Udon Noodle Soup うどん

Udon (oo-dahn) are thick Japanese noodles made from wheat flour and salted water, kneaded and cut into strips. Often in cold weather, udon are eaten in a simple broth of dashi, soy, and sake and/or mirin. In the summer, they are eaten cold with a dressing or in salads. Udon can be purchased, depending on your area, fresh, frozen, or dried. Homemade is the best of course and after that, fresh then frozen noodles. Dried noodles are fine too. They are thick and have a soft, chewy texture. In the summer, I’ll toss the cooled, cooked noodles with a soy and ginger dressing and put over a salad of crisp greens, celery, matchstick carrots, and slivered scallions. Chunks of cooked chicken or drained white tuna adds a good, lean protein to the mix. Good, but not necessary. I have also used cubed marinated tofu with delicious results.

As an ingredient in a soup, they are filling and homey. Chunks of cooked chicken, beef, whatever added with some al dente veggies cooked in the broth are tasty, warming, and comforting. A bowl is a good one dish meal. Regional differences abound as to ingredients, broth, etc. In the western region of Japan, broths are usually dark brown; in the east, lighter broths are preferred. Regional differences are also found in the noodles themselves.

Find what suits you best by using more soy, beef, chicken, dashi, miso for the broth. I have previously posted a good basic miso soup that would make an excellent broth for udon. I actually prefer it.  It is a warm and slurpy soup.  You may want to wear a napkin around your neck!

If any of you express an interest, I will do a post on making your own udon. Cheap and easy!!!! So – get cracking on this soup. Add or subtract ingredients: chopped cooked meats, poultry, seafood, eggs; scallions, boy choy, slivered snow peas, carrots…Become the udon king (or queen) and have it your own way! Dependent on how you divide this up, makes two to three servings.

どうぞめしあがれ douzo meshiagare, y’all!

2 packages frozen Udon (use frozen or thawed) or
equivalent of dried (package will give equivalents)
4 cups Dashi , chicken, miso, vegetable broth
1/4-1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp Mirin (Japanese cooking wine)
2 Tbsp Sake
1 chicken breast (cut into bite size pieces)
4 green onions (thinly and diagonally cut)
1/4 slivered celery, napa cabbage, or spinach
a bit of grated ginger
good sprinkle of red pepper powder (optional)

Cut green onions or other veggies thinly and diagonally. Set aside some greener parts for garnish. Heat broth to a boil. Add salt, soy sauce, Mirin, Sake to Dashi, then chicken. Skim fat and other particles from the surface of the soup if there are any. Simmer veggies al dente. Add Udon to the soup and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes. Put in most of green onions including white parts, immediately turn off heat. Divide noodles and soup into bowls and sprinkle on the rest of the green onions and red pepper powder if you like.

udon soup

19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Brent
    Jan 17, 2014 @ 23:45:42

    i might say ‘oo-doh-n’ ….i never really liked it until I came to Japan!


    • kanzensakura
      Jan 18, 2014 @ 09:03:30

      Well, you got the best there! I lived with a Japanese man for years and the recipes I post reflect his regional variations. They actually kind of remind me of Southern rolled step dumplings…some things are just universal.


  2. dragonlife
    Jan 17, 2014 @ 23:46:05

    Japanese comfort food!


  3. Eric Tonningsen
    Jan 18, 2014 @ 01:00:05

    Love Udon!


  4. Let's CUT the Crap!
    Jan 18, 2014 @ 07:37:22

    I haven’t tried this yet. This sounds delicious.


  5. The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap
    Jan 18, 2014 @ 10:30:28

    That looks so good. I love those kinds of soups. 🙂


    • kanzensakura
      Jan 18, 2014 @ 13:31:01

      I don’t know if I lost my reply to you or not but anyway….I think I may do a post on how to make the noodles. They are way easy and too cheap for words. They put me in mind of one of the Southern ways of making thin rolled dumplings. Some things are just universal.


      • The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap
        Jan 18, 2014 @ 20:47:17

        Rolled dumplings!! Comfort food!! Yum!! xoxo


        • kanzensakura
          Jan 18, 2014 @ 21:09:01

          You hit that nail right on the head. I have to laugh, my cat discovered the joys of Nilla wafers this afternoon when I made a batch of homemade nanner pudd’n for my mother-in-law. You would have gotten a kick out of him after he caught a whiff of the vanilla from the wafers and actually tried to climb up me to get to the counter. I broke one into quarters and he snarfed them up like they would cat munchies. he likes udon too. Odd little fur person but he fits well with me. 🙂

          > Date: Sun, 19 Jan 2014 01:47:23 +0000
          > To: thspencer51@hotmail.com


  6. seeker
    Jan 18, 2014 @ 12:40:51

    I love this noodles but I’d rather go to a Japanese restaurant and let them serve me. Ah delicious.


    • kanzensakura
      Jan 18, 2014 @ 13:29:38

      That works too! I like to make my own because I am particular about ingredients and have allergies to some food additives. But there are a couple of restaurants I trust and so I eat there sometimes. One is a nice homey Japanese restaurant and they taught me how to make the udon noodles, even though it may have caused me to not go back for udon. I appreciated the courtesy and still visit for other foods as well.


  7. jaklumen
    Jan 18, 2014 @ 16:12:52

    I have previously posted a good basic miso soup that would make an excellent broth for udon.

    Cimmy makes an excellent soup with miso paste and dried udon noodles. I have her do it, usually, because she’s learned really well how to make broth with miso. Because I am usually the cook and she is the baker, it’s nice once in a while to switch roles.


    • kanzensakura
      Jan 18, 2014 @ 17:32:48

      Great!!! I really like udon in a miso broth. I think I am going to post how to make the udon noodles. It is easier than you would think and soooooo cheap. I like to add some slivered green onion to the miso soup with the udon. I really like miso soup!!! I like it when people brag on their spouses. You both do your talents – an excellent arrangement.


  8. Tess
    Sep 23, 2014 @ 05:54:44

    Making udon inspired me to study Japanese home cooking, but it’s been some time now that the idea of cooking has been more intriguing than the actual work of preparing food. I can spend hours reading cookbooks, food magazines, watching food videos, reading blogs, then it’s time to prepare a meal for husband and daughter so I use the “throw it at the stove and whatever hits the target gets cooked” method. But your post reminded me of the fun it was to put on my special leopard socks and dance on the dough! Perhaps it’s one step toward leaving the depression behind.


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