Seriously Asian: Hooked on Udon Recipe

Though I most often picture udon swimming in huge bowls of broth, the thick Japanese noodles are just as comfortable in sautéed form. Well, actually they’re boiled, drained, and then sautéed with a handful of other ingredients. The only major issue to look out for is clumping, which can turn the whole dish into a gluey, bland mess. The only way I’ve figured out to avoid this trap is to stir like a mad man, though I think it’s also important to avoid crowding the pan. Basically, keep things as simple as possible.

So, how do you create a dynamic dish without adding too much? You cheat. Okay, not exactly, but hang with me. I settled on a fragrant base of scallion, garlic, and ginger, and a very simple sauce of soy sauce and mirin. To that, I added crunchy red pepper and juicy shrimp. This was all well and good, but the dish didn’t really take off until I added some last minute additions, which required no cooking at all. A final sprinkling of bonito flakes and sliced nori added instantaneous umami and funk, while staying far away from the pan.

  • 2 servings frozen udon, approximately 8 ounces each

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, thinly sliced

  • 4 scallions, ends trimmed, white and green parts thinly sliced and kept separate

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled, minced

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup mirin

  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • 4 ounces bean sprouts

  • 1/2 sheet nori, thinly sliced

  • 1/4 cup bonito flakes

  • Togarashi for serving (optional)

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Cook udon according to the directions on the packaging. When done, drain in a colander and rinse under cold water. Drain again and set aside.

  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add red pepper and stir-fry until lightly browned and still slightly crisp. Stir in green scallions, garlic, and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

  3. Add noodles to the skillet. Stir-fry until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add shrimp, soy sauce, and mirin and stir constantly until shrimp are fully cooked and most of the liquid has evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Toss in bean sprouts and cook until just starting to wilt.

  4. Divide the noodles between two bowls. Top with a sprinkling of nori, bonito flakes, and togarashi (optional).

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
598 Calories
17g Fat
63g Carbs
43g Protein


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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 598
% Daily Value*
17g 22%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
288mg 96%
3153mg 137%
63g 23%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 19g
43g
Vitamin C 113mg 566%
Calcium 200mg 15%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 832mg 18%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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