One of the first things I made when I initially started experimenting with cooking as a young child was yakiudon. My mom used to get these 4-packs of udon noodles from Superstore and after following a basic recipe list on the back of the packing, it’s become one of my favourite things to cook in a pinch. Although my palette has drastically improved since I was 10-years old, the basics are all there.
The great thing about yakiudon is that it is super adaptable. You can literally put anything you want in it! Very customizable. For this recipe, I chose to stick to the basics: onion, cabbage, carrots and mushrooms. The sauce for this is a savoury one, with a bit of tang. I like to use either Worcestershire or Chinese black vinegar. The flavours are quite similar and not as acidic as most vinegars out there. The soy sauce when cooked along with a high heat, makes for great wok wearing which adds smokiness and depth to the dish.
Don’t forget your toppings! I almost always go with Japanese kewpie mayonnaise, sriracha sauce, green onions and shredded roasted nori strips. If you have bonito flakes, this would be an excellent opportunity for them. That, or some Japanese pickled ginger.
Note - If using frozen udon noodles, boil and cook them according to packaged directions. You can do this for the udon noodles that are unrefrigerated, you can add the udon noodles directly into the pan or boil beforehand. Either method works. I’m always lazy and like to save myself another put and insert the noodles directly into the pan and loosen them with the liquids - I guess some things haven’t changed since I was 10!
YAKIUDON - serves 4
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 white onion, diced
1/4 white cabbage, sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 (200g) pkgs udon noodles* - see note above
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp Chinese black vinegar
freshly cracked black pepper
1 small bunch scallions, sliced + white ends cut into 1/2“ pieces
Japanese kewpie mayonnaise, sriracha, nori shreds, bonito flakes - optional
In a large wok, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
Add in the onion and cook until the onions are softened and you see a bit of colour to it.
Add in the cabbage, mushrooms and carrots until al dente. Add a bit of the soy sauce to help the vegetables cook down.
Add in the udon noodles and the rest of the soy sauce and Chinese black vinegar. Stir fry until you see some wok sear on the noodles and vegetables. Add black pepper and turn off heat.
Top with your favourite condiments and serve.