Udon noodles are a staple of Japanese cooking, but some sources note that udon may have come from China circa the year 700. So our discussion here should really note that this is an Asian-inspired dish, not necessarily traditional and not necessarily from Japan.
You’ll notice that green curry paste is part of this recipe; green curry is a tradition thought to originate in Thailand. We offer this caveat to say our recipe is a blending of multiple types of Asian cooking, and the results may have you coming back for more!
If you have experience with Asian cuisine, you likely already know that udon noodles are thicker than traditional soba or spaghetti noodles. If you have never had udon before, imagine a thicker, rounder noodle than you’d get in yakisoba, lo mein, etc.
Udon noodles are comfort food for many. Eating Asian-inspired noodle dishes means getting used to a variety of thicknesses and textures–some are made of buckwheat, others are made from rice flour or wheat flour.
Udon is on the thick side of the spectrum. Some manufacturers make udon that seems almost as thick as a #2 pencils, others make it slightly thinner. Some prefer the big noodles, others prefer the smaller variety.
Udon Noodle Bowl Hacks
Some disagree about when and how to boil the noodles. If you get dry udon, try cooking it separately in boiling water and add to the bowl before you add the broth. Some prefer to add the noodles directly to the broth and soften them that way. Which approach you use really depends on what you prefer but one thing is true–noodles can eventually start to break down if they are boiled too long or stay too long in the broth.
Buying the pre-cooked noodles will speed up your prep time. Some believe that dried udon noodles leave something to be desired but if you aren’t very experienced with Asian cooking you may not notice a difference at first.
The freshness of certain ingredients is key for Udon. Fresh ginger and fresh lime make a LOT of difference in the final product. Prepackaged ginger loses some of its bite, as does processed lime juice.
If you need to add heat to this dish but want to avoid adding more sodium, consider fresh jalapeno or dried red pepper flakes. The green curry paste is distinctive, but may not add as much heat as you might expect.
Also, when buying green curry paste, select a brand that was made in Thailand. This isn’t as hard as you might think as one of the leading brands of Thai curry paste, Thai Kitchen, is made there and exported to the USA. The brands made in Thailand seem to be superior.
Udon Noodle Tips, Tricks & Hacks
- If you can’t find the ingredients at the Asian section of your grocery store, Asian markets or Amazon should have everything you need
- Udon Toppings: Top the soup with kakiage (tempura), kamaboki (fish cake), wakame (seaweed), scallions, shiitake mushrooms, green onion, chili flakes, egg (raw or boiled), dried seaweed, or vegetables.
- Store the noodles and broth in separate containers. Udon soup stored this way lasts about 2 to 3 days.
Although these noodle bowls aren’t quite as quick as my 5-minute Faux Pho, it’s only 20 minutes from start-to-table. Not too shabby, right? Especially for a dish with so much flavor!
Any one of these 21 Japanese Desserts would make a wonderful ending to your meal.
- 2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
- 2 cups thinly sliced shallots (about 4 large)
- 3-4 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons green curry paste
- 1 32 ounce container low-sodium beef broth
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 red bell pepper (sliced into strips)
- 1 bunch scallions
- 1 package udon noodles (about 20 ounces)
- Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add ghee or vegetable oil and heat until shimmering.
- Add shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned (turn down heat if it starts to brown too quickly).
- Add ginger and curry paste, cook 2 more minutes, stirring frequently. Add beef broth and lime juice; simmer 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, grill pepper strips and scallions until crisp-tender.
- Chop scallions into bite-sized pieces and set peppers and scallions aside.
- Prepare udon noodles according to package directions.
- Divide udon noodles, broth, pepper strips and scallions between four bowls and serve.
You could easily add chicken, beef, pork chashu, fried tofu, shrimp tempura to this recipe for an even more hearty meal. Grilled shitake mushrooms also make a nice addition; grill and add in with the red bells and scallions.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 3 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 315Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 1037mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 5gSugar: 12gProtein: 10g
This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.