Houtou is a hearty soup with noodles. In a nabe hot pot vegetables including kabocha squash are simmered in a dashi broth. Flat and wide udon noodles are added and simmered until soft and the soup is seasoned with miso. Cooking the raw udon noodles in the pot thickens the soup which keeps the dish warm after it is served.
One theory as to the origins of houtou was that it was eaten during the provincial wars of feudal lord Takeda Shingen (1521-1573). It could easily be made with flour, miso, and whatever was on hand. Another theory is traced to a noodle dish called hakutaku that came from China during the Heian period (794-1185).
Throughout Yamanashi prefecture there are many opportunities to make houtou. It’s served at many events and is a very popular dish. The noodles soak in the umami-rich dashi and miso as it cooks. Furthermore, seasonal vegetables also help to express the umami that lingers in the mouth making this an enjoyable local dish.RECIPE_HEADEND