Kitsune Udon きつねうどん

Jump to Recipe Discussion
  • Kitsune Udon is a Japanese noodle soup in dashi broth, topped with seasoned fried tofu, pink-swirl narutomaki fish cake, and scallions. This hearty udon soup is one of the most popular, classic Japanese noodle dishes.

    A dark bowl containing Kitsune Udon Noodle Soup.

    If you’re looking for the ultimate Japanese comfort dish that can lift up your mood any time of year, I can’t recommend enough cooking this bowl of Kitsune Udon (Noodle Soup) (きつねうどん).

    The rich broth, the chewy noodles, and the fried tofu – everything comes together so nicely that you just want to hold your face above the bowl and let the aroma envelop you. It’s so simple and quick to make, so there is no excuse not to try it!

    What is Kitsune Udon?

    Kitsune literary means ‘fox’ in Japanese. Why do we call the dish ‘fox udon’? There are a few theories about the origin of the name.

    One theory says aburaage (deep-fried tofu pouch) often appears as a fox’s favorite food in Japanese folktales, so people started to call the udon noodle soup topped with tofu pouch as “kitsune udon.”

    Another theory is that people call aburaage by “kitsune” because the color of the deep-fried tofu pouch is like the color of a fox. I think this makes the most sense since we often say in Japanese recipes “cook till fox color” to figuratively describe “cook till golden brown”.

    So what is kitsune udon? It’s made of chewy thick udon noodles, clear dashi broth, and aburaage seasoned well with soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. Kitsune udon is served as a hot noodle soup, but in the steamy summer months, it is also served chilled with a few spoonfuls of dashi based sauce poured over.

    Watch How to Make Kitsune Udon

    Kitsune Udon is a Japanese noodle soup in dashi broth, topped with seasoned fried tofu, pink-swirl narutomaki fish cake, and scallions. This hearty udon soup is one of the most popular, classic Japanese noodle dishes.

    3 Key Ingredients for Kitsune Udon

    To make the perfect bowl of kitsune udon, you need high-quality ingredients, starting with these three: dashi, udon noodles, and aburaage.

    1. Dashi Broth

    5 different types of dashi in a jar and their ingredients.

    I can’t stress enough about having good quality dashi. The dashi broth gives the noodle soup that rich, umami flavor that will have you sipping up the last drops.

    Dashi is so important, which is why I have previously shared three ways to make dashi – using dashi powder or a dashi packet and making dashi from scratch.

    For this kitsune udon recipe, I only recommend making dashi using a dashi packet or making it from scratch. Making it with dashi powder doesn’t have the depth needed to make a flavorful enough broth. Please don’t get intimidated with making dashi from scratch. It really doesn’t take a lot of time compared to using dashi powder. Spend the extra 20 minutes to make a super tasty broth – trust me, it’s worth your time, and it’s easy to make!

    I recommend making Awase Dashi (kombu + katsuobushi/bonito flakes) or Katsuo Dashi (just bonito flakes) for udon noodle soup broth.

    For vegetarian/vegan dashi, use Kombu Dashi.

    2. Udon Noodles

    Udon Noodles (Frozen and Dry) | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

    Udon noodles are getting very popular outside of Japan, so you can easily purchase the noodles in regular grocery stores in the U.S. However, many products are not very good. The noodles don’t have the right texture and tend to break into pieces.

    If your local Japanese or Asian grocery stores carry frozen udon noodles or packaged udon noodles that say “Sanuki”, try one of those options. They are chewier and not doughy/floury, and won’t break easily.

    3. Packaged vs. Homemade Aburaage

    Inari Age (Seasoned Deep Fried Tofu Pocket) | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

    Living outside of Japan, I know that raw ingredients can be harder to find than prepackaged foods.

    Inari Age (seasoned deep-fried tofu pouch) is made of Aburaage (deep-fried tofu pouch). When you want to make homemade Inari Age, you need Aburaage, but it’s really difficult to find unless you have a well-stocked Japanese grocery store.

    Inari Age (Seasoned Deep-Fried Tofu Pouch) | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

    Packaged Inari Age is widely-available even in Asian grocery stores as they are used for making the popular Inari Sushi.

    If you are the lucky one who can find aburaage, try making Homemade Inariage! It’s preservative-free and really delicious!

    Vegetarian/Vegan-Friendly Kitsune Udon

    There is a misconception that dashi is not vegetarian/vegan; however, that’s not completely true. Most well-known dashi is made with bonito flakes and kombu, but in our daily Japanese cooking, we also use Kombu Dashi, which is 100% vegetarian/vegan.

    To make vegetarian/vegan kitsune udon, make kombu dashi and skip those spiral fish cakes as a garnish. And as simple as that, you have vegetarian/vegan kitsune udon!

    A dark bowl containing Kitsune Udon Noodle Soup.

    Did You Watch Netflix “Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories” Season 2?

    You can find this Kitsune Udon dish featured on the popular Netflix® – Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories (Season 2, Episode 7).

    Netflix® Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories - Season 2 Recipes | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com
    Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories© TBS Television

    In the show, the master prepares a bowl of Kitsune Udon with a large homemade Inari Age. It’s such a humble dish, yet so comforting and satisfying.

    Other Hot Udon Noodle Soup Recipes

    A dark bowl containing Kitsune Udon Noodle Soup.
    Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.

    Sign up for the free Just One Cookbook newsletter delivered to your inbox! And stay in touch with me on FacebookPinterestYouTube, and Instagram for all the latest updates.

    4.84 from 24 votes
    A dark bowl containing Kitsune Udon Noodle Soup.
    Kitsune Udon
    Prep Time
    10 mins
    Cook Time
    10 mins
    Total Time
    50 mins
     

    Kitsune Udon is a Japanese noodle soup in dashi broth, topped with seasoned fried tofu, pink-swirl narutomaki fish cake, and scallions. This hearty udon soup is one of the most popular, classic Japanese noodle dishes.

    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: noodle soup, udon noodle
    Servings: 2
    Author: Nami
    Ingredients
    For Noodle Soup Broth
    For Homemade Dashi
    For Kitsune Udon
    Instructions
    1. Gather all the ingredients. Before we start: It's really important to have good flavorful dashi for this recipe. Although you can take the shortcut by using dashi powder or dashi packet, I encourage you to make your own dashi because the broth tastes so much better! It only takes less than 30 minutes to make. For vegetarian/vegan, please use Kombu Dashi.

      Kitsune Udon Ingredients
    To Make Homemade Dashi (Please skip if you already have dashi)
    1. Put the kombu and 2 ½ cup water in a measuring cup for at least 30 minutes. If you have time, soak for 3 hours or up to half a day. Kombu’s flavor comes out naturally from soaking in water. If you don’t have time at all, skip soaking.

      Kitsune Udon 1
    2. Transfer kombu and water to a saucepan. Slowly bring to a boil over medium-low heat. 

      Kitsune Udon 2
    3. Just before boiling (you will see bubbles around the edges of the pan), remove the kombu. If you leave the kombu inside, the dashi will become slimy and bitter. Now this broth is Kombu Dashi (vegetarian/vegan) and it's ready to make udon soup. For non-vegetarian/vegan, add 1 ½ cups katsuobushi and bring it to a boil again. 

      Kitsune Udon 3
    4. Once the dashi is boiling, reduce the heat, simmer for just 15 seconds, and turn off the heat. Let the katsuobushi sink to the bottom, about 10-15 minutes. Strain the dashi through a fine-mesh sieve set over a saucepan. Now you have roughly 2 ¼ cup dashi.

    To Make Udon Soup
    1. In a saucepan, add the dashi, 1 Tbsp mirin, 1 tsp sugar, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, and ½ tsp kosher salt and bring to boil. Once boiling, turn off the heat or cover and keep on a low simmer.

      Kitsune Udon 2
    To Prepare Toppings
    1. Squeeze excess liquid from the inariage (or you can keep it as it is). Cut the green onion into thin slices.  Slice the Narutomaki fish cake into 1/8 inch (3 mm).

      Kitsune Udon 5
    To Prepare Udon Noodles
    1. Bring a large pot of water to boil for udon noodles. My favorite udon is the frozen Sanuki Udon. Cook the frozen udon noodles in boiling water for 1 minute (no need to defrost).  If you use dry noodles, follow the package instructions.

      Kitsune Udon 3
    2. Pick up the noodles in a strainer or drain the hot water.  Make sure to remove excess water (which will end up diluting your soup).

      Kitsune Udon 4
    To Assemble
    1. Serve udon noodles and hot soup in serving bowls and top with inariage, narutomaki, green onion and sprinkles of shichimi togarashi.

      Kitsune Udon 6
    Recipe Notes

    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: The post was originally published on May 25, 2011. Pictures were updated in November 2017.  The new video was added in April 2018. The post has been updated in May 2020.

    Make It Into A Meal

  • Just One Cookbook Essential Japanese Recipes

    Love Our Recipes?

    Leave A Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Recipe Rating




    What type of comment do you have?

    Discussion

  • Kae wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • Kae wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
      • Kae wrote:
        • Nami wrote:
  • Elaina wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • Akane wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • chris beeson wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • Joseph wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
      • Joseph wrote:
        • Nami wrote:
  • eun wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • Udon Noodle Lover wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • Alana wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • Catherine wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • KN.W wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • bb wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • Ben wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • Stephen wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • Addie wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • Ethel Grimes wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • aolsen wrote:
  • Amanda wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • Barbara wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • Odi wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • Alina wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • Cynthia H wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • LG wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • Ryan wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • jason lim wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • Linda W wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • Celestine Neo wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • faithybakes wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • Michelle C wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • Marsha wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • Aurora wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • Tom Maynard wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • ramon taveras wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • Hazarina wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • Alexandra wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • Juliana wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
      • Juliana wrote:
        • Nami wrote:
  • Doreen wrote:
  • Smruti wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • Ilaria wrote:
  • Ginny wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • Just One Cookbook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com]
    Gyoza served on a plate.
    Just One Cookbook logo
    Just One Cookbook logo

    free email series

    5 Secrets to Japanese Cooking

    Making flavorful Japanese food is

    EASIER than you think.

    Close