Looking for delicious ways to incorporate more veggies into your meals? Make this Vegetarian Bibimbap! At its most basic, bibimbap means “mixed rice”. But there’s nothing basic about this beloved Korean dish of warm rice topped with seasonal vegetables, a tongue tingling gochujang sauce, and read more
So after a couple weeks of traveling through chilly Central Europe, I’m home again and what do you think I’m craving? Asian Noodle Soups! But more specifically- Beef Udon! This Beef Udon is everything good in a bowl. Flavorful, simple, fast, and oh so comforting. Udon noodles are so fabulously slippery and chewy, staying the perfect texture all the way to the last bite. And this Beef Udon dish is a keeper. Juicy bites of beef, a tangle of noodles, a next level savory broth, and some fun garnishes create the perfect bowl.
I know we’re getting ready for summer, but Asians eat hot soupy noodles year round. It’s not reserved for wintry months. So whether you have AC 24/7 like we do in Miami, are still experiencing the last vestiges of a cold spring, or believe in sweating out toxins, this Beef Udon will hit the spot. So let’s get into it.
Beef Udon Starts with Dashi
Beef Udon has 3 separate, but quick, components to cook. The first component is a dashi stock. If you made one of the homemade dashi stocks I posted recently, this is an excellent use for it! (If not, you can still make Beef Udon by whipping up a dashi with some dashi powder mixed with water or with dried anchovy dashi packets.)
The second component is a fast stir fry of the beef and onions. I use shaved beef (like the kind used for Philly cheese steaks) that I purchased from Trader Joes. Any tender shaved or thinly sliced beef is fine. You can either purchase it or cut it yourself. If you’re slicing the beef at home, put the beef in the freezer for an hour or so. The semi frozen beef will be much easier to slice that a chunk of swishy meat.
Once the onions are cooked, I move them aside to make room for the beef. Whenever cooking ground meat or hefty amounts of sliced meat, I always try and leave it alone for a minute or two in the pan, to try and get some sear. It’s very hard at home to generate enough heat to burn off moisture and not steam meat, particularly if you have other items in the pan. Cranking up the heat may solve the meat steaming issue, but the other ingredients will scorch. So for me, the solution is to keep the heat moderately high, but allow the meat to sear before stirring it around.
Try this technique on other recipes and see if you like the results. It’s easier and more forgiving than high heat stir-frying.
Once you add the sauce ingredients, stir to coat the beef and then turn the stove off. I prefer a slightly pink beef, plus the residual heat in the pan will continue cooking the beef as well.
Lastly, we head to the third component, which is of course to make the udon noodles. There are two types of udon noodles. Dry and fresh. The fresh ones, which are what I’m using here, come either frozen or vacuum packed, which can be stored at room temperature. I like the frozen noodles best. They have the best chewy texture and only require quick heating as they are already cooked. If you are using vacuum packed noodles, follow the same instructions. However, you will want to proceed with package instructions if you are using dry udon noodles.
While the noodles are cooking I quickly prepare some garnishes. I like to use scallions for their fresh bite and I slice up some Japanese fish cakes for their fun chewy texture and a bit of color. (Love the delicious versality of fish cakes? Try them in this braised pepper dish, in Shabu Shabu, or Japanese Oden Stew.)
Now it’s time to put all three components together, then garnish, and your Beef Udon is ready to serve!
I like to sprinkle a little schichimi togarashi for a little heat.
Now dig in and enjoy- It’s good to be home 🙂
Try this Beef Udon tonight, and let me know what you think. Don’t forget to tag us @funkyasiankitchen, we love seeing your creations!Print
- 1 Tablespoon neutral oil
- ¼ large onion
- 8 ounces thinly sliced beef (rib eye, tenderloin, or sirloin are all good choices)
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 servings udon noodles (7 ounces dry noodles or 1 pound frozen noodles)
- 3 cups of dashi Japanese soup stock
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons mirin
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
Toppings (optional but nice to have):
- 1 green onion
- 4 slices kamaboko fish cakes
- Shichimi togarashi chile served on the side
- Put the dashi in a pot and bring to a simmer. Add the soy sauce, mirin, and salt. Stir to combine. Put a lid over the pot and keep it on low heat while you finish the other components.
- Peel and slice the onion thinly. Set aside.
- Trim the scallions and slice thin. Set aside.
- Slice the kamaboko and reserve the rest for another purpose. (You can freeze it if you do not have an immediate use for it.)
- Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat for several minutes. Add the oil and the onions. Sprinkle lightly with salt and stir fry for 3-4 minutes until softened.
- Push the onions to the side and add the beef in one layer. Let it cook untouched for 1 minute and then stir fry for another minute.
- Add the soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar and continue to cook for another minute or two, making sure to coat the meat well with the sauce as it cooks. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the dry noodles according to the package. If you’re using frozen noodles, cook them for 1 minute. Drain the noodles and portion them into two deep bowls.
- Top the noodles with the broth, beef, and the garnishes.
- Serve Beef Udon immediately.
*If you do not have dashi you can combine 3 cups of water with 2 teaspoons dashi powder or 1 dashi packet and continue with the recipe.
Keywords: udon, noodles, dashi, beef, fish cakes
What shreds like pork, absorbs flavor like tofu, and packs more nutrients per serving than both? Jackfruit! Jackfruit is an incredibly versatile tropical fruit that is grown throughout Southeast Asia. When ripe, it gets sweet, sticky, and yellow-orange and is used in a variety of read more
If you always order Unagi Don at Japanese restaurants, you are going to be thrilled to learn how easy it is to make at home. And how fast! Even making the eel sauce from scratch-which you must because the bottled stuff doesn’t compare, you can have this Japanese classic on the table in less than half an hour. So for those of you looking to get the most out of your time in the kitchen, this one”s for you.
Unagi Don Sauce
Simmer the sauce until it is reduced to a thick, syrupy glaze.
Unagi is freshwater eel. It has the highest amount of Omega 3’s of all seafood as it’s packed with protein, and is a rich source of Vitamins A and D. It is so popular in Japan that there are entire restaurants dedicated to it. And prepping and cooking it perfectly requires so much skill that there are specialized eel chefs.
Luckily for us, almost all of the unagi sold in this country has already been filleted and cooked. Typically found frozen in most Asian grocery stores, the unagi fillets defrost quickly, and just need a quick pass under the broiler. The best quality ones are quite pricey, which is why it’s typically a special occasion treat in Japan and not an every day food item. This is about as luxurious as instant food gets. Keep an unagi fillet in the freezer and you will have a most special meal ready at any time.
Once you cut the unagi into generously sized pieces, it’s time to broil it. First, I line a baking sheet with foil to make cleanup a breeze. Next, lightly spray the foil with oil.
Perfectly steamed rice is an essential part of the Unagi Don experience and just as important as the eel. It soaks up the delicious sauce and turns it into a complete meal. Make sure you start the rice ahead of time so that it’s ready for you when you are done broiling the unagi. Drizzle the rice with some sauce and then lay the unagi fillets on top.
I like to garnish with a spoonful of beni shoga, not only for its pop of bright red color but also for its bracing flavor that cuts through the rich unagi and eel sauce. It’s also common to sprinkle a little sansho powder, which is a type of Japanese peppercorn.
Unagi Don is a perfect weeknight meal. It packs a nutritional punch and now that you know how easy it is, there’s no reason to only enjoy it while dining out. Let me know what you think about this recipe by rating it and leaving a comment below, and don’t forget to tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen; we love hearing from you!
- 2 unagi Fillets (approximately 10-12 ounces)
- Oil Spray
- 4 cups steamed rice
- Sansho pepper powder, optional
- Red beni shoga (pickled red ginger), optional
- ¼ cup Soy sauce
- ¼ cups Mirin
- 2 Tablespoons sake
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
Make the sauce:
- Put the soy sauce, mirin, sake, and sugar in a small saucepan and stir to combine.
- Bring to a simmer over medium high heat, stir once more and cook for 10-12 minutes until the sauce is reduced to a syrupy consistency.
- You will yield about ⅓ cup of sauce.
For the Unagi:
- Preheat the oven with the broiler setting and move the oven shelf to the second from the top.
- Line a baking tray with aluminum. Spray lightly with oil. Cut the eel fillets in half lengthwise and then into 3 pieces to yield 6 pieces total.
- Place the eel on the tray skin side down. Broil the eel for 4-5 minutes and then brush with the sauce.
- Broil for 1 more minute.
- Divide the rice into 3 large bowls. Drizzle a tablespoon of soy glaze over each rice bowl. Top with the eel and a little more sauce.
- Sprinkle the eel with the sansho powder and garnish with a little red ginger, if using, and serve immediately.
Keywords: unagi don, rice bowl, eel sauce, japanese