How to Cook Udon Noodles: Your Ultimate Guide

Sarah Food & Recipes
19 Min Read

Learning how to cook udon noodles will open up a rich culinary experience for you. This exquisite Japanese cuisine is packed with flavors as well as culture and history.  A versatile and delicious dish like udon is sure to capture your heart and stomach immediately.

The steps in how to cook udon noodles are basic and simple. The thick noodles and the rich dashi broth are not difficult to make.

Japanese udon noodles are versatile because they give you the freedom to play with flavors when you make the broth. Keep it plain and simple with some Dashi, or you can make it creamy and rich.

Add your favourite meat of choice for extra flavour or make curry Udon for something new and exciting. Replace the curry with some miso paste and you have a new udon broth with you! The choices are endless!

how to cook udon noodles
By vichie81 on Unlimphotos

It’s time for you to get your aprons ready and to prepare your chopsticks. We will delve into detail about how to make udon noodles.

We will also tell you about the types of toppings you can add to your noodles to make the best udon noodles. Stir-fried vegetables like bok choy carrots, etc., fish cakes, mushrooms, and more!

In this article, we give you the techniques and ways that tell you how to cook udon noodles at home easily.

1. How to Cook Udon Noodles: What is Udon? 

Just like rice is a staple in Asian cuisine, udon is also a staple in Japan. It’s a chewy noodle made from wheat flour and is the epitome of nostalgia for most citizens of Japan. It was particularly famous in South Japan, specifically in Kyushu and Osaka.

The chewy and soft noodles along with the rich umami broth create a symphony of flavors that will make your tastebuds explode.  Bring an exquisite taste and a traditional element into your kitchen.

Stir Fry Udon Noodles With Prawn - Easy And Delicious! | ASMR

The history that connects with the people of the past, the first time it was invented, the purpose of its origin, the rise of its popularity, and the love the Japanese locals have for this dish today.

In this article, we will provide you with a detailed guide on udon recipes, how to cook udon noodle, their history, and tips and tricks.

1.1 How to Cook Udon Noodles: History

Udon is chewy rice noodles and is incredibly famous in the south of Japan. The origin of these noodles is debatable, to say the least. Some say that udon has its source in the Tang Dynasty in China and was later popularised in Japan during the 1600s.

The birthplace of udon is the Ayagawa town. Udon at the time of its origin in Japan, did not have the thick, long, chewy noodle texture that we know of today. Instead, they looked more like dumplings. They are flattened into small square-sized shapes and then cooked in the broth.

Even when we talk about how the udon noodle recipe was brought from China to Japan, there is one single man who should be credited.

The credit can be attributed to a monk named Kukai. He brought this udon recipe to Japan during his trip to China. He was a research scholar there.

how to cook udon noodles
By just Scott on Unlimphotos

Udon was originally supposed to be a form of nourishing food for wage workers, laborers, and farmers. Today, the dish has evolved and it is one of the classics of Japanese cuisine. Udon is not just a food of Japanese Origin, but rather a root that brings Japan’s culture and culinary history together.

2. How to Cook Udon Noodles? 

Frozen udon noodles are as simple as cooking pasta. You just need to cook the noodles until they turn into soft and chewy noodles and then remove them from the heat. Add it to a broth and viola! Your dish is ready!

how to cook udon noodles
By maxcab on Unlimphotos

Udon noodles are nothing like rice noodles. Compared to noodles made from buckwheat flour, they are thicker. Buckwheat soba noodles are another Japanese delicacy that you can look into. They come under the category of cold noodle dishes.

Making udon from the beginning is a time-consuming task and requires dedication. But if you’re determined and on a culinary adventure, then it’s worth it!

2.1 Ingredients

  • Water
  • Salt
  • Wheat Flour
  • Potato Starch

2.2 Instructions

  • The water for making udon should be lukewarm.
  • You need to start making a dough.
  • For this, mix salt and flour Then slowly add water.
  • When the mixture comes together, you can knead for five to eight minutes. This helps to make the noodles chewy.
  • Rest it for 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes are over, you can start making the noodles.
  • The dough can be sticky, to overcome that, use potato starch for dusting.
  • Roll the dough in 1/8 inch and cut 1/4 inch strips.
  • At the same time, in a pot on medium heat, let water and salt come to a] boil.
  • Cook the noodles in the boiling water.
  • After this, you can drain and rinse them in cold water. This helps to prevent overcooking.
  • Your udon is ready to be added to any broth and enjoyed! To store this, you can use an airtight container.

3. How to Cook Udon Noodles’ Broth?

Today, as time and culture have evolved, so has udon. We can use a wide variety of ingredients to create different types of broth udon. But originally, udon in its most authentic form had a very simple broth.

Known as Kakejiru, the broth was made just dashi, mirin which is a type of rice wine that is mainly used in Japanese cooking, and regular soy sauce. This was known as Kake udon.

Udon broths are very simple and light. Ramen noodle broths, on the other hand, focus on their richness. They explode with saltiness and umami flavors in the mouth. They are also quite heavy.

3.1 How to Cook Udon Noodles Broth: Dashi-Based  Broth

how to cook udon noodles
By Jochen on Unlimphotos

3.1.1 Ingredients

  • Dashi (In powdered form or stock, also known as Japanese Soup Stock)
  • Soy Sauce (Light is preferred, but you can also use dark soy sauce)
  • Sugar
  • Mirin
  • Salt

3.1.2 Instructions

Dashi is Japanese stock. It’s readily available at Asian grocery stores and you can just follow the package directions. To make dashi at home, you need Kombu and Bonito Flakes.  Kombu is the seaweed that has a white powder-looking substance over it.  and bonito flakes are dried fish flakes.

  • Wipe the Kombu gently, guaranteeing that you do not wipe the white substance off the seaweed completely.
  • Soak the Kombu for half an hour in water.
  • Now you can place the water and Kombu over heat. Remove the Kombu, before the water is boiling.
  • After removing the Kombu, you can add the fish or bonito flakes.
  • When the water has boiled, you will lower the heat.
  • The flakes will sink to the bottom of the pan when you remove it from the heat.
  • Once that happens, you can strain the broth.
  • Put the strained liquid back on heat and add mirin and soy sauce in it. Add sugar and salt.
  • You can now use this broth also known as kakejiru to make kake udon. You can also store it in an airtight container for the future.

3.2 Creamy Udon Noodles Broth 

how to cook udon noodles
By leungchopan on Unlimphotos

Of course, aside from the traditional udon, this udon noodle broth has a modern twist to it.  It’s rich in texture and it’s flavourful, to say the least.

3.2.1 Ingredients

  • All-purpose Flour
  • A small onion
  • Milk or Cream
  • Chicken Broth
  • Butter
  • Minced Garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Frozen udon noodles or Home-made Udon noodles

3.2.2 Ingredients

  • Add butter and garlic to the pan and cook.
  • Add flour and cook to remove the raw flour flavor. This will create a roux.
  • In this, add cream or milk and mix. Now slowly add your chicken broth to this creamy sauce.
  • Let the broth simmer, and then add your salt and pepper.
  • You can now add your noodles to this broth and enjoy!

4. How to Cook Udon Noodles: Beef Niku Udon 

how to cook udon noodles
By Ilianesolenyi on Unlimphotos

Usually, the preferred meat for udon noodles is pork. But beef is also widely used in the west of Japan, mainly in the Kansai Region.

Niku Udon means meat udon. This udon noodle recipe is topped with thinly sliced fatty cuts of beef. It gives the udon a whole new flavor.

4.1 Ingredients

  • Dashi Broth
  • Mirin
  • Soy Sauce
  • Sake
  • Minced Garlic
  • Sliced Onions
  • Oyster Sauce
  • Brown sugar
  • Green Onions
  • Oil
  • Frozen udon noodles or Home-made Udon noodles

4.2 Instructions

  • First, marinate your beef. Choose fatty pieces of beef. Slice them as thinly as possible.
  • Add oyster sauce, soy sauce, sake, mirin, and sugar to the beef.
  • In a pot with oil, add onions and garlic.
  • A few minutes later, add the beef to the pot.
  • Add the dashi broth and let the entire thing simmer. If you are out of dashi broth, you can also add beef broth.
  • Now you can add your udon noodles, garnish with green onions and stir-fried vegetables, and enjoy!

5. How to Cook Udon Noodles: Curry Udon

카레 우동/ curry udon/how to cook /recipe#51

A flavourful fusion of the rich Japanese curry and the light udon noodles broth, curry udon noodles are a delicacy and a must-try.

5.1 Ingredients

  • Any type of protein
  • Dashi Broth
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Mirin or rice vinegar
  • Soy Sauce
  • Japanese Curry cubes or roux
  • Salt
  • Green Onions
  • Sliced Onion
  • Frozen udon noodles or Home-made Udon noodles

5.2 Instructions

  • Cook onions and the protein of your choice in a frying pan.
  • Now add mirin, soy sauce, and sugar to the beef and onions.
  • In a pot, heat dashi broth and add the Japanese curry cubes to it. Mix well. Now add beef. Let it simmer.
  • Cook your udon noodles and serve hot with some chopped scallions and stir-fried vegetable toppings like carrots, mushrooms, bok choy, and more!

6. How to Cook Udon Noodles: Kimchi Udon

how to cook udon noodles
By Gamjai on Unlimphotos

Why not go bold with a Korean fusion of Udon Noodles? This dish will be spicy and comforting at the same time. This is a delicious and easy recipe and makes for a yummy lunch.

6.1 Ingredients

  • Kimchi
  • Dashi Broth/Chicken Broth
  • Gochujang
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Sliced Onions
  • Green Onions
  • Fried Tofu/Sliced Beef
  • Udon Noodles

6.2 Instructions

  • Chop the kimchi into bite size.
  • Add kimchi and onions into a pot and let them cook. Once fragrant, add the protein gochujang and sugar and fry for a few minutes.
  • Add the dashi broth and soy sauce and let the entire broth simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add salt. Keep in mind that the ingredients added already have a lot of salt in them, so add very little salt.
  • Now you can add your cooked noodles into the broth.

8. How To Cook Udon Noodles: Toppings 

You can customize your udon noodles according to whatever flavor you like.  The choices are plenty.

  • Vegetables: Stir-fried vegetables are a great addition to udon. You can chop some vegetables like bok choy, carrots,  spinach, potatoes,  onions, mushrooms, etc. Add these stir-fried vegetables to the dashi broth and let them cook into the broth itself. This will create a fulfilling meal. Some fried chilies, burnt garlic, or caramelized onion is also an excellent addition.
how to cook udon noodles
By charlotteLake on Unlimphotos
  • Tempura:  Aside from stir-frying, you can fry different types of vegetables like bok choy in this tempura batter or even fish like shrimp. Tempura fried vegetables and fish generally is considered a well-known topping for udon noodles.
  • Narutomaki: Ever seen a flower-shaped topping on ramen or noodles in advertised Japanese noodles? It is white and has a pink swirly design inside. This is Narutomaki. This is also a type of kamaboko or cured fish and a popular topping. If fish is not what you like, you can always add some baked tofu.
  • Sesame seeds and seaweed: Toast some sesame seeds and crush them. Now add them over your udon broth for some enhanced flavor. And as we know,  noodle dishes are never complete without the final touch of crunchy seaweed! Crumble up some Nori to enhance your udon noodles. Or add Wakame seaweed. This will give you the chewiness and a hint of ocean to your broth.
  • Eggs: Boiled Egg gives your broth a creaminess and has excellent flavor. If you cannot enjoy raw yolks, you can always add pan-fried eggs or even fully-cooked boiled eggs for added flavor.

9. How to Cook Udon Noodles: Tips and Prevention

how to cook udon noodles
By Satura86 on Unlimphotos

Here are some key points that you need to keep in mind when you are cooking and making fresh udon noodles

  • Don’t overcook the noodles. Make sure that you cook them enough that they still have their chewy texture.
  • To avoid overcooking, you need to avoid skipping the rinse part. This means that, when the noodle is cooked, immediately rinse it in some cold water so that it doesn’t cook anymore.
  • Do not skip on toppings. The broth and noodles are extremely light to eat. Add delicious flavourful toppings to enhance your bowl of noodles. As we have mentioned before, stir-fried vegetables are a great addition.
  • Of course, this also means that you avoid too many toppings that will complicate the taste of the broth or noodles. Add flavors that go well together only.
  • The Dashi Broth can easily turn salty if you’re not careful. Remember that the other elements of the dish are also full of flavor and seasonings.

10. Conclusion 

Cooking is a work of art. There is a common saying “Way to the heart is through the stomach”.  You can grab anyone’s love with your culinary skills.

The Chinese food is one of the favorites worldwide. Children and adults enjoy noodles as part of their meals or sometimes as a snack.

Cooking noodles does not take much effort. Choose one of the recipes mentioned and impress your loved one.  You can make a romantic surprise dinner for your spouse or spice up the romance with your love.

Add vegetables to the noodles and a healthy food is ready for your children.  Impress them today and thank us later.

As we conclude this guide on how to cook udon noodles, we hope that you will implement these tips. We also hope that you will have a good culinary experience. Some of the other udon recipes that you can look into are yaki udon (stir-fried udon noodles).

Whether you want to make the simple dashi broth, Kakejiru, or even beek niku udon—these are an expression of art.

At the end of this, the steaming bowl of broth with its chewy long noodles and stir-fried vegetables is the outcome of your hard work and dedication.

Do not forget to tell us about your experience in cooking Udon Noodles in the comment section. If you liked our recipe,  then do not forget to share the article with your family and friends.

Last Updated on by ditz1010

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1 Comment
  • Fabulous article indeed! I would often order Udon noodles at my local Japanese eatery. But never did I bother to appreciate the intricate culture and art of making various udon-based broths and recipes. The article surely piques my interest in making some of these dishes at home.

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