Pork udon is a delicious noodle dish made with thin slices of juicy pork belly, soft sautéed onions and thick, chewy udon noodles served in a rich dashi broth. It's quick, easy and comforting on those chilly days!
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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.
It's also often called "niku udon" (肉うどん) for short, which simply means "meat udon" in Japanese.
Meat udon can actually be made with beef or pork. In fact, the meat preference for this dish depends on the region. In Eastern Japan (Kanto), pork is most commonly used while in the West (Kansai) they tend to use beef more.
I live in central Japan so I don't have a strong preference, I eat both often! However, if you're interested in making beef udon, check out my recipe here.
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!
Parts of pork to use
Generally speaking, you can use any parts of pork for pork udon, but I personally recommend thinly sliced pork belly. You could also use shoulder or end cuts if you prefer.
Using a fatty cut adds more flavour and sweetness to the broth.
The reason why I like to use thin slices specifically is because they cook quickly without becoming chewy or tough.
If you can't purchase thinly sliced pork belly in your country, I recommend freezing a block of pork for a short time and then once it's firmed up, cut it into thin slices using a sharp knife. The pork shouldn't be completely frozen, just cold enough that it's firm and easier to cut.
One of the most vital ingredients in an udon soup is "dashi" (出汁). Dashi is a type of Japanese soup stock and can be made with a number of different ingredients.
The most common ingredients used to make dashi are:
- Kombu (dried kelp)
- Niboshi / Iriko (dried sardines)
- Katsuobushi (bonito flakes)
- Shiitake mushrooms (dried)
For the perfect udon broth, I highly recommend making your own dashi from scratch. It's easy to do and doesn't take too long either! Check out my recipes below:
- My favourite awase dashi (made with kelp, bonito flakes and sardines)
- Simple awase dashi (made with kelp and bonito flakes)
- Plant based awase dashi (made with kelp and dried shiitake mushrooms)
If you can't access the ingredients or simply don't want to spend time making homemade dashi, I recommend using dashi bags (Amazon link). They're kind of like tea bags that you brew in hot water. These will produce a decent quality dashi in just a few minutes!
When making pork udon in particular, I like to use a condiment called "shirodashi" (白だし).
Despite the name, shirodashi is not a type of dashi and instead a seasoning made from light soy sauce, mirin and sugar combined with a dried kelp and bonito flake dashi. It's basically a type of "mentsuyu sauce".
"Mentsuyu sauce" is a concentrated sauce used to make noodle broths and dipping sauces. I have a homemade tsuyu sauce recipe if you want to try making it from scratch!
The main element that makes "shirodashi" different to regular mentsuyu, is that it's made with light soy sauce instead of regular soy sauce. This gives the sauce a lighter colour yet it's slightly saltier than using regular soy sauce.
Shirodashi perfect for dishes where you want to maintain the vibrant colours of the ingredients or keep the broth light in colour without compromising the taste.
You can purchase shirodashi on Amazon here.
If you can't buy shirodashi, you could use regular soy sauce instead, just keep in mind that the broth will be darker and the ingredients might become more brown.Print