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Udon

The meaning of «udon»

Udon (うどん or 饂飩) is a thick noodle made from wheat flour, used in Japanese cuisine. It is a comfort food for many Japanese people. There is a variety of ways it is prepared and served. Its simplest form is in a hot soup as kake udon with a mild broth called kakejiru made from dashi, soy sauce, and mirin. It is usually topped with thinly chopped scallions. Other common toppings include prawn tempura, kakiage (mixed tempura fritter), abura-age (sweet, deep-fried tofu pouches), kamaboko (sliced fish cake), and shichimi spice added to taste.

Standard broth differs by region. Dark (koikuchi) soy sauce is added in eastern Japan, while light (usukuchi) soy sauce is added in the west. Notably, instant noodles are often sold in two versions accordingly.[citation needed]

More unusual variants include stir-fried yaki udon and curry udon made with Japanese curry. It is often used in "shabu shabu" or Japanese hot pot.

There are many stories explaining the origin of udon.

One story says that in AD 1241, Enni, a Rinzai monk, introduced flour milling technology from Song China to Japan. Floured crops were then made into noodles such as udon, soba, and pancakes in Japan which were eaten by locals. Milling techniques were spread around the country.

Another story states that during the Nara period, a Japanese envoy to Tang Dynasty China was introduced to 14 different kinds of food. One of them was called sakubei (索餅), which was listed as muginawa (牟義縄) in Shinsen Jikyō (新撰字鏡), a dictionary which was published in the Heian Era. The muginawa is believed to be an origin for many kinds of Japanese noodles. However, the muginawa in Shinsen Jikyō was made with wheat and rice flour.

Another story for udon claims that the original name of the noodle was konton, which was made with wheat flour and sweet fillings.[1] Yet another story says that a Buddhist priest called Kūkai introduced udon noodles to Shikoku during the Heian Era.[citation needed] Kūkai, the Buddhist priest, traveled to Tang Dynasty China around the beginning of the 9th century to study. Sanuki Province claimed to have been the first to adopt udon noodles from Kūkai. Hakata province claimed to have produced udon noodles based on Enni's recipe.[citation needed]

Udon noodles are boiled in a pot of hot water. Depending on the type of udon, the way it is served is different as well. Udon noodles are usually served chilled in the summer and hot in the winter. In the Edo period, the thicker wheat noodle was generally called udon, and served with a hot broth called nurumugi (温麦). The chilled variety was called hiyamugi (冷麦).

Cold udon, or udon salad, is usually[citation needed] mixed with egg omelette slices, shredded chicken and fresh vegetables, such as cucumber and radish. Toppings of udon soup are chosen to reflect the seasons[citation needed]. Most toppings are added without much cooking, although deep-fried tempura is sometimes added. Many of these dishes may also be prepared with soba.

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