All About Korean Food Part Three: Korean Inspired Udon Noodles

Difficulty Level: Sous Chef (intermediate)

Tonight is the opening ceremonies in Pyeonchang! It has been really neat to see all the men and women competing walk out and represent their countries. The fact that North and South Korea are able to go out together in unison is wonderful, and shows hope for all of us. I love the Olympics because so many people come together to represent and celebrate their countries, states, towns, and most of all, themselves. I think everyone can agree that we all admire these men and women who have sacrificed so much to do something they truly love.

This is my final part in the Korean series in honor of the 2018 Winter Olympics held in South Korea. If you missed my last two posts, Korean Tacos and Bulgogi Bibimbap, go check them out!

Okay guys, I’m not going to lie.. this recipe is no cake walk. I almost gave up, almost. But Ryan gave me a little pep talk and told me everything is going to be alright. Remember guys, patience is your friend when it comes to making these udon noodles.

Now I know that udon noodles are actually originated from Japan, but they are so good in Korean cuisine as well. Ryan and I came up with this one night playing around in the kitchen. Basically, we made the Korean Ground Beef Bowls but instead of rice we used udon noodles. You can use ground beef, ground turkey, chopped pork, or tofu. But in this one we are using chopped chicken.

For The Udon Noodles (These Are Make Ahead, They Must Sit For 1.5 Hours)-

  • 5 cups all purpose flour, sifted plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4-1/2 cups water

For The Chicken and Sauce (Make Three Batches Of Sauce- Divided)-

  • 1 pound chicken breasts
  • 4 tablespoons sesame oil- divided (for cooking)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil (for sauce)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • gochujang or Sriracha

For The Udon Noodles

In a large mixing bowl, combined sifted flour and salt. Stir with a whisk to combine. Add 1 1/4 cups water and use your hands to mix until the dough starts to come together in a few large lumps. Firmly press and knead the dough to incorporate all the flour.

Lightly dust your work station with flour. Knead dough, folding and pressing firmly with your palm forcefully until dough looks and feels fairly smooth, about 10 minutes. Form dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1.5 hours.

On a lightly floured surface with enough room, knead the dough again for a few more minutes. Divide dough into 4 equal balls. Dust each ball with flour and cover with plastic wrap until you’re ready to start rolling them out.

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Use a floured rolling pin to roll out the dough, occasionally turning 90 degrees and lightly sprinkle more flour if it tries to stick to the pin until the dough is about 1/8-1/4″ thick. If the dough is too difficult to roll out, wrap back in plastic wrap and allow to sit for another 10 minutes and try again. Set aside and make the three batches of sauce.

Mix together minced garlic, brown sugar, tamari, sesame oil, minced ginger, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Make three batches, each batch in a different bowl. One batch to cook chicken in, one batch to add to cooking chicken, and one for the bowls at the end.

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3 batches of sauce

Chop chicken into small bite sized pieces and season with salt and pepper. Heat a wok over medium heat and add sesame oil and seasoned chicken. Add in one batch of sauce and cook, stirring occasionally. When chicken is almost done cooking and most of the sauce has been soaked up, add another batch of sauce. Let simmer and start cutting the udon noodles.

Fold the rolled dough into thirds, like a letter fold. Slice the dough into approximately 1/8″ thick noodles. Gently separate the noodles and toss them in a little bit more flour to keep them from sticking together. Cook right away.

To Cook Udon Noodles

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare a large bowl of icy water. Add noodles to boiling water, stirring frequently. Add 1/4 cup of fresh water if the pot wants to boil over. Boil until fully cooked but not mushy, unlike Italian noodles, udon noodles should not be al dente, they should be cooked all the way but not mushy.

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Drain noodles and put them in the icy water. Briefly and gently rub the noodles with your hands to remove some of the starch. Drain from the cold water.

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Once udon noodles are cooked, remove the chicken from the wok, sauce and all into a large bowl, Increase wok to high heat, add 2 tablespoons of sesame oil and add the udon noodles, tossing constantly to heat up and add a bit of crisp to them.

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To Serve

In 4 medium bowls, add udon noodles, top with chopped chicken and pour over the last batch of sauce over the top.

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