My Mother's Fragrant, All-Purpose Mentsuyu Noodle Sauce
I don't think you can enjoy this flavor anymore at restaurants. This is a not too salty, fragrant, and umami-rich mentsuyu noodle sauce. My mother taught me how to make this. I'm uploading it here so I have a written record of it too.
Bonito flakes (large, thin flakes called hana-katsuo)
Bring the water to a boil in a pan. Turn down the heat to low, and add the regular bonito flakes. Simmer slowly for 3 minutes, then strain off the bonito flakes.
In a sepate pan, bring the sake and mirin to a boil (to evaporate the alcohol).
Add the soy sauce and sugar to the sake and mirin, and bring to a boil.
Add the dashi stock from Step 1 to the pan from Step 3, and bring to a boil.
Add the large thin bonito flakes at the very and and turn off the heat immediately.
Use the sauce to flavor blanched vegetables, dashimaki tamago (rolled omelette), soups, as well as for udon, soba or somen noodle sauce. This is not a concentrate so you can use it as-is!
I edited the recipe a little.
Use this to flavor kinpira gobo (stir fried burdock root with sesame oil and chili pepper). Just add about 50 ml of the sauce to the stir fried burdock root, boil down rapidly and done!
Story Behind this Recipe
This is a recipe that my soba-loving parents came up with after many experiments.
Don't let it boil for too long or the flavor and fragrance of the bonito flakes will dissipate. Just let it come to a boil briefly. Store the mentsuyu in containers that have been sterilized in boiling water, and seal air tight. It will keep in a cool dark place for a month.