Fried udon noodles and a trip to Japan

Tomorrow, I’m leaving on vacation for Japan, where I’m planning to enjoy lots of noodles and dashi-based dishes. I’ll definitely be taking lots of pictures, and if I get a chance I’ll post some here while I’m gone. Otherwise, posting will be pretty sparse, but I’ve got lots of great topics planned for when I return, so keep checking back!

In the meantime, to whet your appetite, I’ve provided the yakiudon recipe below. Enjoy!

Yakiudon (Pan-fried udon noodles)

Adapted from Izakaya: The Japanese Pub Cookbook by Mark Robinson

Kaeshi concentrate

  • 1/4 cup Japanese soy sauce (the Yamasa brand is easy to find, and better than American-made Kikkoman)
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • Handful bonito flakes
  • Small piece (1″ x 1″) kombu

Combine all ingredients in a sealed container and refrigerate for 3 days before using. Will last several months in the fridge.


  • 1 lb. fresh udon noodles
  • 2-3 Tbsp. (strained) kaeshi concentrate from above
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. rendered bacon fat (omit for a pescetarian version)
  • Slices of imitation crab, kamaboko or other surimi, as desired
  • 2 pinches bonito flakes
  • Thinly sliced nori seaweed, as desired
  • Julienned pickled ginger (beni-shoga, which is less sweet than pickled ginger for sushi, and red instead of pink), as desired

Cook the noodles in boiling water until slightly underdone. Drain, then rinse in cold water to stop the cooking and rinse off excess starch. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with the kaeshi concentrate.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Add the noodles and fry for about a minute, until the liquid has mostly cooked off. Add the bacon fat, surimi and bonito flakes; toss, and season with salt and pepper. (You may find it more effective to fry the noodles in two separate batches, depending on the heat output of your stove.) Transfer to a plate, then garnish with the nori and pickled ginger. Serves 2 as a main course or 4 if you’re serving other dishes as well.

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2 Responses to “Fried udon noodles and a trip to Japan”

  1. Might be a little off topic, but I’m wondering if when you get back you might post something about your meal at Atelier?

  2. Matthew Kayahara May 20, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Actually, Chael, I’ve had several meals at Atelier, and enjoyed them all! I really believe in what Marc’s doing. He’s also been kind enough to let me stage in his kitchen a few times.