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By Request

By Betty Shimabukuro

Wednesday, March 7, 2001



By Dean Sensui, Star-Bulletin
In 1996 then 3-year-old Kayla Fukuda's enjoyment of
homemade saimin noodles and broth was very apparent.



Slurp up from-
scratch saimin

No matter how many convenience foods the world gives us, there will still be people who want to do things from scratch.

Saimin seems to be a magnet for that type of hands-on cook. When the first request for a recipe for saimin noodles was mailed here, the response was -- "Why? Got S&S at the supermarket."

But then came a request for the broth, and then the noodles and the broth ... every few months a new request. This has gone on for six months or so, the last request coming from Larry and Helen Draper of Mount Vernon, Wash., who badly want to eat saimin -- and instant ramen won't cut it.

As it happens, recipes for both noodles and broth were printed in this space in 1996 and I've been mailing them to all those who asked. But given the level of interest, it seemed a repeat printing was justified.

The noodle recipe came courtesy of Fusayo Tokunaga, who learned from her mother-in-law and continued the noodle-making tradition with her family each New Year's.

Saimin Noodles

5 pounds bleached all-purpose flour, such as Gold Medal
3 to 6 eggs
1 tablespoon salt
3 to 3-1/2 cups water
1/4 cup lye water (available in supermarkets and Asian stores)
Optional condiments: sliced kamaboko, sliced char siu, dried or butterflied fresh shrimp

Pour flour in large mixing bowl; make a well in the middle.

In a separate container, beat together eggs, water, salt and lye water. Pour liquid mixture slowly into flour well, mixing with a chopstick.

Then, use hands to fold dough together; knead well, about 5 minutes. If using fewer eggs or if dough is crumbly, add a little more water.

Pack dough tightly into a large bowl, cover with a damp cloth and let rest 30 minutes to 2 hours, if possible, in a cool place.

Cut dough into 4 long slabs. Work with one slab at a time; leave remaining slabs covered with damp cloth.

Use a rolling pin to flatten a slab until it can pass through the flat rollers of a noodle-making machine.

Dust noodle-making machine with a little cornstarch periodically to prevent dough from sticking to machine. (If you've added too much water to dough, dough will be hard to handle and you'll need to dust machine with lots of cornstarch.)

Pass the dough through flat rollers 4 times, each time folding the slab in half to "mix" the dough and improve its texture.

Dust dough slab with cornstarch before cutting, either by machine or by hand. Then, pass dough through noodle-cutting rollers; slice emerging strands into 10- to 12-inch lengths.

Wind noodles into fist-size bundles. Place in a pan, ready for boiling; or wrap individual bundles in plastic wrap or plastic bags for storage in refrigerator or freezer.

To cook, have three pots ready -- 1 for cooking saimin noodles; 1 for simmering soup broth; and 1 for rinsing noodles (latter is an optional step for clearer broth).

Cook 1 serving of saimin noodles at a time.

Rinse cornstarch off noodles just before cooking.

Boil individual fist-size bundle in water that has come to a rolling boil. Cook noodles 1 to 3 minutes, depending on desired texture (cook less for firm, chewy noodles).

When done, freshly made noodles will rise to the top of the boiling water; frozen or 2- or 3-day-old noodles will take a little longer to rise, about 3 minutes.

Strain noodles, and rinse with hot water, if desired, for clearer broth.

Garnish with 2 slices kamaboko, 2 slices char siu, 2 dried shrimp and chopped green onions. Ladle hot dashi or broth over cooked noodles, and serve immediately.

Approximate nutritional analysis per serving of noodles using 6 eggs: 285 calories, 2 grams total fat, 0.5 gram saturated fat, 35 milligrams cholesterol, 225 milligrams sodium. Per serving noodles with garnishes (no broth): 330 calories, 2.5 grams total fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 50 milligrams cholesterol, 425 milligrams sodium.*

Ramen Kakejiru

"The Legacy of the Japanese in Hawaii: Cuisine," Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, 1989

8 cups water
1/4 cup dried shrimp
1 pound pork bones
5-inch piece konbu
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt

Combine first 4 ingredients; bring to a boil. Remove konbu. Simmer 1 hour, strain and add seasonings. Pour over cooked saimin noodles . Makes 6 to 7 cups.

Note: Keep broth at a simmer; boiling tends to cloud broth.

Approximate nutritional analysis per serving fresh, store-bought noodles and broth (fat skimmed off): 180 calories, 2 grams total fat, no saturated fat, 5 milligrams cholesterol, 420 milligrams sodium. Per serving fresh, store-bought noodles and broth with pork fat: 220 calories, 6 grams total fat, 2.5 grams saturated fat, 15 milligrams cholesterol, 445 milligrams sodium.*


Food Stuffs: Morsels



Send queries along with name and phone number to:
"By Request," Honolulu Star-Bulletin,
500 Ala Moana, No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813.
Or send e-mail to bshimabukuro@starbulletin.com


Asterisk (*) after nutritional analyses in the
Body & Soul section indicates calculations by
Joannie Dobbs of Exploring New Concepts,
a nutritional consulting firm.




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