I don’t like to abuse the phrase “game changer”, but sometimes its use is warranted. And this Beef Japchae recipe is one of those times. Japchae is as ubiquitous in Korea as mac and cheese is in the states but it’s more versatile. Although it’s 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
July and August in Japan (and really almost everywhere) can be incredibly hot and humid. So instead of steaming hot bowls of noodle soups, they turn to cold noodles, including this hiyashi chuka, a vibrantly colorful cold ramen noodle bowl. Hiyashi Chuka translates to “chilled Chinese”, read more
Tteokbokki is the latest Korean culinary import to start trending in the states. In the last week alone I saw Bon Appetit feature a Tteobokki recipe, and even Trader Joe’s rolled out a frozen version. One of the most popular street foods in Korea, Tteokbokki is a cylindrical rice cake cut into little logs and eaten like noodles. They sort of look like rigatoni, but they are solid. And they have this amazingly fun chewy, bouncy texture. They are naturally gluten free, and they are as versatile as wheat pasta. You can find them at Asian grocers that have a lot of Korean items, either fresh or frozen. While they can be served with really any kind of pasta sauce, (Bon Appetit used them to replace the noodles in a lasagna!) I make mine in a more traditional Korean style. A little sweet, a little spicy, a little funky, and so much fun to eat!
Tteokobokki don’t have much flavor on their own, so I like to really make a very punchy sauce for them. I tried TJ’s and found it to be a little one note, mostly just cloyingly sweet, and I wanted to avoid that in mine. So I used some dried anchovies, gochujang paste, kocharu flakes, soy sauce, kombu, and a little sugar combine to create a super flavorful and balanced sauce. I start by prepping the anchovies.
Scoop out the anchovies and kombu and you’ll have about two cups of broth. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients to the broth and whisk to combine.
Finishing the Tteokbokki
As the tteokbokki cooks, the sauce will thicken. It’s important to keep stirring it so that the noodles don’t stick to the bottom.
The sauce should be thick, almost like ketchup. Depending on the size of your noodles, it can take anywhere from 8-15 minutes to finish cooking.
Try these Tteokbokki and see why this Korean favorite is becoming such an international favorite. Take a moment and let me know what you think by rating and commenting on the recipe below, and tagging us in our pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!
Love Korean food? Try these favorites:
- 1 pound tube shaped fresh Korean rice noodles
- 6 ounces fish cakes
- 3 scallions, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces, thick pieces cut in half
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 3 cups water
- 8 large dried anchovies (or 10 medium)
- 4”x6” piece of dried kombu kelp, about the size of your hand
- ¼ cup gochujang hot pepper paste
- ¼ teaspoon Korean chili flakes (kocharu)
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
Make the sauce:
- Remove the head and then intestines of the anchovies by gripping the lower neck. The guts will come out in one hard black piece. Discard the heads and guts.
- Combine the water, anchovies, and kelp in a deep skillet or pan (mine was a heavy bottom 3 quart pan). Set the pan over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes and then turn off the heat.
- Strain out the anchovies and the kelp. Either save them for another use or discard them. You will yield about 2 cups of broth. Add some cold water to make up the difference if you are short.
- Add the gochujang, the soy sauce, and sugar to the broth and use a whisk to combine.
For the Noodles:
- Cut the fish cakes into small pieces approximately the same size as the noodles you are using. Set aside.
- Next add the fish cakes and noodles to the broth. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat. Cook the noodles for 7 minutes, stirring regularly. As the noodles cook, the sauce will thicken so it is important to stir it regularly to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Add the scallions and continue to cook for a couple minutes until the noodles are soft and chewy. Taste one to check and adjust seasoning with salt and ground pepper if needed. Add the sesame oil and stir.
- Depending on the thickness of the noodles, the total cooking time may take anywhere from 8-15 minutes. If you see the sauce getting too thick, add a little water. The sauce should be thick, like ketchup when the dish is done.
- Remove the pan from the heat, transfer the noodles to a plate and serve immediately.
Keywords: topokki, tteokbokki, korean rice cakes, noodles, gochujang, fish cakes,