Originating from Yamanashi Prefecture, hōtō is a regional dish made by stewing flat noodles and starchy vegetables in dashi and miso-based broth. Hearty, rustic, and versatile, hōtō is the ultimate winter comfort food.
Hōtō refers to the specific type of noodle used in this dish, which is sometimes referred to as “flat udon.” However, hōtō differs from udon in a few central ways. First, hōtō dough is not salted or left to rest like traditional udon. As a result, hōtō is more dough-like and less elastic. Second, hōtō is cooked directly in the broth immediately after being formed, while traditional udon is parboiled in water and then covered in broth. As hōtō cooks, its residual starch coating thickens the broth, creating a stew-like soup. Because of these key differences, hōtō is often likened to dumpling dough rather than noodles.
Besides the hōtō itself, hōtō hotpot commonly includes kabocha (pumpkin), another starchy ingredient that is popular in the winter months. Kabocha is known for its mild sweetness that complements the rich flavor of miso. As kabocha breaks down, it also acts as a thickening agent.
Our recipe calls for chicken or pork, carrots, mushrooms, and snow peas, but you use any vegetables you have on hand. Other popular hōtō ingredients include napa cabbage, daikon, potato, leek, and aburaage (fried tofu strips). Feel free to use whatever produce is in season; just don’t leave the flat noodles - otherwise, it won’t be hōtō! On the next cold day, try making this unique regional specialty to warm your stomach!
- 3-4 tbsp of dashi powder (available in our Creative Beginnings: Redefining “Wa” Care Package)
- 1.5L of water
- 150g of chicken or pork (cut into bite-size pieces)
- ¼ of a squash (cut into bite-size pieces)
- Handful of sliced carrots
- Handful of mushrooms (cut into bite-size pieces)
- Handful of snow peas (cut into bite-size pieces)
- 1 package Hōtō Udon noodles (can also use 5 grain beauty udon)
- 70-80g of miso
- Handful of green onions (negi)(cut diagonally into 2-inch pieces)
- Add the dashi powder to 1.5L of water and bring to a boil. Add the meat, squash, carrots, mushrooms and snow peas and bring to a boil again.
- Gently add the noodles to the water and Simmer until the noodles begin to soften.
- Reduce the heat to low and stir in the miso.
- Add the green onions and gently simmer for 2-3 mins.
- Remove from heat, cover, and let steam for a few minutes.
- Serve family-style in a large communal bowl.
Introduction courtesy of Britney Budiman
Britney Budiman (@booritney) is a writer, minimalist, aspiring effective altruist, and runner-in-progress with a penchant for saying “yes.” Previously, she has worked in Cambodia at a traditional arts NGO, in Brazil as a social sciences researcher, and in San Francisco at a housing start-up. She currently lives in the countryside of Kagoshima, Japan, where she teaches English. Her favorite thing in the world is good conversation.