Thick and chewy udon noodles served in a delicate and savory dashi broth. The beauty of this kake udon lies in its simplicity. This dish is essentially the base for most hot udon dishes and once you master it, you'll be producing restaurant quality udon in no time!
Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Sudachi Recipes earn a small percentage from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. See disclaimer for more info.
What is Kake Udon?
Kake udon (かけうどん) is a simple dish of udon noodles served in a light dashi broth. The noodles are thick and chewy, and the broth is perfectly balanced. Everything about kake udon is quite delicate and for many Japanese people, it tastes like home.
Kake udon is the base of most hot udon dishes and once you master this fundamental recipe, you can use it to make other dishes such as Tanuki Udon (hot udon with "tenkasu" tempura bits) or Kitsune Udon (hot udon with "inari age" sweet fried tofu).
Udon noodles are a type of thick, white and chewy noodle made from wheat flour. Because of their neutral flavour, they're perfect for the simple broths used in dishes like kake udon.
There are a few different types of udon noodles, the most popular one in Japan is called "Sanuki Udon" (讃岐うどん) which comes from Kagawa prefecture on the island of Shikoku in southern Japan. Sanuki udon are particularly thick and chewy with flat edges.
You can buy udon noodles fresh (chilled), dried and frozen. I personally like stocking up on frozen Sanuki udon because the cook quickly and have great texture, but of course it depends on accessibility and preference.
If you want a challenge, you could also try making your own udon noodles! You only need 3 ingredients (wheat flour, water and salt), it can be quite fun!
Making Dashi from Scratch (Best Flavour)
To make restaurant quality kake udon, I recommend to make your own dashi. It only takes about 30 minutes and it's well worth taking the extra time.
For the most flavourful and authentic tasting awase (mixed) dashi, I like to use:
If you're vegetarian or vegan, you can check out my plant based dashi recipe here.
Once the dashi is made, we simply flavour it with soy sauce and mirin.
Using Instant Dashi (Quick)
If you want to save yourself some hassle, you don't necessarily have to make your own dashi from scratch. You can also buy the following on Amazon:
Instant dashi powder is usually made mainly from bonito (skipjack tuna) powder, the one I've linked above also contains kombu, or you can choose sardine or vegetarian too.
The dashi bags contain kombu, bonito, niboshi and shiitake.
For these options, you'd follow the instructions on the package and then add the soy sauce and mirin accordingly. Just make sure to cook the broth on the stove for a few minutes to burn off the alcohol in the mirin.
Using Mentsuyu (Easy)
The last option is to use "mentsuyu" (めんつゆ). Mentsuyu is a sauce used for making broths and dips for noodles. I usually have a bottle of "Ninben Tsuyu sauce" (which you can buy on Amazon) in my fridge for convenience!
It is basically a concentrated noodle broth and you simply dilute it according to the dish you're making.
Although it might vary depending on the brand, for "Ninben Tsuyu":
- Dipping sauce for noodles (1 part tsuyu : 2 parts water)
- Noodle broth like Kake Udon (1 part tsuyu : 5~7 parts water)
- Tempura/donburi (1 part tsuyu : 2~3 parts water)
- Boiling nimono dishes (1 part tsuyu : 2-4 parts water)
- Hot pots (1 part tsuyu : 8~9 parts water)
- Oden (1 part tsuyu : 12~14 parts water)
Check the bottle for "めんのかけ汁" for the ratio of tsuyu to water for kake udon. You don't need to add soy sauce or mirin as mentsuyu already contains it.
Once you have your perfect udon and broth, it's time to add toppings. There are so many things you can add to udon, here are a few of the most popular:
- Spring onion
- Katsuobushi (bonito flakes)
- Tenkasu (tempura bits)
- Kamaboko / Narutomaki (fishcakes)
- Egg (raw or soft boiled)
- Inari Age (sweet fried tofu pocket)
- Wakame (seaweed)
- Grated ginger
It's also common to serve kake udon with tempura or a smaller serving with donburi (rice bowl). Check out my post, 11 delicious donburi dishes for more ideas!
More Udon Ideas on Sudachi Recipes
Love udon? Check out some of my other udon recipes!
- Curry Udon (Udon noodles in a curry broth)
- Miso Nikomi Udon (Nagoya style udon noodles in a red miso broth)
- Yaki Udon (Udon noodles stir fried in garlic butter and soy sauce)
- Zaru Udon (Chilled udon with homemade dipping sauce)
- Niku Udon (Hot udon in broth with beef)
Kake udon is a simple dish made of thick udon noodles served in a light dashi broth.
You can eat it on its own. It's commonly served as a side with donburi (rice bowl) dishes or with tempura.
The most simple version is just udon noodles, broth and spring onion. But you can add other toppings such as tenkasu (tempura bits), kamaboko (fish cake), etc. See in post for more ideas.