Introduction to Fire Udon
I’ve made quite a few udon recipes and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon! Udon is definitely my kryptonite. This style of noodle is perfectly thick and chewy and absorbs sauce very well. This particular variation is inspired by one of my favorite fast food restaurants growing up in Toronto – Manchu Wok. Every weekend my dad and I would go to the mall food court and grab these spicy shanghai noodles with veggies.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Manchu Wok, it’s a fast food place similar to Panda Express. So, it’s definitely not the most authentic food. But nonetheless, it reminds me of my childhood in the best possible way. Now that I live in LA, I haven’t gone to Manchu Wok in years. So, when I was craving those shanghai noodles recently, I knew I had to make this recipe.
It’s a little spicier and tangier than what I remember those shanghai noodles to taste like, but it is absolutely simple and delicious. This is the perfect 5 minute meal to make after a long day of work or just when you’re generally feeling too exhausted to cook. Instead of whipping out a packet of instant ramen, you can make this amazing noodle dish with little to no extra added effort.
Breakdown of the Ingredients:
- Frozen Udon: While making udon from scratch can be rewarding, it is extremely time consuming. So it’s not exactly ideal for a 5-minute recipe! But trust me, frozen udon tastes amazing and it’s hard to tell the difference. I get mine from H-Mart.
- Dark Soy Sauce: Regular soy sauce can work this recipe too but I prefer dark soy sauce. If you’ve never tried dark soy sauce before, it basically just has a richer flavor than regular soy.
- Rice Vinegar: Rice vinegar adds the perfect amount of tanginess to this dish without being overpowering. Regular vinegar would be too strong. Rice vinegar on the other hand is milder and has a touch of sweetness. If you only have regular vinegar you can use that but I would recommend using a lower quantity and add a little sugar to it to neutralize the acidity. Another suitable substitute is lime juice.
- Sriracha + Gochugaru Chili Flakes: For the right element of spice I like to use a mix of both sriracha and gochugaru. Gochugaru is a Korean chili powder and it comes in a few varieties. I like to use the coarse version and I get this from H-Mart too.
- Brown Sugar: Brown sugar adds the perfect balance to this dish. Don’t worry, the noodles won’t taste sweet overall! The sugar just helps to even out the spice and tanginess.
- Canola Oil: I recommend using a neutral oil for this recipe like canola. Something like sesame oil or olive oil would end up altering the flavor.
Process and Keys to Success
The process to make these noodles couldn’t be simpler! Frozen udon isn’t only my favorite noodle because of it’s addicting texture, but also because it cooks in just a minute. All you have to do is drop your frozen udon into boiling water for a minute straight from the freezer. Then just drain your noodles and set aside.
For the sauce, all you have to do is combine your ingredients in a separate bowl. So just grab your soy sauce, rice vinegar, sriracha, gochugaru, and brown sugar and mix well. Then, heat your oil in a skillet and in your sauce. It only needs about a minute or less to simmer. You just want to heat the sauce slightly so the sugar melts.
Finally, just add in your drained noodles and mix well until the udon is coated evenly. And that’s it! It is really as simple as that. There is no cutting, chopping, or peeling required for this recipe! (Which for me, is definitely the most annoying part of cooking). All you have to do is boil the noodles and mix up your sauces and you’re ready to go. Once you try these noodles, you’ll be reaching for this recipe all the time. It’s just too convenient and delicious not to.
- 1 packet frozen udon
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp sriracha
- 1 tsp gochujaru chili flakes (Coarse)
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- Begin by boiling your udon noodles for a minute and drain.
- Add your oil to a skillet over medium heat and add in all of your sauces and spices – soy, sriracha, rice vinegar, gochujaru, and sugar.
- Let the sauce simmer for about 30 seconds or so on low heat until the sugar dissolves and then add in your udon.
- Mix everything well until the sauce thickens and coats the noodles evenly.
- Serve with scallions or tofu! Also, these noodles taste great with fried eggs. I tried this recipe with vegan "Just Egg" and it was amazing.