When it comes to Japanese noodles, there are the big three: ramen, soba, and udon. Udon (うどん) noodles are thick and white, made with wheat flour and salted water. Udon is very popular in and outside of Japan—dishes such as tempura udon and kitsune udon are widely eaten…
Udon noodles are available in Japanese/Asian supermarkets, or regular supermarkets with an Asian ingredients section. As with any noodles, you can find fresh, dried, or frozen udon. Fresh udon is ideal but dried or frozen udon noodles are quite good as long as you follow the cooking instructions. Udon is prized for its chewy texture yet totally smooth mouthfeel, so don’t overcook the udon noodles. When shopping for udon, avoid those udon packets with a seasoning pouch, as the quality of the udon is mostly compromised.
One of the most common recipes of udon noodles is yaki udon, which is stir-fried udon, a dish that constantly reminds me of my first trip to Tokyo, where I had a serving of authentic yaki udon at a mom-and-pop eatery right beside my train station. Topped with some shaved bonito flakes and freshly pickled beni-shoga (Japanese pickled ginger), the taste of the fried udon noodles still lingers in my mouth.
I cooked my udon noodles with some cabbage, carrot, onion, pork, and shrimp—some of the most common ingredients for yaki udon. For the seasonings, I used Mizkan (Bonito Flavored) Soup Base to replace soy sauce, and balance it off with Mizkan Mirin. The end result is delicious and utterly satisfying.
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
4 oz pork, cut into small pieces
5 peeled and deveined shrimp
2 oz cabbage, shredded
1/2 carrot, peeled and cut into matchstick strips
12 oz udon
1 stalk scallion, cut into 2-inch lengths
2 tablespoons Mizkan (Bonito Flavor) Soup Base
1 teaspoon Mizkan Mirin
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Combine all the ingredients in the Seasonings in a small bowl. Set aside.
Boil the udon noodles per the packet instructions. Make sure not to overcook the udon. Rinse the udon noodles with cold running water, making sure that there is no excess starch clinging to the noodles. Drain and set aside.
Heat up a wok or skillet with the oil. Add the onion and sauté briefly, follow by the pork and shrimp.
Add the cabbage, carrot, and stir a few times before adding the udon noodles.
Add the Seasonings into the wok or skillet, stir continuously to combine well with all the ingredients.
Add the scallions, stir a few more times, and transfer the yaki udon into a serving bowl.
Top the yaki udon with some shaved bonito flakes, beni-shoga, and serve immediately.
If you prefer ramen, you can use the same recipe and the Seasoning to make yakisoba for an equally delicious result.
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