Remember the junkie somen (Japanese vermicelli) that I bought recently? Well, I figured out that it wasn't the somen, it was me. I didn't have the water at a rolling boil when I cooked it the last time. These noodles are a bit thicker than the somen that I am used to and seem more like udon (wheat noodle).
For lunch yesterday, I made kitsune udon(actually somen). Kitsune means fox. The reason this dish is called kitsune udon is that an old legend once said that foxes love to eat aburage (fried tofu). Plus, kitsune-iro is also a brown, amber color that you look for when cooking things, I guess "it should be as brown as a fox"? Kitsune udon is one of the top 3 food items that should be eaten when visiting Osaka, in order, #1 takoyaki, #2 okonomiyaki and #3 kitsune udon.
I bought a piece of aburage. It comes thin or thick, cut or uncut. I bought the thin and uncut.
Cut the piece of aburage into triangles, it is up to you as to the size. The piece I bought was about 8 inches long, so I made it into 4 triangles.
Then run hot water over the pieces. This is to get rid of the oil coating on the aburage.
Put the aburage into a pot that all the pieces will be able to lay flat in. (If you don't have a pot large enough, you'll have to turn the pieces around every so often.)
Add 1.5 tablespoons of shoyu (soy sauce) and 7 or 8 tablespoons of mirin (sweet rice wine).
Bring the mixture with the aburage, up to a boil and put an oshibuta (drop lid) on top. (If you don't have a drop lid, you can make one with foil--make it a little smaller than the diameter of the pot and put two holes in the middle, it should kind of look like a pig's snout.)
Turn down the heat to simmer for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, the sauce should have reduced quite a bit and should kind of be thick, like caramel. And the aburage will be a little plump, this is because it soaked in a lot of the sauce.
Cook your udon according to the package. Rinse the udon after cooking.
Get your tsuyu (soup) ready. I used a pre-made concentrated one that needed to be diluted with water. The pre-made stuff can be a bit on the salty side, but it is easy to use. You can dilute it with cold water for cool noodle dishes and hot/warm water for warm noodle dishes.
Add your cooked udon, and aburage, chopped green onions and some shichimi (Japanese 7-pepper spice) to the tsuyu.
Lunch is served!
p.s. If you have leftover aburage, you can keep it for a couple of days in the refrig to make kitsune udon again, just zap to heat it or warm it up in your soup before serving. You can also make this dish with soba (buckwheat noodles) instead of udon, which would then make it kitsune soba.