Fresh udon noodles are thick, chewy, and delicious. Frozen udon noodles are very nearly as good. However, dried udon noodles that are prepared in boiling water like spaghetti are infamously bad. We recently learned of a different kind of cooking technique that might help, so don’t give up hope if dried is all you have access to!
Mark Bittman describes a previously unknown method of cooking dried udon in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. He instructs us to continue adding the dried udon noodles to salted boiling water. But you add a cup of cold water to the pot as soon as the water starts to boil again. You add another cup of cold water when the water returns to a boil, and so on until the noodles are cooked.
He doesn’t explain how this process improves the noodles over simple boiling. Our best guess is that by consistently lowering the water’s temperature, more water can be absorbed by the noodles without causing them to gummy or overcook. We’re very interested to try it and see if it affects how the noodles feel.
What is Yaki Udon Made of?
Yaki udon is made using Japanese udon noodles. The ingredients for udon noodles are wheat flour, water, and salt. They are a thick, chewy wheat noodle. However, unlike the rice noodles found in many stir-fries, it is not gluten-free. Although udon noodles are dairy- and vegan-free, it’s always a good idea to read the ingredients because different brands may use different additives.
Typically, only three ingredients are used to make udon noodles: wheat flour, water, and salt. Yaki udon can be made into a nutritious meal with protein, fiber, and carbohydrates because it is made with a variety of vegetables and protein. To make this recipe lighter, I substituted ground chicken. Under the recipe instructions, you can find the chicken yaki udon’s nutritional information.
Udon noodles are great in stir-fries, so a great way to use them is in yaki udon. Udon noodles from frozen cook quickly and, depending on how you cook them, retain the chewy texture of udon noodles fairly well, making them a great option for quick meals.
For this recipe I used pre-cooked udon noodles you find vacuum packed in plastic. These are typically found in the refrigerated or frozen section of your Asian grocery store. If you have freshly made or dried udon noodles, cook them according to the packet directions but subtract 1 minute since you’ll be cooking them more in the stir fry. Be sure to rinse them in cold water afterwards and drizzle on a little oil if youre not using them right away.
How to Make Udon Noodles Recipe – Step By Step
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. Add 1 1/4 cups water. Mix with your hands until a few big lumps of dough begin to form. The dough should be firmly pressed and kneaded, with any remaining loose flour being thoroughly incorporated. If more water is required, add it 1 tablespoon at a time until all the flour has been incorporated.
Knead the dough until smooth, about 5 minutes. Dough should be covered with plastic and rested for about an hour. The dough will relax as a result, making rolling it out easier. *Jaden’s note: I find that resting the dough for longer than an hour makes it much easier to roll out (the timing is flexible here; I’ve let my dough rest anywhere between 1-3 hours).
Use a big rolling pin (Chef Morimoto likes to use a heavy, straight, wooden rolling pin like this one.)
Roll the dough, rotating it every so often by 90 degrees and lightly dusting with flour.
Dough thickness should be slightly less than 1/4″.
If the dough is too resistant, wrap it in plastic and let it rest for 5–10 minutes.
When the dough is the desired thickness, fold it in thirds (like a letter fold) and cut it into noodles that are 1/8′′ thick.
Dust noodles with flour and separate. Cook immediately.
According to Chef Morimoto, dried udon noodles are acceptable and pre-cooked udon from the store work well. But homemade udon is unbeatable, and you can actually make the irresistibly smooth, chewy spring noodles at home, despite what you may have heard. Udon takes no great skill. Just water, flour, a rolling pin and a little patience. Put the dough in a sealable plastic bag, wrap it in a towel, and use your feet to knead if doing so makes your arms sore. This will activate the gluten in the flour and give the noodles their texture.
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If you’ve tried this udon noodle recipe, please rate it and let me know what you thought in the comments section below.
How do you cook pre packaged udon noodles?
Udon noodles are prepared by adding them to boiling water and bringing it back to a boil. Stir the noodles, fill the pot with more cold water, and bring the mixture back to a boil. Turn down the heat and cook noodles until tender. Drain noodles and run under cold water.
How long do frozen udon noodles cook?
Frozen udon only needs a minute or two to cook. Noodles should be added to a big pot of boiling water as directed on the package. Once it’s done, drain well. Dried noodles take much longer, up to 10 minutes.
How long do Japanese noodles take to cook?
When the water is boiling, add the noodles to the pot slowly. Stir gently to immerse all noodles in water. Return the water to a gentle boil before lowering the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 7 to 8 minutes as directed on the package.
Do you have to boil udon noodles first?
While frozen udon can typically be used after a brief soak in hot water, dried udon must be boiled.