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TokyoTreat Japanese Snacks BlogA Curry Udon Recipe To Warm Your Heart Year Round

A Curry Udon Recipe To Warm Your Heart Year Round

By Linh Le
March 03, 2022

Curry Udon Recipe: A Deliciously Hearty Dish Year Round

Most people usually associate curry with rice, but have you tried a delicious dish called curry udon? Curry udon (a thick wheat flour noodle) is a Japanese dish that is tasty and easy to make, taking less than 30 minutes, perfect for a quick lunch or dinner to fill your stomach on busy days! Today we’ll share a curry udon recipe to make this popular dish with simple ingredients, so you can enjoy it with your family at home!

What’s So Special About Curry Udon?

A bowl of curry udon on a wooden table using a simple curry udon recipe with noodles, sliced meat, and shallots.
The possibilities are endless with curry udon, but simple a curry udon recipe like this one will always be a winner. Image via Shutterstock

When thinking of udon, the first thing that comes to our mind is a bowl of light soup with thick, chewy udon noodles.

However, curry udon is a rich flavor alternative to this basic one. Usually served with meat (most often sliced pork or beef), curry udon is a perfect meal that you can enjoy anytime during the day or year.

Japanese curry is usually known as roux curry, which is different from Indian or Thai curry recipes. It is much thicker in texture and has a consistency like beef stew. If you’ve tasted curry dishes from other countries, don’t expect as much heavy spiciness from Japanese curry rice. Instead, just enjoy its mild flavor and sweet taste.

In a typical curry udon recipe, the curry is diluted with dashi broth to create a thick consistency. Then, just add in the chewy Japanese noodles along with some veggies and meat of your choice. Some restaurants will have their own ways of making curry udon with a variety of ingredients, but using Japanese curry is a must!

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Recipe for Japanese Curry Udon (4 servings)

Ingredients

  • ½ onion (120g)
  • ½ carrot (60g)
  • ¼ long onion (naganegi) – the white part
  • 2 shiitake mushrooms
  • Scallions
  • 200g beef slices (can be substituted with chicken, pork, or fried chicken or pork cutlets)
  • 1000ml dashi stock
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp mirin
  • 4 tbsp usukuchi (light-colored) soy sauce (normal soy sauce is OK too)
  • 4 tbsp curry powder or 4 cubes of curry roux
  • 3 tbsp potato starch (only needed if you use curry powder)
  • Vegetable oil
  • 4 packages of frozen udon noodles

Step 1: Prepare the ingredients

Slice the onion lengthwise into thin slices.

Slice the carrot thinly into 4cm long, 1cm wide slices.

Cut off the legs and slice shiitake mushrooms thinly.

Long onion (naganegi) is also cut into thin slices diagonally.

Cut the scallions into small pieces and place them onto another plate to be used later.

Step 2: Make the curry sauce

A bowl of curry udon, using a thick curry udon recipe, topped with shallots with a spoon sitting on the edge of the bowl.
Some restaurants and cooks like to use a very thick roux. If you like your roux thick too, try putting in larger pieces of meat to go with it. Image via Shutterstock

Turn on the heat and pour in a small amount of vegetable oil into the cooking pot.

Add in the white part of the long onion and sauté them until they become soft and fragrant. When the onions have turned brown, put them out onto a plate.

Then, pour vegetable oil into the pot again and add other veggie ingredients: onions, carrots, and shiitake mushrooms.

Stir fry the vegetables until most of them have become soft. Then, add the beef slices and continue to stir fry all the ingredients.

Now, there are slightly different methods depending on the type of curry you use for the sauce.

Curry Powder

If you use curry powder, when the meat is no longer red, reduce the heat to low heat and add curry powder, then sauté until fragrant. The point here is to keep the heat as low as possible or turn it off completely because the curry powder is easy to burn.

Then, pour the dashi stock in the pot and turn on the heat again. Add sugar and soy sauce, then mix them together.

Bring the broth to a boil over medium heat. Once the vegetables become tender, reduce the heat to low.

Add potato starch dissolved with water carefully little by little into the broth. Remember to keep the heat low because the potato flour will immediately clump if the heat is too high.

Wait until the sauce thickens. Bring the sauce to a boil again over medium heat. Add the long onions and your curry sauce is now ready to serve!

A bowl of curry udon using a unique curry udon recipe where the noodles are placed on one side and the curry is placed on another, similar to Japanese curry rice.
Some restaurants opt to just have the noodles on the side. It’s like a fun take on Japanese curry rice, but with noodles! Image via Shutterstock

Curry Roux

If you use curry roux, it could be faster and easier to cook.

Pour the dashi stock first into the pot and then add the curry roux later. Mix them until the roux has dissolved thoroughly. Then, add sugar, soy sauce and mirin and let the sauce come to a boil.

When the sauce thickens, add the long onion and turn off the heat.

Step 3: Cook udon noodles

In a different pot, boil water and put the udon noodles in. Bring it to a boil and cook for around 1 minute (or follow the instructions in the packaging).

Quickly drain the udon well with a sieve and then separate into different bowls.

Finally, pour the hot curry sauce into your bowl with the ingredients you like. Add scallions on top.

Reasons to Love Curry Udon

Although curry udon is a winter favorite, many people make or buy it year-round because it’s such a comforting and hearty dish.

A bowl of curry udon is a good source of nutrients including vitamins A, C, calcium and iron. Udon noodles are also rich in fiber, a good source of vitamin B, and it’s vegan-friendly. They’re made from wheat and water, so udon noodles are definitely the top choice of noodle if you want something tasty and healthy.

However, what adds extra calories to curry udon is the roux itself which is high in fat, sugar, and sodium. So, if you’re looking for a diet-friendly udon recipe, we recommend the basic udon or kitsune udon (udon topped with fried tofu)!

Vegetarian & Vegan-Friendly Options

A bowl of curry udon using a pescatarian-friendly curry udon recipe with a fried tofu topping along with carrots and onion, all on a table.
This curry udon is actually pescatarian-friendly with the fried tofu, but the pink and white fish cake is keeping it from being vegetarian friendly. Image via Shutterstock

If you’re vegan or vegetarian, you can skip the meat and use other vegan ingredients you like such as boiled tofu, aburaage (deep fried tofu) which has similar texture to meat, or even potatoes.

For stock soup, instead of katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes), kombu (dried kelp) dashi is the best choice for vegetarians because it’s made from seaweed and shiitake mushrooms.

It’s also highly customizable with what vegetables you choose to put in. Japanese seasonal vegetables can elevate your dish, but you can also use whatever is available in your area that you like.

The combination of chewy udon noodles, the rich flavor of curry, and plenty of meat and vegetables just make up a nutritious and delicious dish that is too good to be missed!

Have you tried to make curry udon at home? Share your tips for a perfect curry udon recipe in the comment belows!

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Linh Le

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