We hear that Hippari Udon, a local noodle dish in Yamagata Prefecture, started out as a simple dish made from preserved dried noodles, canned mackerel, and homemade natto during the harsh winter months. We often make this because it is very tasty and contains many good things for your body. “Tasty”, “good for your body”, and “quick to make”, that’s what you get with this dish, Hippari Udon! Enjoy pulling the hot and nutritious udon noodles.
First, let's prepare Kirigoma, chopped sesame seeds. Put the sesame seeds in a small pan and turn on the burner.
Toast the sesame over low heat while swirling the pan. Be careful not to burn them. When the sesame seeds feel hot to the touch, turn off the heat.
Then, place them onto a cutting board covered with a paper towel. Chop the sesame slowly and carefully with a kitchen knife.
If you chop too quickly, the sesame seeds will scatter everywhere. Sesame seeds are not digested and absorbed as they are, so be sure to chop them thoroughly.
Now, you are able to smell the delicious aroma of sesame in the air. The chopped sesame seeds are also known as Kirigoma, and they are often served with noodles as a condiment.
Let's prepare the white part of the long green onion also known as Naganegi. Trim off the root end and halve the long onion lengthwise.
Then, slice them thinly using diagonal cuts. The thinner the slices, the easier it is to remove the pungency.
Soak the onion in ice water for about 15 minutes. Soaking in cold water will dissolve the pungent components in the water and soften the pungency.
Remove the mesh strainer and tap it on a kitchen cloth multiple times to remove the excess water. In this way, most of the excess moisture can be removed without losing the shape of the slices.
Remove the remaining moisture by covering the onion with a paper towel. Now, you have delicious-looking long onion slices. Depending on the type of long onion, it may be difficult to remove the pungency so adjust the amount to your liking.
Loosely arrange the slices in a bowl.
Here are some other seasonings, grated ginger root, Katsuobushi also known as bonito flakes, packaged shredded nori seaweed, and finely chopped spring onion leaves. You can also add the egg yolk to taste.
Now, let's make Hippari Udon. Place the dried udon noodles into a generous amount of boiling water, spreading the noodles out.
Swirl the noodles with kitchen chopsticks to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Let's make the dipping sauce while cooking the udon. Open the can of boiled mackerel. If you don't use the mackerel all at once, you should store it in another container.
Transfer about half of the mackerel along with its broth. The broth from the mackerel is full of nutrition so you should use up all of it.
Add plenty of grated ginger to the mackerel and mix lightly. The refreshing aroma and pungent flavor of the ginger will soften any unwanted smells of the mackerel.
As for the udon, the instructions say to boil for 10 minutes but boil these for 6 to 7 minutes instead. The noodles are thinner than regular udon, and they are eaten hot without soaking in cold water, so cook them for a shorter time.
Next, add one pack of natto, fermented soybeans to the mackerel. You can also use finely chopped natto called "Hikiwari Natto" if you prefer.
Add the dried bonito flakes, shredded nori seaweed, long onion slices, and spring onion leaves.
Sprinkle the chopped sesame seeds on top. It is best to add plenty of these toppings, enough to cover the mackerel and natto.
Separate the egg yolk from the egg white with a spoon and add the egg yolk to taste. Finally, pour over about half a tablespoonful of the dashi-soy sauce we made in the previous tofu bowl recipe.
Now, the udon is about time to be ready. Add your favorite type of greens. This time, we used Japanese seri parsley. Adding the greens further improves the nutritional balance. Give it a stir, and turn off the heat.
Transfer the udon noodles to an earthenware pot or heavy pot to keep it warm.
Let's mix the dipping sauce together. Since the boiled mackerel also contains salt, use a relatively small amount of dashi soy sauce at first. You can also use mentsuyu or soy sauce diluted with a little water.
Now, pull out some of the udon noodles.
Place them into the dipping sauce and toss to coat with the condiments.
As you enjoy the udon, you'll have less toppings and the taste will become bland. You can add more toppings or dashi soy sauce as needed.
Hippari means "pulling" in Japanese, and it is said that the name "Hippari Udon" comes from the fact that everyone pulls the udon out of the pot together, and also the strings appear when you lift the natto.
The natto in the dipping sauce makes a loud sound. This is the kind of food you eat in this manner like soba noodles, so don't worry about the sound and enjoy.
For more information on how to make dashi soy sauce, please see our Tofu Don recipe.