Chikara Udon: Hearty Winter Noodle Soup with Mochi
Udon is one of the noodles that represent Japan, together with Ramen and Soba, and the noodle soup dish comes in many varieties.
Among them, what we Japanese often eat during cold winter months is “Chikara Udon (力うどん)”.
Chikara Udon (力うどん)
We call the seasonal Udon noodle soup with “Mochi (餅)” rice cake “Chikara Udon”.
Not only do some restaurants in Japan offer it during the wintertime, but the hearty noodle soup is sometimes eaten at home as well, for it is easy to prepare.
As preparation, Mochi rice cake is toasted or steamed before or during cooking.
After Udon noodle soup is made, the cooked Mochi is put on top of the Udon.
Ingredients (other than Mochi) in Chikara Udon vary depending on each household, but we typically garnish the bowl with chopped green onions.
The word “Chikara (力)” literally means “power” in Japanese, and regarding the origin of the name “Chikara Udon”, there are several theories, including the below.
One is that it is believed in Japan that Mochi brings lucky power, and another is that the rice cake is so filling that the eater can get energy from the food.
When it comes to how to prepare Chikara Udon, there are two easy/quick ways.
Note that cooked Mochi is chewy, stretchy, and very sticky, so please be cautious not to choke on it.
Instant Cup Noodles
One is to buy instant Udon and cook it. A variety of Chikara Udon cup noodles are available in Japan, including the pictured “Shiroi Chikara Mochi Udon (白い力もちうどん)” from Maruchan.
Quick & Easy Recipe
The other method is to make it with a quick and easy recipe, like this from cookpad.com.
Image and Recipe: cookpad.com
|Udon noodles||1 serving|
|Kamaboko (if any)||3 slices|
|Tororo Kombu||5-10 grams|
|Chopped green onions||As you like|
|Japanese soup stock mix||2 teaspoons|
|Soy sauce||1 teaspoon|
- Bake the Mochi in the toaster oven until it puffs up and becomes light brown.
- Put the water, soup base, soy sauce, sake, mirin, and salt in a pot and bring the mixture to a simmer.
- Boil the Udon noodles in another pot.
- Transfer the broth to a bowl and add the boiled Udon noodles.
- As a finishing touch, garnish the soup with the toasted Mochi and other toppings.
- Enjoy the Chikara Udon!