To go with the simmered mushrooms I made some udon. The frozen noodles I ate the other night were called Sanuki udon. The dried noodles I bought the other day were also labeled Sanuki udon. They were very different from each other. The frozen noodles looked as though they had been rolled out and cut, just like the udon I made. The dried udon appeared to be extruded, like fettucine. Udon noodles are popular all over Japan, and being the pasta lover that I am, I can’t imagine eating too many noodles of any kind.
Another topping on my udon was atsuage, fried tofu or tofu cutlet. Atsuage is made by frying a block of tofu in oil until the outside is golden brown. When it’s cut, atsuage displays its snow-white interior. Fried tofu is a popular ingredient in simmered dishes, because it absorbs and adds flavors to the broth it’s cooked in. Tofu cutlet is also good in stir-fries, because it maintains its texture. Be sure to rinse the atsuage in boiling water before using it: you want to get rid of the excess oil. For my dinner (and lunch yesterday), I stir-fried it with some green pepper and ate the noodles in kakejiru.
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