One of the most popular recipe category on Just One Cookbook is quick and easy meals. Within this category, Yaki Udon (焼きうどん) has been one of readers’ favorite dishes.
Since this dish was originally published in the first month of my blog (in 2011), now looking back the picture doesn’t do the recipe justice! I also didn’t include step-by-step pictures or video tutorial back then. Now I’m happy to share this recipe again with helpful tips, updated pictures and new video!
What’s Yaki Udon?
Yaki Udon (焼きうどん) is stirred fried udon noodles with meat and vegetables, very similar to another Japanese stir fried noodle dish called Yakisoba (焼きそば) as they uses almost same ingredients besides noodles. Here are the difference between Yaki udon and Yakisoba:
Yaki Udon: Yaki udon always uses udon noodles. Udon are thick and chewy white noodles made with wheat flour and water. Udon is very versatile and you can use it in a number of ways. In hot soup like Kitsune Udon and Nabeyaki Udon, or in cold dishes like Tanuki Udon, and lastly they taste great in stir fried dishes as well.
Yakisoba: Yakisoba uses chukamen, yellowish Chinese style noodles made with wheat flour and kansui (alkaline solution). These same noodles are used for Ramen, Yakisoba, Tsukemen (dipping noodles), etc.
Ingredients for Yaki Udon
The best part about this dish is that you can pretty much use any protein and vegetables from your refrigerator to make this dish. Of course you can totally make this a vegan/vegetarian dish as well.
For Yakisoba and Yaki Udon, pork is most often used in Japan. I usually like to use thinly sliced pork belly for more flavors. You can also use chicken or beef if that’s your preference. Don’t forget the seafood options as well; shrimp and squid are some of my favorite choices for yaki udon as well.
I LOVE using this particular frozen udon noodles because they are chewy and delicious. The texture is great for stir fried noodles. Most refrigerated udon noodles found in the Asian or American supermarkets break very easily, and taste a bit strange to me (there are plenty of good brands in Japan). I highly recommend to grab one (or two) of this particular package if you can find these frozen udon noodle packages. If you can’t find refrigerated noodles, the other option is dried udon noodles. These noodles are usually flat and the texture is less chewy, but the good news is that they won’t break into pieces like some of udon brands you find in refrigerated section.
Perfect Weeknight Meal
Yaki Udon is a quick and easy home cooking dish to make for your family or for yourself, with typical ingredients you probably already have in the fridge.
So here is my last tip before you go. Always have frozen or dried udon packages in your kitchen, then you can make this dish instead of getting takeout or eating out! My daughter absolutely loves udon so I always keep some in my freezer.
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- 2 packages udon noodles (I like frozen sanuki udon) (Note 1)
- ½ large onion
- 2-3 cabbage leaves
- 1 carrot
- 2 shiitake mushrooms
- 2 scallions/green onions
- ½ lb. (227 g) sliced pork belly, or your choice of meat, seafood and vegetables
- 1 Tbsp. oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 Tbsp. Mentsuyu (Noodle Soup Base) (Homemade recipe) (Note 2)
- 1 tsp. soy sauce
- If the udon noodles are frozen, boil them until loosen. Drain and rinse off the starch. Drain well and set aside.
- Slice onion and cut cabbage into 1” (2.5 cm) square pieces. Julienne the carrot (cut into 2” (5 cm matchsticks).
- Discard the tough shitake stems and slice the mushroom tops. Thinly slice the top 2” (5 cm) green part of scallions and set aside (for garnisih). Cut the rest of scallion into 2” (5 cm) pieces.
- Cut the pork belly slices into 1” (2.5 cm) pieces.
- In a frying pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Add the pork and cook until almost cooked through. Then add onion and cook until translucent and soft.
- Add cabbage and carrots and stir fry until coated with oil. Then add shiitake mushrooms and scallion. Stir fry until vegetables are lightly wilted.
- Add udon noodles and using tongs, combine well with all the ingredients.
- Add seasonings (Freshly ground black pepper, 3 Tbsp. Mentsuyu, and 1 tsp. soy sauce) and mix all together. Please adjust the amount of Mentsuyu based on the amount of the ingredients you have added.
- Serve on a plate and sprinkle bonito flakes and green onions on top. Garnish with red pickled ginger on the side if you like.
2: Mentsuyu I use is 3-times concentrated. If you use “straight” Mentsuyu (= not concentrated), you might need to add more to achieve the same flavor.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January, 2011.