Japanese Yakiudon Recipe (Using Udon Noodles)
Christy, Sinkology’s food-loving recipe blogger, is here to share some recipes she has created for the Sinkology blog that reflect our view of a copper sink: simple, timeless, affordable, and beautifully rustic.
Asian food is definitely one type of cuisine I cook frequently for my family, especially stir-fry, simply because of its freshness, tastiness and versatility. It’s a great way to incorporate a variety of fresh ingredients with minimal effort. It also stir-fries quickly, which is a time-saver especially on busy school nights when I need an easy and healthy meal. The basics are already staples in my kitchen: Asian noodles or rice, fresh vegetables and a protein with some kind of Asian sauce and spices. The possibilities created are really endless whether it may be “authentic” or not. Stir-fry, to me, is really “kitchen sink” type cooking to use up whatever fresh herbs, vegetables, and proteins are on hand.
A recipe for fresh homemade udon noodles was posted earlier. I’m including our favorite yakiudon recipe using the same homemade udon noodles. However, you do not have to make your own udon noodles (but wouldn’t it be fun to?) and can buy the fresh or frozen ones at the store (the dried ones do not compare in texture). I like to make homemade teriyaki sauce too as well but again; you can use your favorite brand of store-bought thick teriyaki sauce too. It’s all about convenience and it will still be delicious.
This yakiudon bowl is loaded with textures and flavors: the chewiness of the udon noodles, the crisp tender of fresh veggies and flavorful juicy chicken mixed with sweet and savory sticky sauce. Your mouth will do a happy dance!
To start, I make a couple of preparations in advance but it isn’t necessary. I like to marinate a big batch of chicken thighs overnight in our favorite Asian marinade, which I’ve included in the recipe. I then use the chicken for several meals throughout the week. Sometimes we grill or broil the chicken to give it a slightly charred taste (I love the blackened bits of crispy chicken). But stir-frying thinly sliced or diced chicken works perfectly too. The teriyaki sauce is also quick to prepare – less 10 minutes start to finish.
Gather your vegetables – for this yakiudon, I use a green zucchini, a sweet onion, carrots, bunch of green onions and bean sprouts (which I forgot to pick up) because that’s what my family likes the most. I use my mandolin to quickly chop my vegetables. Those things are dangerous but so useful! I keep forgetting to buy one of those safety-cutting gloves (dear husband, here’s a hint). If no mandolin, cut into thin long sticks.
Heat up a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat with a tablespoon of canola oil. Udon noodles are very starchy and sticky so cooking them in a large non-stick skillet is highly recommended. Have your mise en place ready, as it will stir-fry very quickly. Throw all the vegetables in the hot skillet and stir-fry until the vegetables are crisp and tender, few minutes. Transfer the vegetables from the skillet to a plate and set aside.
If you are going to stir fry the chicken, then heat up another tablespoon of oil in the skillet. Cook the chicken thoroughly and drizzle some teriyaki sauce at the end. Stir to coat the chicken and then quickly transfer them to another plate and set aside.
Heat up another tablespoon of oil and add the prepared udon noodles in a single layer (don’t overcrowd, cook in batches if necessary). Leave undisturbed for 3-4 minutes, checking underneath a noodle for a little bit of browning. Once they have browned sufficiently, drizzle some teriyaki sauce over the noodles and stir to combine. Let cook for couple more minutes until they caramelize. Once the noodles have caramelized, add the plate of veggies back into the skillet and cook for another minute or two until the veggies are heated thoroughly again.
Scoop the noodles and veggies into bowls. Top each bowl with cooked chicken, thinly sliced green onions, sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds and then drizzled with more teriyaki sauce. Dig in with chopsticks if you’re feeling adventurous!
- • ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
- • ¾ cup water
- • ½ cup brown sugar
- • ½ tsp. ground ginger
- • ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
- • 2 garlic cloves – smashed whole or into big pieces for easy removal later
- • 1 Tbsp water mixed with 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- • ¼ cup brown sugar
- • ¼ low sodium soy sauce
- • 1 lime juiced (about 2 Tbsp.)
- • ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
- • ¼ tsp. curry powder
- • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
- • 4 garlic cloves – crushed through garlic press
- • 4 boneless and skinless chicken thighs
- • ½ batch homemade udon noodles, cooked and rinsed in cold water OR use store bought udon noodles cooked according to package instructions
- • 1 green zucchini – julienned
- • one small sweet or yellow onion – slivered
- • 2 carrots – julienned
- • 1 cup bean sprouts
- • 2 green onions – green part only, finely sliced for garnish
- • toasted sesame seeds
- • thick teriyaki sauce (homemade above recipe or store bought)
- • 4 chicken thighs
- • neutral oil like canola or vegetable oil
- In a medium pan, combine soy sauce, water, brown sugar, ground ginger, crushed red pepper, and garlic cloves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When it reaches full boil, lower the temperature and simmer for 5 minutes to blend flavors, stirring occasionally. Stir in the cornstarch slurry and cook until the sauce is thickened, couple minutes. Remove from heat and remove the big pieces of garlic and discard. Let cool and then transfer to airtight container. Good for up to 2 weeks in refrigerator.
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and pour over chicken in a sealed glass container or ziplock bag. Let marinade in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours but overnight is best. Discard the remaining marinade. Grill the chicken on outdoor grill or under the broiler for 5-10 minutes per side depending on the thickness. Set aside.
- Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat with a tablespoon of canola oil. Add the green zucchini, onions, carrots, bean sprouts and cook until crisp tender, few minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- If stir-frying the chicken, cook the chicken until thoroughly cooked. Drizzle some teriyaki sauce to coat the chicken and stir to combine. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.
- Heat another tablespoon of oil in the same skillet, place udon noodles in a single layer and cook undisturbed for 3-4 minutes until it starts to brown lightly on the bottom. Drizzle about 2-4 tablespoons of teriyaki sauce over the noodles and stir to combine. Let it caramelize for a minute or two; add the plate of veggies back into the skillet. Cook for another minute or two until the veggies are thoroughly heated again.
- Divide into 4 bowls, top with thinly sliced chicken, sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds. Drizzle with additional teriyaki sauce.
- The teriyaki sauce and marinade can be prepared in advance. Serves 4.