When we visited Takayama in Japan this past summer, we enjoyed this warm beef udon noodle soup with Hida beef. This comfort dish is made of warm udon noodles in a savory hot soup topped with thinly sliced beef seasoned and stir fried.
Beef Udon Packed with Flavors
Don’t be tricked by the simple ingredients. This udon recipe is packed with tons of flavors from savory dashi broth, beef, and caramelized scallion. The beef is seasoned with sweet soy sauce so if you think basic udon dish like Kitsune Udon is too simple, then this might be the udon recipe for you!
The best part of this recipe (besides it is so delicious!!!) is how easy it is to make at home.
We use only basic Japanese condiments that are used in most Japanese cooking – soy sauce, mirin, sake – and udon noodles which can be purchased in Japanese or Asian grocery stores (and some American grocery stores). Udon noodles come dried noodles, or can be found vacuum sealed in refrigerated or freezer section.
Use Dashi in Beef Udon
You will need to make Japanese soup stock “dashi” to complete this dish. If you make dashi from scratch, the broth will taste much better and you would want to suck up the entire beef udon soup!
If dashi sound foreign to you, don’t feel intimidated. You can always take a short cut and use dashi powder or dashi packet instead (which takes 5 minutes. See how we use it). But remember, Japanese stock – dashi is much easier to make compared to vegetable or chicken/beef stock and it takes less than 30 minutes.
Most Japanese household prepare a big pot of dashi everyday or at least a few times a week. What do we do with the dashi? A lot of Japanese recipe requires dashi and of course we make miso soup with it!
So we make a big pot of dashi first, and save parts of dashi for all the recipes that require dashi and make miso soup with the rest. For example, when you make Oyakodon (above), a part of dashi goes to making oyakodon, and the rest can be used for the miso soup.
I hope you enjoy making Beef Udon! If you try it, don’t forget to share your picture on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with #JustOneCookbook. Thank you so much for reading, and till next time!
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- 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- ½ Tokyo negi (½ leek or 2 scallions/green onions)
- ½ lb (227 g) thinly sliced beef (ribeye or top sirloin)
- 2 servings/packages of Udon (I like frozen sanuki noodles)
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
- ½ - 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 2 cups (480 ml) dashi
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. mirin
- 1 tsp. sugar
- Pinch (1/8 tsp.) of Kosher salt
- ¼ tsp. salt
- Some slices of Narutomaki (fish cakes)
- 1 green onion/scallion
- 1 small bunch of Mitsuba (Japanese herbs) (Optional)
- Shichimi Togarashi (Japanese 7 spice) for taste
- In a small saucepan, add 2 cups (480 ml) dashi and 1 tsp. sugar.
- Add 1 Tbsp. mirin and 1 Tbsp. soy sauce and bring it to a boil.
- Taste the soup and adjust the taste with Kosher salt as it will enhance the flavor without adding additional sugar or soy sauce. Cover and keep it on low heat.
- Cut the Tokyo negi and Narutomaki (fish cake) diagonally.
- Cut the Mitsuba into small pieces and thinly slice the scallion.
- Cut the thinly sliced meat into bite size pieces.
- Bring a big pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, cook the frozen udon for 2 minutes. Loosen up the noodles once they started to separate.
- Once the udon is done cooking, use fine sieve to drain water and transfer to serving bowls.
- While cooking udon, you can start heating the large frying pan. Once it’s heated, add 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil and cook the Tokyo negi until tender.
- Add the meat and brown all sides. Don’t move the meat around until it’s nicely seared.
- Once the meat is nicely browned, add ½ to 1 Tbsp. sugar and 1 Tbsp. soy sauce. When the sauce has caramelized and slightly thicken, turn off the heat.
- By this time, the noodle should be in the serving bowls. Pour the hot soup over the udon noodles in the bowls. Then serve the meat on top of the udon noodles.
- Place the narutomaki (fish cake) and garnish with scallion and mitsuba. If you like it spicy, sprinkle Shichimi Togarashi (Japanese 7 spice). Enjoy!