During a bout of procrastination, I came across this post on Serious Eats  about making udon from an translated-to-English Japanese cookbook classic, Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art  by Shizuo Tsuji. You know this is a classic, since the original forward for it was written by M.F.K. Fisher ! Anyway, the author of the Serious Eats post gets quite excited about the instructions in the recipe (which apparently calls for egg yolks…more about this later) saying to knead the dough until it’s the texture of an earlobe.
Actually, the earlobe (mimitabu 耳たぶ) is used quite commonly in Japanese cooking. What? you say? Well…here’s how.
So…(channelling the original Iron Chef)…next time you’re in the kitchen, remember this: Your earlobe is part of your cooking arsenal!
(About the egg yolk in the noodle dough: The only reason why I can think of to add egg yolk is for the lecithin, which can make the noodles a bit more slippery. But to me, that is not real teuchi udon (handmade udon, 手打ちうどん）: that’s egg noodles, which are…just different. I’m not too unhappy with my current udon recipe and technique , but can’t wait to get my aunt, who is the acknowledged master of teuchi udon, to show me how to make proper, slippery, chewy udon when I go to Japan in a few months.)
[earlobe photo by quinn.anya on flickr .]