster (and way more fun) than using our hands.

Shikoku Mountain-Style Udon Noodles - A foot-crafted recipe of delectable noodles from the Udon Master in Shikoku, Japan. Slurp yourself happy with this moreish dinner delight. | wandercooks.com

After that, it wasn’t just the dough balls that needed a little rest. While the dough took a break in a warm place for 30 minutes (the most convenient warm place being under a Japanese kotatsu table), we chatted chat with the master and his wife (as best as we could) over a cup of  hot Japanese matcha green tea.

It was a long 30 minutes…

Shikoku Mountain-Style Udon Noodles - A foot-crafted recipe of delectable noodles from the Udon Master in Shikoku, Japan. Slurp yourself happy with this moreish dinner delight. | wandercooks.com

Finally it was time to transform our cute little dough balls into traditional Japanese udon noodles.

To do this we pressed them out into rough circles before rolling them into thin sheets using long rolling pins. Lots of cornflour was thrown on top, then the sheets were wrapped around the rolling pins and rolled out even further.

This was another handy technique we had never used before, but worked perfectly to make the dough as thin and even as possible.

Shikoku Mountain-Style Udon Noodles - A foot-crafted recipe of delectable noodles from the Udon Master in Shikoku, Japan. Slurp yourself happy with this moreish dinner delight. | wandercooks.com

One at a time our sheets of dough were carefully laid out onto a long chopping board before being chopped into thin strips using a handy spring-loaded cleaver. At home, the easiest way to achieve this would be with a pasta machine.

Afterwards we gathered the noodles into our hands and gently pulled them apart to help separate them properly, then dropped them straight into steaming hot water to cook.

Shikoku Mountain-Style Udon Noodles - A foot-crafted recipe of delectable noodles from the Udon Master in Shikoku, Japan. Slurp yourself happy with this moreish dinner delight. | wandercooks.com

Before long the noodles were ready to be eaten, ladled out into huge bowls along with a raw egg each – a challenge at the time, but one we’ve learned to gladly embrace after our wandering adventures.

A ladle full of dashi, a splash of udon shoyu (soy sauce), some sliced spring onion, a sprinkle of ground sesame seeds and our Shikoku Mountain-Style Udon Noodles were complete.

If you’re like us and can’t get enough of udon noodles, then check out our udon noodles from the Japanese Water Temple.

Shikoku Mountain-Style Udon Noodles - A foot-crafted recipe of delectable noodles from the Udon Master in Shikoku, Japan. Slurp yourself happy with this moreish dinner delight. | wandercooks.com

Shikoku Mountain-Style Udon Noodles - A foot-crafted recipes of delectable noodles from the Udon Master in Shikoku, Japan. Slurp yourself happy with this moreish dinner delight. | wandercooks.com
5 from 5 votes
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Shikoku Mountain-Style Udon Noodles

A foot-crafted recipe of delectable noodles from the Udon Master in Shikoku, Japan. Slurp yourself happy with these Shikoku Mountain-Style Udon Noodles, a moreish delight for lunch or dinner.
Recipe Type Dinner
Cuisine Japanese
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Author Wandercooks

Ingredients

  • 400 g flour
  • 200 ml iced water
  • 20 g salt
  • cornflour

Optional Toppings

  • Consider topping your noodles with the following ingredients for extra flavour:
  • dashi stock
  • chopped spring onion
  • raw egg
  • bonito flakes
  • ground sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Place the flour in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Mix salt into water and stir until dissolved. Pour over flour, reserving about 30 ml of the liquid.
  3. Using you <g class="gr_ gr_130 gr-alert gr_spell gr_run_anim ContextualSpelling ins-del" id="130" data-gr-id="130">finger tips</g> only, in the shape of claws, mix the flour and water together until they bind into fluffy strips.
  4. Add remaining liquid knead with the thumbs and palms of your hands, gradually forming a rough ball shape.
  5. Place the dough ball between two thick sheets of plastic and spread out using your feet. When it becomes approximately 20 cm wide, hop off and fold the dough over itself four times (like closing the lid of a cardboard box), replace the plastic, and spread again with your feet.
  6. Remove from plastic and fold up into clam shape. Press edges into <g class="gr_ gr_141 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_run_anim Grammar only-ins replaceWithoutSep" id="141" data-gr-id="141">centre</g> of the ball removing as much air as possible. Place into a plastic airtight bag and rest in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove from <g class="gr_ gr_144 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_run_anim Grammar only-ins doubleReplace replaceWithoutSep" id="144" data-gr-id="144">plastic</g> bag onto floured surface and press dough into a flat circle with the palms of your hands. Dust liberally with cornflour and roll out using a rolling pin until 1 cm thick.
  8. Roll the dough sheet around the rolling pin and continue to roll over itself, pressing forward four times to thin out the dough. Repeat this process rolling twice from top to bottom and then left to right.
  9. Lay out the sheet of dough onto a cutting surface. Add plenty of cornflour and fold the dough into a <g class="gr_ gr_140 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_run_anim Grammar multiReplace" id="140" data-gr-id="140">rough</g> rectangular shape.
  10. Slice the dough into 1/2 cm strips.
  11. Unfold the noodles and gather in small sections into your hands and tap a few times against the cutting surface to remove excess cornflour. Gently pull apart each strip into separate noodles.
  12. Boil in hot water for approximately 10 minutes until cooked through.

Notes

To make this recipe vegan and <g class="gr_ gr_133 gr-alert gr_spell gr_run_anim ContextualSpelling multiReplace" id="133" data-gr-id="133">vegetarian friendly</g>, omit the raw egg and bonito flakes and use vegetarian kombu dashi stock.

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  • Shihoko
    05/05/2016 at 10:09 am

    I think this is the best and easiest way to make delicious home made Udon noodles <3 I am going to share this on my social media accounts 😀 If it is in Shikoku, it may be Sanuki Udon? You proved that food is the best way to communicate 😀

    • Wandercooks
      05/05/2016 at 3:19 pm

      Oh yes I think you’re right! It definitely had the square shape and flat edges of Sanuki Udon, which we much prefer to the rounded shape. Not sure why, but I think it’s slightly chewier, or at least a much more satisfying texture, especially when served hot! How do you like to eat udon noodles?

  • Regina
    28/04/2016 at 11:46 pm

    OMG… noodles made by foot? How awesome is is that! This is my first visit to your site, but I’ll have to keep coming back. Anything combining travel and food instantly piques my interest 😀

    • Wandercooks
      29/04/2016 at 8:03 am

      Yay thanks for stopping by Regina, hope you enjoy! Of course now we must ask: What’s your favourite cuisine?

      • Regina
        01/05/2016 at 3:12 am

        Oh boy, that a tough one. It depends on my mood a little. Having just spent 8 months in Thailand, I am a sucker for al things Thai food. But when I need comfort, it’s the Slavic/Eastern European food my mom cooked.

        • Wandercooks
          02/05/2016 at 9:09 am

          It’s definitely a touch choice! Especially with so much delicious food everywhere you look! 😀 Thai food is totally delicious but we miss Eastern European food so much and had a ball eating our way through so many countries there. Albania and Bulgaria were probably our top favourites (but again, so hard to choose!). 😀

  • Valentina
    28/04/2016 at 11:01 pm

    Oh what I would do to be in the mountains of Japan making these noodles! What an amazing experience (& how delicious)!

    • Wandercooks
      29/04/2016 at 8:02 am

      It’s definitely an amazing experience – thoroughly recommend! Such a beautiful region of Japan and filled with wonderful people. (And amazing food – of course!)

  • Annie @ Annie's Noms
    28/04/2016 at 10:25 pm

    Oh my gosh, I’ve always wanted to make my own noodles; it looks like the most amazing experience! These noodles look amazing!

    • Wandercooks
      29/04/2016 at 7:57 am

      It’s super fun and definitely cause for a few laughs haha. But the foot technique definitely works, and at the end you get to eat the freshest, tastiest noodles ever. What’s not to love? 😛

  • Christie
    28/04/2016 at 9:39 pm

    What an amazing time. This is what I love about traveling. This would definitely be on my some day list.

    • Wandercooks
      29/04/2016 at 7:54 am

      Oh definitely, us too! Plus it’s amazing how food and cooking can bring people together the way nothing else can. (But for even more fun, definitely try cooking with your feet hahaha.)

  • Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy
    28/04/2016 at 7:21 pm

    You just can’t beat a big bowl of noodles like this. It is so comforting and always makes me feel better.

    • Wandercooks
      28/04/2016 at 7:52 pm

      100% AGREE! We need more of this in our lives!!

  • Sarah
    28/04/2016 at 6:26 pm

    LOVE your photos! So Happy I came across your site, I’m going to Vietnam in 2 weeks for the first time!

    • Wandercooks
      28/04/2016 at 7:51 pm

      Thanks Sarah! So jealous, we’re in love with Vietnam and would go back in a heartbeat. Be sure to eat as much street food as you can, including Com Tam (Pork Rice), Beef Pho and as many Ca Phe Su’a Da (Vietnamese Iced Coffee) as you can possibly fit in!

  • Genie
    08/05/2015 at 6:11 am

    What an amazing culinary travel experience. Love your photos. Such a beautiful landscape, noodle making looks very therapeutic in such a place. I don’t think I would ever want to leave there.

    • Wandercooks
      09/05/2015 at 9:01 am

      Thanks Genie, it is a lovely place. If you ever go the area is called Miyoshi, Shikoku, Japan.

  • Bec
    30/04/2015 at 7:33 pm

    What a wonderful experience. I am now craving some steamy udon noodles and a delicious tea! Bec x

    • Wandercooks
      30/04/2015 at 7:36 pm

      Thanks Bec, glad you enjoyed. Highly recommend you enjoy a bowl with friends! 🙂

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