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4 ounces dried kombu
2 quarts water
1/2 cup dried bonito flakes
1 package bucatini
1 cup ice
4 cups water
2 cups soy sauce
1/2 cup mirin
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons tahini
Wakame seaweed, sliced
Scallions, finely sliced
Nori squares or strips
Mint or shiso, thinly sliced
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Wipe down the kombu with a damp paper towel. Fold into small pieces and drop into a potful of lightly simmering water. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the kombu and discard. Place bonito flakes in a cheesecloth and tie up to seal. Steep the bonito parcel in the kombu liquid for 5 minutes to make the dashi, then discard parcel and cool the broth in the fridge.
Cook bucatini and place in an ice bath when done. This will rinse off the starch and leave the noodles with the same slick consistency as an udon noodle.
Prepare the kaeshi by combining soy sauce, mirin and sugar in a small sauce pot. Bring to a boil and reduce for 2 minutes. Cool.
In a small bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of the cooled dashi with 1 cup of the kaeshi and the tahini. Whisk to combine to make the broth.
To assemble, mound the noodles in the center of your serving bowl. Place the various udon toppings around the noodles. Pour the broth on top of the noodles. Enjoy!
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- This is a cold Japanese udon soup, and I used a secret Italian hack in it. Let me show you. I'm gonna start with our kombu dashi. Dashi is the mother sauce of Japanese cookery and it really only has two ingredients. The first is kelp, kombu. My Japanese friends tell me that the white stuff you gotta just hit it with a wet cloth. You gotta do this. They insist on it. It's all a beautiful part of tradition. Since it's one of two ingredients we're using, it certainly makes sense to have a look over. Dashi is a salty delicious, smokey, simple vegetable stock, more of a broth actually, that takes 15 minutes to cook. We have a gentle simmer on our water here. We want to keep it pretty gentle. How strong your dashi is is obviously directly dependent on how much kelp versus water you have. This is four ounces of kelp with about two quarts of water. So udon noodles. You make them much like you make Italian pasta. You can also buy them dry in the store. But if you can't buy them dry in the store, then find a fat Italian noodle, and you can make it udon-like. There is a secret. I will show it to you. It's essentially the same thing. Check it out. Dashi is the mother sauce of Japanese cooking, and it is kelp and bonito flakes. Bonito flakes, thinly sliced, dried smoked bonito fish. We can create a little satchel, a little bouquet garni, which I think is a great band name. So here comes some bonito, and the idea is we want to be able to pull this out so that we have an elegant liquid and something that's not basically full of dried, shaved, smoked fish flakes. The tea has steeped, if you will. The kelp is now a rubbery, like the stuff that wraps around your foot when you're in the ocean. Check out the color. This is a vegan dashi at this point, and it's really nice. It tastes of the sea, it has very good salinity. So now bonito flakes and more tea steeping. Five minutes to pull that flavor out, that's about it. So here comes our bonito flakes. I can smell the smoky fish smell. Now that's it. Guys, here we have Italian pasta because we couldn't find udon noodles. So you would never ever do this in an Italian recipe what I'm about to do. Ice bath, this stops the cooking of the pasta. It also washes off the starch on the outside of the pasta. You can also right away see the color change a little bit. It becomes a little paler. Use your hands, feel it. If the noodles are hot, no good. When the noodles are cold, like they are now, the ice bath has done exactly what we wanted it to do. One more sauce. So we have the dashi, now we have to make the katachi. The katachi is the super intense flavoring broth or liquid. It's very simple, two cups of soy sauce. Let's see if we can get a vortex, nice. A half cup of mirin, which they let you buy even if you're not 21. A quarter cup of sugar. Bring it to a boil so that the sugar melts. It's also gonna give it a really nice color to our sesame noodles. So we'll bring that up to a boil and in the meantime why don't we start prepping the ingredients that we have. So mint, the Japanese are all about details, so you should be too. Find the most beautiful leaves, and only use the most beautiful ones. Okay, this is gonna give bright herb flavors into the rich, deep broth that we're gonna have. Bowl. Our faux udon noodles, not pho P-H-O, but like faux as in F-A-U-X. I want to like create a division of all the flavors so that as the end user, you can decide what you want to have in each bite. Right here, there's the mint corner, yeah. Tomato, one, two. This is nori, another type of seaweed. Go like that. Here's a wakame seaweed and these come dried as well. Some scallion, just some thin, just do a couple of these. Some scallions right there. We basically need to make what is a dipping sauce but will actually be our broth. So now back to our dashi. The mother sauce of Japanese cooking, the kombu dashi. There it comes. Here is some intense flavor of katachi. Tahini, yeah like the stuff you make hummus with, no joke. Here we have our cold udon. Oh, it smells so nice. It might seem like odd ingredients and a lot of steps, but I implore you to make this. You'll learn a little bit more about Japanese culture. Cold sesame udon soup with readily available ingredients. You can do it. Please do it.