Ah, Food Wars! recipes! I feel like I always end the experience in a love-hate relationship. I love the final product, but the process to get there. Holy cow. And this particular dish is no exception. Soma and friends whip it up in order to pass the second stage of their exam. They ingeniously realize how to use their remaining supplies to craft together a delicious dish that will impress the examiner… but is it even possible to cook this particular dish in the time frame allotted?
Maybe. The dish, special Gousetsu Udon, requires a few moving parts. The soup base, thickened with potato shavings, comes together in a snap. The potato mochi too is brilliant in its simplicity; it comes together without a fuss. It’s the udon noodles that are the issue. Having never made udon before, I needed to learn two things: a recipe, and the technique. I was unsure where to start, but I found this guide to be invaluable when it came to forming the noodles. However, finding a recipe was nearly impossible. At least in English, this is a recipe that simply doesn’t exist. Luckily, my slight knowledge of Japanese helped me search, but even there I found only one recipe. I’m sure there’s more out there, but this is where my search capabilities ended.
So, I had a technique guide and a recipe… but I still needed to cobble together something that would work for this variety of noodle. The recipe below is based on a combination of the technique guide as well as the Japanese recipe. The thing with udon, though, is that it’s quite difficult to knead (requiring the use of feet) and require resting time – more time than Soma and friends had in the challenge. You can get away with resting the udon only a few hours, as opposed to overnight, but even so that’s cutting it a bit close for the time limit. Theoretically, it’s possible… if everything goes perfectly. And the team did waste time in the beginning attempting to go out to look for other ingredients.
A note on the potatoes- in the anime, they use Irish Cobbler potatoes, which are high in starch content. I couldn’t get the same potato in any of my local stores, so I settled for Russett potatoes, which are also high in starch. However, I’d love to try this recipe with the Irish Cobbler, if I could get my hands on some! It might change some of the proportions of the flour and potato starch, but it would be more authentic. In any case, this is a good base recipe to start with- if you’re able to experiement, let me know how it turns out!
In any case, is this dish even worth making? Well, yes. I was pleasantly surprised! My own noodles were nothing to write home about (honestly, unless you’re a master noodle maker, it’s always easier to buy pre-made noodles), but the broth was fantastic, as was the potato mochi. For me the mochi was actually the stand-out topping. It was creamy in the middle, yet crunchy on the outside; my favorite part of the whole dish!
If you make this at home, I’d advise buying pre-made fresh udon noodles (the potato flavor of the Gousetsu udon is really fun, but I’m not sure if it’s worth the trouble). Everything else I’d make from scratch – you won’t be disappointed! Watch the video below to get more pointers on how exactly to make this dish!