My vegan yaki udon (stir fry udon noodles) recipe is an easy one for weeknight dinner ideas. I had my first yaki udon in Malaysia at 17. But nothing prepared me for the life-changing taste of Yaki udon from the streets of Japan.
Love your udon? It does not surprise me how easy it is to fall in love with this silky smooth noodles. The thick, bouncy wheat-flour noodles commonly used in Japanese cuisine is one of its kind. Served both hot and chilled the Udon noodles are truly versatile. Plus, there is something about the sound of someone making the slurping sound when enjoying their bowl of udon noodles.
How to Cook Udon Noodles
The udon noodles, if you are not familiar with it, can be quite confusing to handle. You can get both dried and fresh udon noodles from the shop. You will most probably find the fresh, vacuum packaged noodles. Either way, you need to ‘prepare’ udon noodles prior to ‘cooking’ them.
Dried udon noodles: cook dried noodles in salted boiling water. Follow the packet instructions however from experience, dried udon noodles tend to take between 8 minutes to 10 minutes to be ready.
Fresh udon noodles: same as above. Cook fresh noodles in boiling salted water. Generally for around 2 to 3 minutes.
The best way to gauge is via the touch test like you would pasta. Remove udon from boiling water as it starts to softens yet firm to bite.
To get the best results, you will need to do this step even when you are stir-frying or making soupy udon noodles.
Fresh Udon noodles are best to be kept in the fridge, while dried udon noodles can stay in the pantry. Cooked yaki udon can be frozen although, with wheat noodles, they are best eaten fresh.
Delicious Yaki Udon
My first experience with udon noodles was right after high school in Malaysia. Back then, foreign food and eatery that was not “Western” was a relatively new concept. Sure, we had MacDonalds, KFC, Italian food, and Steak houses, but that was really it.
My first Japanese food experience was from Sushi King, where I had my first sushi on the kaiten (train/conveyor) and udon noodles. I thought it was the best sushi & noodles ever! Until I moved to Australia , ate Japanese food here and ultimately, traveled to Japan and ate insanely delicious Japanese foods. This included the Yaki udon, a street food/market favorite.
Yaki Udon / Stir Fry Udon Recipe
You will find that recipes with udon noodles tend to be relatively simple. Udon noodles are often served simply stir-fried, in a broth or curry broth. They hardly come with lots of meat or vegetables or dairy. Most yaki udon I came across only consists of noodles, cabbage strips and sauce.
With this recipe, I decided to use up the autumn vegetables I have left in the fridge which complements the udon noodle well and gives this dish a vibrant touch. It took me my visit to Japan to realise why. Hand made Japanese udon is such a delicate and beautifully flavoured noodle with amazing texture that does not need much!
Yaki Udon – Stir Fry Udon Noodles [Vegan]
- 1 cup dried shitake mushrooms sliced or whole
- 1½ cup hot water
- 1½ tbsp Mirin
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- ¼ cup Soya sauce Kikkoman brand (preferable)
- 1 tsp Dark Soy Sauce
- 3 tbsp Vegetable oil
- ½ Onion thinly sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic julienne
- ½ inch Ginger julienne
- 1 cup Carrot julienne
- ½ cup Baby corn sliced
- ½ cup Capsicum julienne
- 1 cup Cabbage chopped
- ½ cup Bean curd / Taufoo sliced
- 1 cup Red Cabbage sliced
- ½ cup Spring onions
- 1 cup Enoki Mushrooms
- 400 gm / 0.1 lbs Udon Noodles blanched
- Black pepper
- Seaweed strips
- Sesame seeds
- In a bowl, combine dried shitake mushrooms and hot water
- steep mushrooms for a minimum of 1 hour or up to overnight. If steeping overnight, keep mushrooms in the fridge
Stir fry sauce
- In a bowl, combine mushroom broth, mirin, sugar and soy sauce and mix well
- Put sauce aside
Stir Fry Udon
- Add oil in hot wok
- Add onions, garlic and ginger, fry until fragrant and translucent
- Add vegetables such as carrots, corn, caprisum, cabbage and shitake mushrooms
- Fry for a few minutes
- Add udon noodles and stir
- Add stir fry sauce , salt and black pepper
- Add dark soy sauce and mix well
- Add beancurd, red cabbage, enoki mushrooms and spring onions
- Garnish with seaweed strips and sesame seeds
- No udon? replace with Hokkien Noodles
- No shitake mushrooms to make broth? Replace mushrooms broth with vegetable stock