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What is Nabeyaki Udon?
Nabeyaki udon (鍋焼うどん), or “nabeyaki” for short, is not your average udon dish. While most udon soup dishes are served in a bowl and topped with a few simple ingredients, nabeyaki udon is cooked with a variety of meat and vegetables in a “donabe” (土鍋) earthenware pot.
Because of all of the different ingredients, nabeyaki udon is very filling and nutritious, it’s especially comforting in winter!
Although “yaki” is the Japanese word for fry/grill, it is completely different from “yaki udon, ” a kind of noodle stir fry. Nabeyaki udon falls under the category of hotpot dishes.
How I Developed This Recipe
Nabeyaki udon is a unique dish that combines elements of both udon and nabe, requiring a harmony of various ingredients. In developing this recipe, I took special care to create a broth that enhances fresh vegetables’ natural flavor and the oily flavors added by shrimp tempura.
This focus ensures that each component, from the noodles to the tempura, is complemented by the rich and savory broth.
The result is a delicious one-pot recipe that is not only satisfying but also embodies the essence of both udon and nabe traditions. I hope you enjoy the depth and comfort this dish offers!
Ingredients & Substitution Ideas
- Dashi Broth: A crucial element for flavor. Choose from simple awase dashi, vegan dashi, or use instant dashi granules or packets for convenience.
- Soy Sauce: Kikkoman is a globally trusted and affordable brand. For a deeper understanding and more options, refer to my comprehensive soy sauce guide.
- Mirin: Hon Mirin (本みりん), such as Hinode Hon Mirin, is recommended for authentic Japanese flavor. Consult my detailed mirin guide to differentiate between hon mirin and other types.
- Boneless Chicken Thighs: Preferably skin-on, cut into bite-sized pieces for easy eating. People also use all sorts of meat in nabeyaki udon! My recipe here uses chicken thigh, but a lot of people like using beef or even pork! If you want to use fish instead, I think the best option is salmon fillet!
- Udon Noodles: Essential for their thick, chewy texture. Choose from pre-boiled udon, dried udon, or frozen udon based on availability.
- Vegetables: Spinach, fresh shiitake mushrooms, shimeji mushrooms, and thick green onions (substitutable with leek) add nutrition and diversity in texture.
- Eggs: Medium-sized eggs are used in this recipe, but small or large eggs can also be used as needed.
- Shrimp Tempura: Adds a unique flavor and texture to the soup. Explore the shrimp tempura recipe, or substitute with vegetable tempura if preferred.
- Optional Toppings: Enhance the dish with kamaboko fish cake, fu (Japanese dry baked wheat gluten), and finely chopped green onions for additional flavor and presentation.
Curious about the exact brands and products that bring my recipes to life? Discover the brands and ingredients behind my recipes at the Sudachi Amazon Storefront. Explore my handpicked pantry essentials and find your next kitchen favorites!Jump to Full Recipe Measurements
Visual Walkthrough & Tips
Here are my step-by-step instructions for how to make Nabeyaki Udon at home. For ingredient quantities and simplified instructions, scroll down for the Printable Recipe Card below.
Heat oil in a pan, season chicken with salt and pepper, and fry skin-side down until crispy.
Flip and cook through, then set aside.
Boil water with salt. Blanch spinach stalks for 30 seconds.
Then submerge leaves for another 30 seconds.
Transfer to ice water, then drain, squeeze out water.
Cut into pieces.
Boil udon noodles for 2-3 minutes less than package instructions. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
In a pot, combine dashi stock, soy sauce, and mirin. Boil to burn off alcohol.
Add salt, shiitake, shimeji mushrooms, and green onions. Cook briefly.
Add noodles, tempura shrimp, kamaboko, fu, spinach, and cooked chicken to the broth. Crack in two eggs, cover, and cook until eggs are done to your liking.
Garnish with green onions and serve hot.Jump to Full Recipe Measurements
The dish known as nabeyaki udon has a long history that can be traced back to 1865. It was first mentioned in a play performed in Osaka, three years before the Meiji Restoration. The play’s dialogue included a line that went like this, “Until recently, I was selling pea pods, but the recent popularity of nabeyaki udon noodles has pushed me away, and I changed my business to nabeyaki udon.”
At that time, nabeyaki udon was already a popular dish in Osaka, often sold by street vendors at night. However, it wasn’t until almost a decade later (around 1873) that the dish started to gain popularity in Tokyo and spread throughout Japan.
As I mentioned, “yaki” means to grill or fry. Some of you might be wondering why this dish has “yaki” in the name despite being a soupy hotpot dish.
The origin of the name “nabeyaki” is related to the Kamigata dialect, which was used mainly in Kyoto and Osaka. Nabeyaki udon was born in Osaka in the late 19th century and in the old days, pots were hung on the hearth over an open fire to boil and cook the food.
This was also called “yaki” or “burning”. So, in their dialect, you are “burning (yaki-ing)” the pot by putting the pot on the fire.
It’s quite interesting to explore the origin of Japanese dishes and language sometimes, right?
I hope you enjoy this Nabeyaki Udon recipe! If you try it out, I’d really appreciate it if you could spare a moment to let me know what you thought by giving a review and star rating in the comments below. It’s also helpful to share any adjustments you made to the recipe with our other readers. Thank you!
More Japanese Udon Recipes
- Beef Niku Udon
- Chicken Nabeyaki Udon
- Chicken Udon Noodle Soup (Tori Nanban Udon)
- Japanese Curry Udon
Want more inspiration? Explore my Udon Roundup Post for a carefully selected collection of tasty udon recipe ideas to spark your next meal!
Nabeyaki Udon (Japanese Udon Hot Pot)
- 150 g boneless chicken thigh(s) skin-on, cut into bitesize pieces
- 1 pinch salt and pepper
- 1 tsp cooking oil
- 50 g spinach
- 1 bowl ice cold water
- 2 portions udon noodles
- 2 fresh shiitake mushroom(s) stems trimmed
- 50 g shimeji mushroom(s)
- 20 g green onion(s) diagonally sliced
- 2 medium egg(s)
- 2 tempura shrimp
- 6 slices kamaboko fish cake optional
- fu Japanese dry baked wheat gluten, optional
- green onion(s) green part, finely sliced to garnish
- Heat a frying pan on medium and add 1 tsp cooking oil. Sprinkle 150 g boneless chicken thigh(s) with 1 pinch salt and pepper and then place them in the pan with the skin side down.
- Once the skin is crispy, turn the chicken over and fry until cooked through. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside for later.
- Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and add a pinch of salt. Take 50 g spinach and place the stalks into the boiling water, holding it there for 30 seconds without submerging the leaves. (Hold it with tongs to prevent burns.)
- After 30 seconds have passed, submerge the rest of the spinach into the water and continue to boil for another 30 seconds.
- Turn off the heat and transfer the spinach immediately into the bowl of ice cold water.
- Take the spinach out of the water and squeeze the water out as much as you can. Cut into 4-5cm (approx 2 inch) long pieces and set aside.
- Boil 2 portions udon noodles for 2-3 minutes less than the time stated on the packaging, then pour them into a colander to drain the water and rinse to remove any excess starch. Set aside.
- Add ¼ tsp salt and mix. Add 2 fresh shiitake mushroom(s), 50 g shimeji mushroom(s) and 20 g green onion(s) to the broth and allow to boil for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the noodles, 2 tempura shrimp, 6 slices kamaboko fish cake, fu, blanched spinach and cooked chicken (with juices from the pan). Crack two eggs into the pot, place a lid on top and boil in the broth for a few minutes until the eggs are cooked to your preference.
- Sprinkle with green onion to garnish.