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Curry Udon Noodles

First-time travelers to Japan are commonly surprised by the popularity of curry. Curry was introduced to Japan by European chefs at the beginning of the twentieth century, which explains curry’s similarity to goulash.

Chef’s Notes:

  • Udon noodles are thick white noodles made from wheat flour, water, and salt that have a unique slippery texture and are an integral component of Japanese cookery. Available fresh, dried, or parcooked, udon noodles are commonly served with a hot broth. During the hot summer months, chilled versions with various flavorings are very popular. As with other noodle dishes, in Japan it is a sign of good table manners to slurp the udon noodles while eating them.
  • Even the most accomplished chefs use commercial Japanese curry paste, essentially a curry-flavored roux, to prepare this dish.

These and other great recipes are from The Culinary Institute of America's cookbook, STREET FOODS.

Curry udon noodles recipe by The Culinary Institute of America

Ingredients

Makes 8 Servings

  • 1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 lb chicken breast, very thinly sliced
  • 1 lb turnip, julienned
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Salt, as needed
  • 2 1/2 qt water
  • 3 oz Japanese curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce, not low-sodium
  • 1 lb napa cabbage
  • 2 lb dried udon noodles
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 2 cups radish sprouts, optional

Directions

Curry Sauce

  1. In a pan over medium heat, sweat the onions in the vegetable oil until tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and continue to sweat until aromatic, 10 to 20 seconds. Add the chicken breast and cook, turning as necessary, until opaque. Add the turnip and continue to cook over medium heat until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the sugar and adjust the seasoning with salt. Remove the mixture from the pan and reserve.
  2. Add the water to the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer, and add the Japanese curry paste and simmer until the curry paste is fully dispersed and the sauce is slightly thick, about 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce, the cooked chicken mixture, and the cabbage to the curry sauce and simmer until the cabbage is slightly tender, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. In a pot over high heat, cook the noodles in 2 gal/7.57 L of well-salted boiling water until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Rinse with hot water, toss with the green onions, and divide into 8 Asian noodle bowls.
  4. Top each bowl of noodles with the curry sauce and mix gently to combine. Garnish each bowl with radish sprouts, if using.

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