Udon are a type of Japanese noodle made by adding a small amount of salt to wheat flour, kneading it with water, rolling it out and cutting it into strips, then boiling it. It is believed that it was introduced from Tang during the Nara period (710-794).
They come in a wide range of thicknesses, but are popular for their distinctive firm and slightly chewy texture.
Udon is extremely versatile and has been loved by people in Japan for hundreds of years, hence there are so many different kinds of udon recipes in Japan. So in this article, I will introduce a list of authentic Japanese udon recipes that you've gotta try!
- Kake udon (かけうどん)
- Beef udon (牛肉うどん)
- Pork udon (豚肉うどん)
- Curry udon (カレーうどん)
- Zaru udon (ざるうどん)
- Kitsune udon (きつねうどん)
- Chicken yaki udon
- Shrimp yaki udon
- Bukkake udon (ぶっかけうどん)
- Red miso udon (味噌煮込みうどん)
- Nabeyaki udon (hotpot udon)
- Beef sukiyaki udon
- Oyako udon (chicken and egg soup udon)
- Shrimp tempura udon
- Vegetable tempura udon
Kake udon (かけうどん)
Kake udon is a dish of boiled udon topped with hot dashi broth. It's considered as the simplest form of udon noodle soup dish. Kake udon is the base of most hot udon dishes and once you master this fundamental recipe, you'll be able to make many more udon soups.
Once you know how to make kake udon broth, you can make a lot of different udon dishes. In my recipe, I included step-by-step process from making dashi from scratch to the kake udon soup itself!
Beef udon (牛肉うどん)
Beef udon is one of the varieties of niku udon (meat udon). Although chicken and pork can be used for niku udon, beef goes the best in my opinion.
It's not necessary to use expensive beef for this dish, but I do recommend thinly sliced, fatty cut for the best texture and flavour. In Japan, we often use fatty end cuts. The beef fat dissolves into the broth and makes it richer and tastier! Thigh, loin or belly all work fine.
Pork udon (豚肉うどん)
Another variation of niku udon! Pork udon (豚肉うどん) or "butaniku udon" is a type of hot noodle dish made with thick udon noodles served in a tasty dashi broth and topped with marinated pork and sautéed onions.
I find that beef udon is quite rich and meaty, while pork udon is a bit lighter but packed with umami. They're both delicious, that's for sure!
Curry udon (カレーうどん)
General curry udon can be explained as "curry-flavored ankake udon," which is made by dissolving curry powder and thickening it with potato starch in a sauce made with bonito flakes or other Japanese-style dashi used for udon in general.
Today, it is one of the most popular noodle dishes served at udon and soba restaurants throughout Japan.
Web story is also available for curry udon below!
Zaru udon (ざるうどん)
Zaru Udon is a dish of boiled noodles that are then cooled and served in a colander or bamboo tray called a "zaru". As you can guess, this is everyone's favourite in the humid and hot summer in Japan!
In my recipe, I explain not only how to cool down udon, but also how to make homemade dipping sauce for zaru udon from scratch!
Kitsune udon (きつねうどん)
Kitsune Udon is one of the ultimate Japanese comfort dishes with its iconic sweet and flavourful twice-fried tofu pouch we call "aburaage". This is a classic dish that you can enjoy down to the very last slurp!
Although it varies from region to region, the aburaage used here is first boiled in hot water to remove the excess oil and then seasoned with sugar, soy sauce, and mirin.
Chicken yaki udon
Yakiudon is a dish made by stir-frying udon noodles with meat, vegetables, or other ingredients with various seasonings. It's basically a udon version of yakisoba.
In my chicken yaki udon recipe, I opted for a golden combo for the sauce, garlic, butter and soy sauce! Check out the recipe for details.
Shrimp yaki udon
This is another variation of yaki udon using shrimps! Yaki udon is best known for containing some kind of meat (usually pork but can also be chicken or beef), however in this recipe, I use king prawns.
Unlike the chicken one above, I made lemon sauce to make it more refreshing that is suitable for seafood. Check out the sauce in the recipe page!
Bukkake udon (ぶっかけうどん)
Bukkake udon is a type of udon dish and one of the specialties of Okayama and Kagawa prefectures. It is characterized by the strong dipping sauce that is "bukkake" directly onto the noodles.
The word "bukkake" (ぶっかけ) in a food context means "simple food that only has sauce on". It implies bukkake udon is a simple and fast udon dish.
Red miso udon (味噌煮込みうどん)
Miso nikomi udon is a classic noodle dish from Nagoya, Japan. It's actually roughly where I'm from, so I've been eating this dish regularly for my whole life!
Thick udon noodles are served in a rich and warming red miso broth, then topped with thinly sliced pork and a variety of ingredients. It's especially recommended for someone who likes thick soup or the rich flavour of red miso!
Nabeyaki udon (hotpot udon)
Nabeyaki udon is a dish of udon noodles, dashi based soup, and ingredients simmered in a pot. It is one of the dishes that not only warms the body from the inside out, but also allows the flavor of the broth to soak into the body.
Although "yaki" is the Japanese word for fry/grill, it is completely different from "yaki udon" which is a kind of noodle stir fry. Nabeyaki udon falls under the category of hotpot dishes.
Beef sukiyaki udon
Sukiyaki udon is a rich and tasty dish made with udon noodles served in a simplified "sukiyaki soup" and simmered with meat, tofu and vegetables. The process is simple so it doesn't require a lot of work unlike actual sukiyaki.
You could say that it's an easy way to enjoy sukiyaki without all the hassle!
Oyako udon (chicken and egg soup udon)
Oyako udon (親子うどん) is a simple dish made with pan fried chicken thigh and simmered egg served in a light, dashi base udon soup. You could say that it's a combination of oyakodon, kake udon soup and egg drop soup!
This popular Japanese home cooked dish is comforting, filling and warming. Many people eat oyako udon when they're feeling under the weather or they've lost their appetite, it's a healing dish that always goes down a treat!
Shrimp tempura udon
Shrimp tempura udon is a classic Japanese dish made with chewy udon noodles in a tasty dashi broth topped with delicious shrimp tempura, spring onion and kamaboko (Japanese fish cakes). It's one of the most popular noodle dishes in Japan!
Without a doubt, shrimp is by far the most popular kind of tempura in Japan. On Ranking.net, shrimp is ranked first out of 60 other ingredients! It's usually placed on top of the udon allowing it to soak up the broth, but you can serve it on the side depending on your preference!
Vegetable tempura udon
This is the vegetable tempura variation! It's basically kake udon with vegetable tempura. The great thing about this dish, is that you can use any of your favourite vegetables. I personally use the following:
- Perilla leaf (known in Japanese as "shiso" or "oba")
- Shiitake mushrooms
Other popular options are:
- Lotus root (renkon)
- Kabocha (Japanese pumpkin/squash)
- Sweet potato
- Bell peppers / piman