Contributed by Naoko’s Kitchen
Yaki udon is one of the most common Japanese dishes. It’s very simple and easy to cook, and usually served on a regular plate. But our partner, chef Naoko, is presenting you with a new way to serve this classic dish that adds more flavor and takes its presentation to a higher level. It’s a great dish to serve at formal dinners when you want to impress friends and family. Our easy-to-follow recipe and video will have you whipping up this authentic Japanese food recipe in no time!
What Are Udon Noodles?
Served both hot and cold, udon noodles are an absolute staple of Japanese food culture. Mild in flavor and slightly chewy, udon noodles have the ability to soak up the flavor of the foods and spices. This is why stir-frying with udon noodles is extremely popular. In this pork and garlic yaki udon dish, for example, the flavor comes from all the juicy and spicy seasonings of styr-fry. The result: a bombastic but simple noodle dish that will have your guests clamoring for seconds!
Udon Noodle Varieties
Even though you can make udon noodles only with flour, salt and water, udon noodles actually come in a wide variety of types. This is because different regions of Japan have evolved their own varieties. Sanuki udon noodles, which are inexpensive and extra chewy, are the most common variety you will find. But also try to check out other more exotic varieties like the handmade Inaniwa udon and the flat Hoto variety. Udon noodles are such an important part of Japanese culture and traditions that it pays to get to know them as well as possible.
Mastering the Japanese Stir-Fry
An extremely popular cooking technique throughout Japan, the stir-fry is an art form in and of itself. You accomplish the art of mastering the stir-fry by knowing your ingredients well, and adding them at the right time. This results in each ingredient being cooked to its optimum level and a well-rounded flavor profile across the entire dish. There are actually five different stir-fry techniques used in traditional Japanese recipes. This recipe uses a basic dry stir-fry, but be sure to pay attention to the order you add the ingredients for best results. Note that you stir-fry the noodles and the pork separately, each with their own spices and ingredients, and then combined at the end.
Tips for Cooking and Plating
- Always think outside of box. A simple dish can turn into a restaurant-quality dish just by serving it differently.
- If you are interested and have the time, you can make your own udon noodles at home. Freshly made noodles always add more flavor to the dish.
- You can use other types of meat than pork or no meat at all to make it a vegetarian dish.
- The presentation is always a major part of Japanese food recipes, as dishes should be as aesthetically pleasing as they are tasty. The plating suggestions included in this recipe give the dish an artistic quality of symmetry.
Meet Naoko’s Kitchen
Naoko’s Kitchen is brought to you by Japanese cook and Culinary Artist Naoko Kashiwagi who is living in the UK. Naoko has been sharing her authentic taste, knowledge, and skills of Japanese food by hosting pop-ups and Japanese cooking classes in Cornwall, UK. More than a thousand foodies from all over the world have participated in her informative and hands-on classes. They all enjoyed the entertainment of her exquisite dishes!
Naoko’s Kitchen is the first authentic Japanese pop-ups in Cornwall. This style allows her to collaborate with a lot of local businesses aiming at supporting each other as well. Her mission is simple. To entertain the customers with authentic Japanese flavors by adding subtle European twists to create innovative dishes.
Its concept promises to create family favorites using the freshest local seafood and seasonal ingredients with Naoko’s imagination and creativity. She creates a dish mixing authenticity with innovation for your taste buds and eyes.
Yaki Udon (Stir Fry Noodle)
Recipe by Naoko's Kitchen
Stir fry the pork and vegetables
- Put the sunflower oil, sesame oil, and the garlic in a deep frying pan and heat it on low heat until the garlic is fragrant.
- Add the pork mince and a pinch of sea salt, keep stirring using a spatula on high heat.
- When almost 90% of meat is cooked, add the carrots and stir fry as quick as you can until the vegetables are coated with oil.
Stir fry the Udon
- Cook udon noodles as instructed in the package. Drain.
- Add the udon in the frying pan and put the oyster sauce, soy sauce and a pinch of sea salt.
- Cook on high heat while stirring with chopsticks. Heat until udon noodles turn into a soft texture (quick stirring with high heat is the key for making nice and crunchy vegetable garnishment).
- Turn off the heat and put the bean sprout and green pepper. Mix them well.
Make the plate presentation
- Place two different sizes of tart rings (mousse cake rings also work) on a plate, smaller one inside of the bigger one (this recipe used 2 inches and 3.5 inches).
- Fill the gap up with cooked udon and vegetables. Gently press down to make the shape settled.
- Carefully pull up the smaller ring first, and then pull the larger one up.
- Serve with spring onions and black peppers.