My Quick and Easy Udon Sauce
Traditional Udon noodles are in a broth soup, but I like mine differently. I’ve come up with this quick and easy udon noodle sauce that goes together quickly and can be made with a lot of ingredients you probably already have on hand. It’s OK if you don’t, obviously, but there are some key ones that make the flavors in this recipe pop.
This recipe has 3 parts – make the sauce, prep the vegetables & noodles, stir fry it all together. Altogether it takes about 15 minutes and needs just 1 bowl and 1 pan. The sauce consists of soy sauce (light and dark), vinegar or Mirin, a bit of vegetarian oyster sauce, some brown sugar, and a touch of sesame oil. This gets added to the vegetables and noodles after they have cooked in the pan.
What I love about this dish is how fast it comes together. This particular recipe has great umami, isn’t too salty or sweet, and is fast enough to put together for lunch or a quick main dish, or even a late-night snack in my house. It doesn’t make a lot of dirty dishes, and often I serve the udon noodles in the same bowl I prepare the sauce in.
The Special Detail that I always make sure I have is good noodles.
Obviously, this recipe is best when fresh udon noodles are used, but where I live that is hard to get, and I don’t have the time (or skill) to make them property. Instead, I use pre-cooked packages that I find in the refrigerated section of my local Asian grocery store. You can also use dried udon noodles, which are the easiest to find.
You may be wondering what exactly are Udon noodles. Let me tell you!
Udon noodles are made with only 3 main ingredients – flour, water, and salt. It’s the technique that makes them what they are. Here’s a link to a YouTube video about Making Udon Noodles.
Because they use wheat flour these noodles are NOT gluten-free. But they are Vegan and Vegetarian.
Also, traditionally udon noodles are in a soup. The broth is made with Dashi, (or shaved bonito flakes, which are fish), and not much else. However, as I am a vegetarian I prefer my sauce, which is not traditional.
How to cook Udon Noodles
There are basically 3 different ways to prepare the noodles, depending on what type of udon noodle you have: fresh, dried, or pre-cooked.
Here are my tips to help you get perfect noodles each time. Udon noodles do like to stick together, so when cooking be sure to use a big pot so they aren’t crowded in, and stir frequently if possible. Then quickly remove from the heat and rinse under cold water. Don’t worry if they cool down. You will be reheating them again in a frying pan in my recipe. This will give the best flavor and the distinctive chewy texture that we all love.
To cook fresh noodles:
Put them into a pot of boiling water for just a few moments – 1 or 2 minutes. Then quickly remove them and rinse the Japanese noodles. in a bath of cold water.
To cook dried udon noodles:
Follow the package directions. Usually 8-12 minutes and then rinse in cold water again. The cold water rinse removes some extra starch and prevents them from sticking together.
To cook pre-cooked udon noodles.
There are also package instructions on these. But this is what I usually use as it is the fastest and has a pretty good flavor and texture. Heat about 2 liters of water in a big bowl in the microwave. (You can also use a kettle). Open the package of noodles and tease them apart with your fingers. Carefully put them in the hot water for 2-3 minutes and stir so they don’t stick together. Then remove and rinse under cold water for a couple of mintues.
I like to use three vegetables when making Udon noodles with sauce.
In this recipe, it is green onion, carrot, and cabbage. It happened to be what was in my fridge at the time.
I’ve also used shiitake mushrooms, bok choy, bell pepper, spring onion, and regular onions too. But I always keep them in groups of three. Feel free to experiment with your favorites and send me pics on Instagram with the hashtag #bohemianvegetarian.
The sauce mixture takes just a few moments to put together. Just take everything and put it into a bowl and mix.
If you don’t have light or dark soy sauce you can use regular, or even low sodium soy – just add the two amounts. Also, regular white sugar can be used for brown sugar. If you like your sauce a little sweeter, be a little more generous with the sweetener.
The hardest ingredient to find is the vegetarian oyster sauce.
For a little heat add in some chili garlic sauce – I’ve done that in a pinch, but this dish doesn’t need garlic.
Substitutions and alterations
Gluten-Free option – You can use soba noodles which are made from buckwheat. Soba are gluten-free
Vegan Option – This dish is 100% vegan
Carnivore Option – There is no protein source in this dish. Use authentic oyster sauce or even Worcestershire sauce
I like the sauce so much I don’t even need udon. I’ve used ramen noodles more than once.
- Onion pancakes
- Nice salad
Storage of leftovers
If you have any leftovers simply put everything into an airtight container. This dish is best fresh of course, and it does NOT freeze well.
- 1 tbsp Dark Soy Soy Sauce
- 1 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
- 1 tbsp Mirin
- 2 tbsp Vegetarian Oyster Sauce
- 3 tbsp Brown sugar
- ¼ tbsp sesame oil
- 2 Green Onion Sliced thin
- ½ C Carrot Grated
- 1 C Green Cabbage Shredded
- 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 1 pkg Udon Noodles
- 1 tsp Sesame Seeds
- Add the soy sauces, Mirin, Vegetarian Oyster Sauce, Sesame oil, & Brown Sugar to a bowl. Wisk or mix well. Set aside.
Prepare the Ingredients
- Shred the carrot, Chop the cabbage finely, chop the green onion.
- Follow the package instructions for cooking the udon noodles. Soak instant udon noodles in hot water for 1-2 minutes, then rinse in cold water.
Assemble & Cook
- Preheat a wok or skilet to medium-high heat. Once hot, add the vegetable oil
- When oil is hot, add the udon noodles, stirring frequently so they don't stick.
- After noodles have warmed up and slightly browned add al the vegetables, continually stirring for 2-3 minutes.
- When the vegetables have almost finished but are still slightly crisp, pour in the sauce.
- Let the sauce come to a boil (bubble), and transfer to serving bowl.
- Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top to garnish and ENJOY!
One last thing. Making this noodle dish isn’t hard, and once you do it a few times you will be as good as an experienced pro! Hopefully, the tips before the recipe will help you make the perfect chewy udon noodles and a flavorful authentic tasting sauce! Try this quick recipe out. You will be a fan of noodles in no time.
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