Introduction to Yaki Udon
By now I’m sure you’re all aware of my long-standing noodle obsession. One of my favorite noodle dishes of all time is this yaki udon. Udon noodles are super thick and lush and cook in under 2 minutes. So not only is this dish absolutely delicious, it’s the perfect 10-minute meal to make when you’re tired.
I purchase frozen udon noodles from my local H-Mart instead of making the noodles by hand. Then, all I have to do is boil my noodles for 1 minute and then prepare my sauce and veggies. It couldn’t be easier!
Breakdown of the Ingredients:
- Dark Soy Sauce: If you haven’t tried using dark soy sauce in your stir frys before, you need to run not walk, to your nearest grocery store. Dark soy sauce has a much richer flavor and I gravitate towards using it now.
- Brown Sugar: A lot of people aren’t aware of this, but a good stir fry requires some sugar to balance out the flavors. Otherwise, the dish will be all “one note.” Trust me, it won’t make the sauce sweet. It will just make the flavors mesh better together.
- Sriracha: Who doesn’t love adding a little heat? My go to for spice in stir fries is always sriracha. Chili garlic sauce could also work but keep in mind that it’s more tangy than sriracha. So the flavor won’t be exactly the same.
- Rice Vinegar: One of the most common questions I get is “what is rice vinegar?” Essentially, rice vinegar is a common ingredient used in stir frys. It tastes milder than regular white vinegar and also has a slightly sweeter taste.
- Ginger + Garlic: Ginger and garlic are classic ingredients in stir frys as well. They add warmth and depth of flavor to this dish.
- Cashew Butter: Cashew butter definitely isn’t a traditionally used ingredient in yaki udon. However, it adds a creamy and nutty flavor to the sauce. You can also use peanut butter instead. I just happened to have cashew butter on hand.
- Scallions: I like to sauté my scallions briefly in oil but some people prefer to use them only as an uncooked garnish. Personally, I think sautéing the scallions infuses the oil with a wonderful flavor.
- Sesame Oil + Canola Oil: Sesame oil on its own can be fairly strong. So it is best to dilute it with a neutral oil like canola. Otherwise, the sesame oil will completely overpower the dish.
- Frozen Udon: Now, if you have the energy to make udon noodles from scratch I commend you. It is definitely a labor of love. But, I highly recommend just buying your noodles frozen. They still taste pretty fantastic and it’s hard to tell the difference!
- Veggies: You can use whatever veggies and protein in this dish that you prefer. I typically use cabbage, shredded carrots, and baked tofu. For the tofu, I just bake my extra firm tofu at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Process + Keys to Success
- The best part about making this dish is that it’s so simple and quick to make. The entire process can be completed in under 10 minutes.
- Start by mixing together your dark soy sauce, rice vinegar, sriracha, brown sugar, and cashew butter in a small bowl to create your sauce.
- Then, add sesame oil to a skillet and sauté your scallions for 30 seconds or so before adding in your ginger and garlic. Cook another 30 seconds before adding in your veggies and protein of choice.
- While you’re veggies are cooking, boil your frozen udon for 1 minute (or according to package instructions). Then finish cooking your veggies for a minute or two and add in your cooked udon noodles and sauce.
- Mix everything together well and let the sauce thicken up. Finally, garnish with more scallions, and serve!
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp sriracha
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp ginger (finely chopped/crushed)
- 1 tbsp garlic (finely chopped
- 1 tsp cashew butter
- 1/4 bunch scallions
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1-2 tsps canola oil
- 1 packet frozen udon
- red cabbage and carrots (or veggies of choice)
- Mix soy, rice vinegar, sriracha, brown sugar, and cashew butter together to create a sauce
- Boil your frozen udon for 1 minute (or according to package instructions)
- Add sesame oil to a skillet and sauté your scallions for 30 seconds or so before adding in your ginger and garlic. Cook another 30 seconds before adding in your cabbage and carrots.
- Cook your veggies for a minute or two and then add in your cooked udon and sauce.
- MIx together well, and enjoy! Garnish with more scallions if desired.