Fight the cold days with this steamy Nabeyaki Udon served in donabe. Topped with chicken, tempura & heaps of vegetables in an umami dashi soup, this hot noodle soup would be your favorite kind of winter comfort food.
Nabeyaki Udon (鍋焼きうどん) is a hot udon noodle soup traditionally served in individual donabe (earthenware pot) or iron pots.
Besides udon noodles, the soup usually includes chicken, kamaboko (fish cake), mushrooms, and vegetables such as spinach, long green onion (Negi), and carrot. In addition, an egg and a large shrimp tempura is served on top.
Watch How to Make Nabeyaki Udon
Tender udon noodle served in savory dashi soup, topped with chicken, carrots, shrimp tempura, kamaboko, and mushrooms.
The literal translation for nabeyaki udon is, you’ve guess it, “cook in hotpot udon”. This nabeyaki udon recipe (especially with step-by-step pictures) might seem long, and to be honest, it took quite a while for us to shoot the video. BUT! The recipe is easy and doesn’t take that much effort to make (if you don’t have to video each step). Simply make dashi (soup stock), add udon and ingredients you like in a pot, and cook!
The most time-consuming part for me was making shrimp tempura from scratch. I know quite a lot of readers do not have access to frozen shrimp tempura in nearby grocery stores (for us, we can get one in Trader Joe’s), but if you do, I’d recommend using packaged shrimp tempura to save time.
All the ingredients I have included for this nabeyaki udon are ones that are commonly used in Japan. If you cannot find the same ingredients like kamaboko (fish cake), it’s okay to skip and use ingredients that are available to you.
On a cold and rainy day like today, a steaming pot of nabeyaki udon served right at the table is definitely comforting.
Get Your Donabe (Earthenware Pot) Ready!
You have a couple of options to cook and serve this dish.
- Cook the noodles in a large pot and serve in individual bowls – you don’t need donabe
- Cook the noodles in a large donabe and serve in small individual bowls – similar to hot pot-style
- Cook the noodles in individual donabe pots and serve the pot directly – This is the restaurant-style
More Noodle Soup Recipes Similar to Nabeyaki Udon:
Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.
- 4 dried shiitake mushrooms
- ½ cup water (for soaking dried shiitake mushrooms)
- 1 stalk spinach (rinsed)
- 1 inch carrot
- 4 slices kamaboko (fish cake) (but you will only need a few slices)
- ⅓ shimeji mushrooms (1 oz, 28 g; bottom trimmed)
- 6 inch negi (long green onion) (use white part, or leeks + green onions/scallions)
- 1 chicken thigh (4-5oz, 113-142g)
- 2 servings udon noodles (6.3 oz/180 g dry udon noodles; 1.1 lb/500 g frozen/boiled udon noodles)
- 2 large eggs (50 g each w/o shell)
- 2 shrimp tempura (see below for instructions; you can buy frozen shrimp tempura and follow instructions to reheat as well)
For Udon Soup
- 3 cups dashi (Japanese soup stock; click to learn more) (I used the standard kombu + katsuobushi awase dashi; use kombu dashi for vegan/vegetarian)
- ⅓ cup shiitake dashi (reserved from rehydrating dried shiitake, see instructions)
- 2 Tbsp mirin
- 1 ½ Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp kosher/sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)
For Shrimp Tempura
- Gather all the ingredients.
To Prepare the Ingredients
- Soak dried shiitake mushrooms in water to rehydrate for 15 minutes. You need just enough water to cover the mushrooms and place a smaller bowl on top to keep the mushrooms submerged in water.
- Squeeze the excess water out of rehydrated shiitake mushrooms. Cut off the stems if there are any and score a cross on top like this and set aside (use it later for topping). Reserve the leftover soaking liquid (shiitake dashi) for udon soup by straining it through a mesh strainer to remove any grit or impurities before using it.
- In lightly salted boiling water, blanch the spinach starting from the stem side for 1 minute.
- Soak the spinach in iced water to prevent overcooking. Squeeze water out and cut into 1 ½” (4 cm) pieces.
- Slice the carrot. Optionally you can cut out the carrot into a flower shape with a vegetable cutter.
- Cut kamaboko into thin slices and break shimeji mushrooms into small pieces.
- Slice the long green onion diagonally and cut the chicken into 1” (2.5 cm) pieces.
To Make the Udon Soup
- To make udon soup, combine the dashi and shiitake dashi (reserved liquid from dried shiitake mushrooms) in a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Once boiling, add mirin, soy sauce, and salt. When boiling again, turn off the heat and set aside.
To Make Shrimp Tempura
- To make shrimp tempura, follow this instruction to clean the shrimp and make them straight.
- To make the tempura batter, combine the tempura batter mix and water. Lightly dust the shrimp with potato starch/cornstarch before dredging the shrimp in the batter. Deep fry at 340-350 ºF (170-180 ºC) until golden brown. If you want to make the tempura batter from scratch and learn tips on how to deep fry the shrimp, you can read the recipe here.
To Prepare Udon Noodles
- 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 30 seconds (no need to defrost). If you use dry noodles, follow the package instructions. Drain the water and chill in ice water to prevent the noodles from cooking further.
- Divide all the ingredients (except for the egg, spinach, and mitsuba) into two individual earthen donabe clay pots (or use any big pot).
- Add udon soup and cover with the lid. Bring the soup to a boil over medium-high heat. When it comes to a boil, leave the lid slightly open to let some steam out, or it will overflow. Lower the heat and simmer to cook until the chicken is cooked through.
- Add an egg, spinach, and mitsuba and cover to cook until the egg is done to your liking.
- Add shrimp tempura on top and serve. Sprinkle shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven spice) if you like the soup spicy.
- You can keep the noodle soup and toppings separately in airtight containers and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You have to prepare udon noodles right before you serve.