Homemade udon noodles in dashi

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  • medium
  • 4
  • 1 hour 20 minutes
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Japanese udon noodles are bouncy, slippery, delicious things, and taking the time to make them from scratch at home offers something far, far superior to the ready-made stuff in shops. Chef (and udon specialist) Shuko Oda shares her own recipe for traditional udon noodles, served in a simple homemade dashi broth.

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First published in 2020





  • 540g of strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 60g of tapioca flour
  • 300ml of water
  • 38g of salt



The day before you plan to serve, soak the dried kombu in the water and place in the fridge overnight to infuse
The next day, remove the kombu and bring the water to the boil. Add the bonito, turn off the heat and then strain the dashi into a clean pan. Cover and set aside in the fridge while you make the udon
  • 15g of bonito flakes
To make the udon, combine the water and salt and mix until completely dissolved. The amount of salt listed here is a good starting point, but you can play around with the amount – the more salt, the tougher the dough is, and as a general rule you increase the amount of salt in the summer and decrease it in the winter
  • 300ml of water
  • 38g of salt
Place the flours into a large bowl, then hold your fingers down separately to imitate a few sets of chopsticks and mix the flour for a few minutes by swirling your ‘chopsticks’ around
  • 540g of strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 60g of tapioca flour
Gradually pour in around a quarter of the water as you mix the flour with your fingers. The flour should become moist as you do this but not stick together or form a dough
Continue to add the water as you mix, making sure the flour is mixed throughout and maintains a damp sandy texture rather than a lumpy dough. If an area of the flour sticks together, try to loosen it by mixing that bit in particular with your finger ‘chopsticks’ before adding more water. Note that in the summer you might need less water and in the winter a bit more, as the heat makes the dough softer
Press together the dough and fold (without kneading) to form a ball, making sure you pick up any bits of dough that have stuck to the bowl as well. Place the dough in a large, sealable plastic bag
Flatten the dough with your feet until it is large enough to stand on, then step back and forth, changing the angle from time to time, for 5 minutes
Take the dough out of the bag, roll it up into a cylinder, then place it back in the bag and rest it in the fridge for 30 minutes
Repeat the stepping, rolling and resting process twice more, then step on the dough one more time to flatten it into an oval shape. Place the dough onto a clean work surface
Fold the edges of the dough into the centre, then continue to knead the dough in this way to eventually form a ball with a concentrated fold at the centre (like a belly button). Roughly seal the belly button with your fingers, place the dough in the plastic bag smooth-side up and rest for about 1 hour in the summer or a few hours in the winter. This helps to mature the dough and give it extra bounce and chew
Step on the dough once more until it is about 1cm thick, then lightly flour a work surface and roll the dough a few times in each direction to even it out. Wrap the dough around the rolling pin, then apply pressure to it to make it thinner, around 2-3mm
Scatter more flour over the dough and fold the top third down and the bottom third up. Dust with more flour and cut the folded dough into 3mm ribbons. Grab the noodles and give them a good shake to loosen each individual ribbon
Bring a large pan (as big as you have) of water to the boil and cook the udon noodles for 10-15 minutes. There’s a high chance that the pot will overflow, so have a jug of cold water ready for when this happens
While the noodles cook, finish the dashi. Place the mirin in the microwave and cook for 1 minute to burn off the alcohol
  • 12g of mirin
Mix the sugar into the mirin, then pour this mixture into the dashi along with the soy sauce and half the amount of salt. Gently bring the dashi to a simmer
Once the noodles are cooked, drain and wash or rinse in cold water until completely cold. At this point they can be served cold, or reheated by blanching in boiling water for 1 minute
Once the dashi is almost boiling, taste and see if you want to add the remaining salt
To serve, divide the blanched noodles between 4 bowls and pour the hot dashi over the top. Scatter with the spring onions and serve
First published in 2020

Shuko Oda spent much of her life living between Japan and the UK, making her the perfect person to combine traditional Japanese cooking and seasonal British ingredients at Koya – one of Soho’s most cherished restaurants.

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