Thick chewy udon noodles served in a rich, fragrant curry soup! This Japanese Curry Udon will satisfy your noodles craving in an instant. Bonus: it’s simple enough to throw together on a busy weeknight.
Curry Udon (カレーうどん) has been a popular menu item in Japan for a long time. It is lesser-known compared to Curry Rice, but the creamy curry is just as fulfilling when you enjoy it with udon.
And to me, the silky noodles have a way to soothe the soul in a comforting way unlike the other. When you blanket it with a rich curry soup, you just want to grab your chopsticks and slurp away.
How to Make Curry Udon
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Your choice of protein – I used thinly sliced pork loin in the recipe as it cooks in seconds, but feel free to use your choice of protein such as chicken, beef, seafood, or tofu.
- Green onion
- Udon noodles – More about it below.
- Dashi (Japanese soup stock) – homemade, which takes just 30 minutes, or dashi packet, or dashi powder). For vegans/vegetarians, make Vegan Dashi.
- Japanese curry roux – More about it below.
Overview: Cooking Steps
- Make dashi.
- Stir fry the onion and your choice of protein in the frying pan.
- Add the dashi and curry roux in the frying pan.
- Cook up udon noodles in a separate pot.
- Assemble drained udon noodles and curry soup in a serving bowl.
A satisfying noodle dish whipped up in under 30 minutes! This curry udon is rich and flavorful, with just a tinge of sweetness in each spoonful.
What is Japanese Curry Roux
Since the Japanese modify the food from other cuisines to suit their palate, you can expect Japanese curry to be quite different from Indian curries or Thai curries. It is thicker, milder, and sweeter, with a stew-like consistency. An ideal curry for curry beginners, or for people who prefer a gentler, sweeter flavor.
To make the curry soup, we’ll need to make curry roux. Homemade curry roux from scratch is, of course, the best, but there’s always an option of using the convenient store-bought curry roux when needed.
This is going to be a quick curry recipe, so I take the easy route this time. Nowadays, you can even find the rectangular packages of Japanese Curry Roux sold at major American grocery stores. Look for them at the Asian/ global food aisle.
Which Udon Noodles to Pick?
Thick, chewy, slippery udon noodles are so delicious! You can buy frozen, refrigerated, or dried udon noodles at Japanese or Asian grocery stores, and refrigerated ones in American grocery stores.
However, I only recommend getting frozen ones (choose one that says “Sanuki udon”) or dried udon noodles as they have a better texture than the refrigerated ones.
Make This Cold Curry Udon in the Summertime!
Oh by the way, if it’s in the middle of summer, try Cold Curry Udon!
Other Less-Known Curry Recipes
- ½ onion (5.7 oz or 162 g for 2 servings)
- 1 Tbsp neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, rice bran, canola, etc.)
- 6 oz thinly sliced pork loin (or use your choice of protein; cut into small pieces)
- 1 Tbsp sake
- 3 cups dashi (Japanese soup stock; click to learn more) (for vegan/vegetarian, make Vegan Dashi)
- 2 cubes Japanese curry roux (roughly 2 oz or 50 g for 2 servings; store bought or make homemade Japanese curry roux)
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 2 servings udon noodles (6.3 oz or 180 g dry udon noodles; 1.1 lb or 500 g frozen or parboiled udon noodles for 2 servings)
For the Garnish
- 2 green onions/scallions
- Gather all the ingredients. Break the curry roux into cubes and use 2 pieces (keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator/freezer for 1-3 months). Prepare the dashi using your preferred method.
- Thinly slice the onion and green onions. Set aside the green onions for garnish.
- Preheat a medium pot or Dutch oven (I used a 2.75 QT Staub) over medium heat. When the pot is hot, add the oil. Next, add the onion slices.
- Sauté the onion slices for 2-3 minutes. Then, add the meat.
- Cook the meat until it's barely pink. Next, add the sake.
- Add the dashi to the pot and cover with the lid. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 5 minutes.
- When simmering, skim off the scum and fat from the stock with a fine-mesh skimmer and continue to cook.
- Meanwhile, start boiling a large pot of water for the udon.
- After 5 minutes of simmering the stock and meat, turn off the heat. Next, put a cube of curry roux in a ladleful of hot stock.
- With chopsticks or a spoon, dissolve the roux cube completely in the ladle, then release it to the soup. Repeat with the next cube. Tip: You don't want to eat a chunk of undissolved curry roux, so take your time to dissolve it completely.
- Add the soy sauce and mix well. Turn off the heat and cover with the lid to keep it warm.
- When the water is boiling, cook your udon noodles according to the package instructions (for this Sanuki udon, I heated the frozen noodles in boiling water for 1 minute).
- Drain the noodles and divide into two bowls. Pour the curry soup over the udon noodles. Top with the green onions and serve immediately.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 13, 2012. A video and new photos were added in May 2020.