Yaki udon is a Japanese Stir-fried udon noodle cooked with vegetables, proteins, a simple flavorful sauce. This is a delicious udon noodle recipe that is easy and quick.
Yaki udon is a stir-fried noodles that takes 30 minutes or less. If you are looking for some quick dinner recipes for your weeknights, this is a must. I would love to add this to my lazy vegan recipes.
Add any vegetable of choice and some proteins for a wholesome meal. I normally add broccoli, bok choy, mushrooms, peppers, cabbage to the yaki udon noodles.
For protein, I love to add tofu chunks or crumbles and soy meat or textured vegetable proteins, etc. These are my favorite go-to addons and it gives a perfect taste along with udon noodles.
Here I'm using the dry udon noodles to make my yaki udon. You can also use pre-cooked and frozen once. Pre-cooked fresh or frozen udon noodles help to enhance the chewy texture of the noodles.
However, I love it when made from scratch also. It takes 7 - 8 minutes more to cook the noodles since these are thicker and needs to cook at a low temperature.
I use this udon noodles. Though this is thick, this also comes out little flat when cooked.
What is udon noodles?
Udon noodles are the thickest Japanese special noodles made with wheat flour. This is popular comfort food in Japanese cuisine. It has a subtle flavor and it easily absorbs the flavors.
Udon noodles are more filling because of their thickness. Also, this calls for lesser toppings as compared to thin noodles like ramen noodles. You can make it in many ways, like soup, curry, stir-fry, etc. Udon noodles are always vegan whereas ramen noodles may contain eggs.
What is yaki udon?
The stir-fried version of udon noodles is known as yaki udon. Yaki refers to stir-fry in Japanese. However, this is different from yakisoba noodles. Yakisoba is prepared by frying ramen-style wheat noodles, whereas soba noodles are buckwheat flour noodles.
But make sure to check the labels before buying. Soba noodles (buckwheat flour noodles) are healthier than the udon noodle since it's completely gluten-free and if you have celiac disease or gluten resistance, go for 100% buckwheat noodles.
Is yaki udon noodles healthy for you?
Yes, yaki udon is not only delicious but also healthier. Udon is a wheat flour noodle. If you will check the packet, the ingredient list contains 2 ingredients only, i.e. wheat and salt. Though it's not good for people with celiac disease, it's way better than pasta. Also, these are naturally egg-free and vegan, unlike ramen noodles.
How to make Yaki Udon?
Udon noodles - dry or cooked (Cooked - fresh or frozen). Frozen udon is recommended since they give a nice chewiness to the noodles which is a distinct specialty of the udon noodles.
Toasted sesame oil + canola oil - Toasted sesame oil has a strong aroma and this adds a classic Asian flavor. But it can be neutralized with canola oil or olive oil or any vegetable oil.
Vegetables - Onion, garlic, broccoli, mushrooms, bok choy. You can also add other veggies like cabbage, carrots as well.
Protein - Here I have taken Tofu for vegan. To make your crispy tofu you can season and shallow fry it or bake it or air fry it simply. While choosing tofu, If not vegan you can add your favorite proteins.
Stir fry sauce - dark soy sauce + hot sauce (chili sauce/ sriracha) + brown sugar + Rice wine vinegar + Worcestershire sauce (or vegan Worcestershire sauce). Some more alternatives are mirin, oyster sauce.
To make this yaki udon, the method is to prepare the udon noodle, stir fry the veggies and protein, then assemble them with stir-fry sauce and stir fry for 3 - 4 minutes till the udon noodle absorbs the flavors of sauces.
To make the tofu crispy, marinate it with a little soy sauce, cornstarch. Then shallow fry till it's cooked. Otherwise, you can also crumble the tofu roughly to add smaller bites.
Udon noodles (Dry and Fresh/ Frozen)
You can make either dry udon or fresh udon. Fresh udon is normally available as frozen noodles if you are buying them from the market.
Also, you can make them at home and then freeze them for some time before use. This adds a more chewy texture to the noodle. However, you can make your stir-fried yaki udon without freezing also.
These fresh and frozen noodles are a little pre-cooked before being vacuum-packed. So they take a little less time to get cooked than the dry noodles.
How to cook Udon noodles?
Fill 3/4th water in a large stockpot. Add salt and bring it to a boil. Now add the dry noodle to the bowl. Then simmer for 7 - 8 minutes or till the noodle is cooked perfectly and al dente (Koshi in Japanese).
Check the doneness of noodles by plucking a noodle from the pot and then dropping it in cold water and taking a bite. The noodle should be tender with no hard bite of the center (since these are thick noodles). It should be soft but not of a mushy texture.
If you are using pre-cooked noodles (fresh or frozen), cook for 2 - 3 minutes in hot water. When we add frozen noodles, the boiling point drops. But that's okay to cook these thick noodles.
Once cooked, strain out using a sieve or colander. Then rinse them under cold running water so that they won't get overcooked and this also removes the surface starch. Drizzle 1 tbsp oil over the noodle and lightly mix them all so that they won't be sticky and clump together.
Stir-fry the udon noodles
Press the tofu hard using a tofu press to release excess water. Dice the block into bite-sized pieces. Place them in a bowl. Add soy sauce and cornstarch. Marinate the tofu cubes in soy sauce and cornstarch. Heat oil in a pan and pan-fry till all sides are cooked nicely. This may take additional 7 - 8 minutes.
Heat oil in a pan. Add chopped onions, garlic, and sauté for 10 seconds. Add chopped vegetables and mushrooms. Sauté for 4 - 5 minutes or till it's cooked soft. Next, add the crispy tofu or baked tofu to the pan.
Now add the cooked udon noodles followed by the stir-fry sauce. Give them a nice stir mixing all ingredients.
Yaki Udon (Stir-fried Udon)
Yaki Udon (Stir-fried Udon Noodles)
- 200 gms dry udon or 400gms fresh or frozen
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 small broccoli head cut into bite sized pieces
- 100 gms tofu pressed and diced
- 200 gms mushrooms
- 2 - 3 bak choy
- 2 green onion strings
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
Stir fry sauce
- 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tsp rice wine vinegar (or mirin)
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp hot sauce
- 1/4 tsp black pepper powder
- 1 tsp worcesteshire sauce (vegetarian or vegan)
- Take water in a bowl.
- Add salt to this & bring it to boil.
- Add dry or cooked noodles.
- Bring it to a boil and simmer for sometime.
- Cook for 6 - 8 minutes or till its cooked al dente.
- Fresh or frozen udon will take 3 - 4 minutes.
- When cooked, drain out using a sieve or colander.
- Take out the tofu block and press hard using a tofu press or any heavy object.
- Then dice the tofu into small pieces or roughly break into bite-sized chunks.
- Place the tofu in a bowl. Add 2 tbsp soy sauce and 1 tbsp corn starch.
- Stir thoroughly so that all chunks are nicely coated.
- In a skillet heat mix of canola oil.
- Add chopped onions, garlic and saute for 10 - 15 seconds.
- Then add diced vegetables and marinated tofu.
- You can crumble the tofu or dice in small cubes.
- Saute veggies for 4 minutes or till cooked soft. Flip the tofu on all sides.
- Then add the cooked udon noodles.
- In a small bowl, add all the ingredients mentioned above in the list for stir fry sauce.
- Add the stir fry sauce and give them a nice stir.
- Saute for 2 minutes. Turn off heat.
- Garnish with spring onions and toasted sesame seeds.
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