You will adore this authentic udon noodle soup recipe if you love Japanese cuisine. This recipe is more filling than the average soup. Udon noodles are characterized by their thickness, which adds a unique texture to this dish.
This recipe will be especially delicious when the weather is cold, as this udon noodle soup is extremely hearty. Another benefit of this recipe is that it is super straightforward to make. Ready in just a few minutes, you won’t have to worry about spending ages in the kitchen.
This soup will make a substantial lunch or appetizer. So, this traditional Japanese dish has piqued your interest. In that case, this recipe will guide you through making an irresistible udon noodle soup.
What Is Udon Noodle Soup?
Udon soup is a popular fixture of Japanese cuisine (Also check out How To Make Japanese Clear Soup). As the name suggests, it is made with udon noodles, which are thick and chewy noodles made with wheat flour.
Udon soup has become popular in Japanese cuisine thanks to its simplicity and fantastic flavor. Typically, it can be made in less than 20 minutes. This soup is commonly sold in Japanese restaurants.
The noodles are cooked in a flavorsome broth. This broth can come in a variety of different fabulous flavors. The noodle soup is traditionally made with vegetables. In particular, green onions are a beloved addition to this succulent soup.
In terms of taste, udon noodle soup is quite mild. It has a pleasant, savory flavor that makes it a versatile option. Many people opt to boost the taste of this soup by adding meat or vegetables, such as green onions or spinach.
History Of Udon Noodle Soup
Udon’s origins trace back to ancient China, introduced to Japan around the Nara period (8th century). Over centuries, it evolved, adopting distinct regional variations across Japan. While its inception remains debated, Sanuki Udon from Kagawa Prefecture and Kishimen Udon from Nagoya are notable examples of its rich history.
Stories suggest Buddhist monks played a role in its popularization. Today, Udon is a culinary testament to Japan’s ability to assimilate, adapt, and refine foreign influences into iconic national dishes.
Interesting Facts About The Udon Noodle Soup
- Regional Varieties: Japan boasts diverse udon styles, from the flat Kishimen in Nagoya to the firm Sanuki in Kagawa.
- Noodle Thickness: Udon noodles can vary in thickness, ranging from pencil-thin to as thick as a finger.
- Serving Styles: Udon can be enjoyed cold (zaru udon) or hot, in soup, or with a dipping sauce.
- Worldwide Celebrations: Kagawa Prefecture hosts an annual Udon Expo showcasing its renowned Sanuki Udon.
- Udon DIY: Many Japanese households make udon from scratch, signifying its cultural importance.
- Late-night Delight: Udon is often a favored late-night meal, revered for its simplicity and comfort.
- Healthy Benefit: The dashi-based broth is rich in umami, which can promote feelings of satiety.
What Makes The Udon Noodle Soup Special?
- Texture: Udon’s distinct chewy consistency sets it apart from other noodles, delivering a satisfying mouthfeel.
- Heritage: Its deep-rooted history reflects Japan’s culinary evolution and passion for perfection.
- Broth Depth: The dashi-based broth offers umami richness, weaving flavors that resonate with each sip.
- Adaptability: Suitable for vegetarians and meat lovers, udon soup accommodates a myriad of toppings.
- Seasonal Versatility: It adapts seamlessly whether served piping hot in winter or refreshingly chilled in summer.
- Wholesomeness: A harmonious blend of protein, carbs, and flavorful broth makes it a nourishing, complete meal.
- Cultural Icon: Beyond food, udon signifies shared experiences, traditions, and Japanese artistry.
|Udon noodles||10 ounces|
|Olive oil||2 tablespoons|
|Dashi stock||2 cups|
|Green onions||2 (chopped)|
|Crushed garlic cloves||2|
|Grated ginger||1 teaspoon|
|Chestnut mushrooms||4 ounces (sliced)|
|Soy sauce||1 tablespoon|
- Udon Noodles: Fresh udon provides the best texture. If using dried, ensure they don’t overcook to retain chewiness.
- Olive Oil: While not traditional, olive oil can be replaced with sesame oil for an authentic Asian flavor.
- Dashi Stock: Opt for homemade dashi for depth; instant dashi granules are a quick alternative.
- Green Onions: Use white and green parts, finely chopping for a balanced flavor.
- Garlic: Freshly crushed garlic offers a more robust flavor than store-bought minced versions.
- Ginger: Use fresh ginger root and store leftovers in the freezer for longevity.
- Chestnut Mushrooms: These can be swapped for shiitake or oyster mushrooms for varied texture and flavor.
Can You Vary The Recipe With Other Ingredients?
This udon noodle soup is a highly delicious recipe. Yet, you may want to customize the flavor of this soup to fit your preferences better. To help inspire you, consider trying some of these variations to adjust the taste and texture of the dish:
- Add cooked chicken to the soup to make it a little more substantial. This will give the dish a meaty taste. Not to mention, it will give the dish a source of protein. Of course, this variation will not be suitable for vegetarians or vegans.
- In Japanese cuisine, udon soup is often topped with an egg. Boiled or fried eggs will work particularly well.
- To increase the dish’s nutritional value, try adding a bag of spinach. Spinach is a superb source of iron, vitamin K, vitamin C, and folate. This spinach can be added toward the end of the recipe.
- Use togarashi as a terrific topping. This refers to a common Japanese spice mixture consisting of seven ingredients. Togarashi is a beautiful way of giving this soup a spicy kick. Sprinkle these spices on top of the soup once it’s ready.
- Chop mushrooms and green onions.
- Cook udon noodles per packet instructions, drain, mix with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and set aside.
- Sauté mushrooms, garlic, and ginger in 1 tablespoon olive oil until browned.
- Boil dashi stock; add the sautéed mix, mirin, soy sauce, and salt.
- Combine noodles; simmer for a minute.
- Serve hot, garnished with green onions.
Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings
- Proteins: Enhance heartiness with slices of tempura-fried shrimp, chicken, tofu, or beef.
- Seafood: Shrimp, crab, and clams can elevate the dish with a marine twist.
- Vegetables: Bok choy, napa cabbage, spinach, or carrot slices offer additional nutrients and color.
- Heat: Spice enthusiasts can add chili oil, red pepper flakes, or sliced fresh chilies.
- Aromatic Herbs: Shiso leaves, cilantro, or Thai basil provide a refreshing aroma and flavor.
- Eggs: Soft-boiled, marinated, or poached eggs offer creaminess and richness.
- Broth Variations: Switch dashi for miso or curry base for a different flavor profile.
- Additional Toppings: Nori seaweed strips, sesame seeds, or tempura flakes provide texture and depth.
- Pickled Additions: Red ginger or pickled radish can introduce tangy contrasts.
- Sauces: A dash of ponzu or a dollop of chili paste can transform the soup’s character.
Scaling The Recipe
- Quantities: Multiply or divide ingredient amounts based on servings. Doubling for twice the people or halving for fewer servings is straightforward.
- Pan/Pot Size: Ensure your cooking vessel accommodates the increased or decreased volume. Overcrowding can affect cooking times and outcomes.
- Cooking Time: While liquid ingredients might need longer to boil or simmer when increased, solid ingredients like noodles or vegetables might cook at similar times regardless of quantity.
- Taste: Always taste as you scale. Doubling an ingredient doesn’t always mean doubling the flavor; adjustments may be necessary.
- Ingredient Behavior: Some ingredients, like spices or salt, might not scale linearly. They often require less than a direct proportional increase.
- Consistency: Monitor soup consistency. Scaling up may require slightly more liquid than doubling to achieve the desired brothiness.
What Is Used For Garnishing?
- Herbs: Freshly chopped green onions, cilantro, shiso leaves, or parsley add color and a burst of flavor.
- Seeds: Toasted sesame seeds or poppy seeds offer a delightful crunch.
- Spices: Red pepper flakes or freshly ground black pepper can give a hint of heat.
- Seaweed: Strips of nori or shredded seaweed add a marine depth.
- Citrus Zest: Grated lemon, lime, or yuzu zest can brighten flavors.
- Vegetable Curls: Carrot, cucumber, or radish curls bring elegance.
- Eggs: Slices of soft-boiled, marinated eggs add richness.
Can I Make Udon Noodle Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?
- Perfect for developing deep flavors. Combine your dashi stock, mushrooms, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, mirin, and any added proteins (like chicken) in the slow cooker.
- Set it low for 4-6 hours or high for 2-3 hours. About 20 minutes before serving, cook udon noodles separately and add them to the soup to prevent them from getting too soft.
- Use the sauté function for browning mushrooms, garlic, and ginger. Add other ingredients (except noodles) and pressure cook on high for about 10 minutes.
- Release pressure, add pre-cooked noodles, simmer for a minute, and serve.
Can I Use Store Bought Broth, Or Should I Make My Own?
- Convenience: When tight, a good-quality store-bought broth can be a lifesaver.
- Consistency: Brands provide a consistent flavor profile, ensuring predictable results each time.
- Variety: Many stores offer various broths, including organic, low-sodium, or flavored versions.
- Flavor: Homemade broth can have a richer, deeper flavor, customized to your preference.
- Control: You dictate the ingredients, avoiding preservatives or excessive salt.
- Economical: Using kitchen scraps like bones and vegetables makes it cost-effective.
Can I Use Different Types Of Meat/Fish/Pasta/Vegetables For The Soup?
- Meat: Swap traditional choices for chicken, beef, pork, or even duck for a richer flavor.
- Fish: White fish, salmon, or even shellfish like shrimp and clams can enhance the marine undertones of the broth.
- Pasta: While udon is traditional, you can use soba, ramen, rice noodles, or spaghetti in a pinch.
- Vegetables: Sky’s the limit! Bok choy, napa cabbage, spinach, snow peas, bell peppers, or broccoli can add crunch, flavor, and nutrition.
Success Tips – Tips And Tricks For Making The Soup
Crafting the perfect soup involves a blend of preparation and patience. Here are some essential tips and tricks:
- Mise en Place: Always gather and measure ingredients beforehand, ensuring a smooth cooking process.
- Freshness: Use fresh herbs and produce; their flavor is unparalleled.
- Even Chopping: Uniformly chopped ingredients ensure even cooking.
Cooking Time Tips
- Simmer, Don’t Boil: A gentle simmer extracts flavors without making the soup cloudy or overcooking ingredients.
- Skim Regularly: Remove impurities that rise to the top for a clearer broth.
- Layering Flavors: Start with aromatics (e.g., onions, garlic) and then add the main ingredients, allowing each to contribute to the soup’s depth.
- Taste As You Go: This ensures balanced seasoning and flavor development.
Delve into the healthful aspects of Udon Noodle Soup! Each bowl provides essential nutrients, blending taste with well-being in every sip. Let’s learn more about the nutritional content of the soup.
What Are The Total Calories In The Soup?
Determining the exact calorie count of Udon Noodle Soup requires precise measurements and consideration of each ingredient’s caloric value. For this recipe, you will get an average of 150 to 200 kcal per serving. It may vary if you change the ingredients. So, in that case, you can use a calorie counter for accurate measurement.
Dietary Restrictions Of The Udon Noodle Soup
- Gluten: Udon noodles are made from wheat, making them unsuitable for those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
- Soy: Soy sauce contains soy, which can be problematic for individuals with soy allergies.
- Vegetarian/Vegan: The dashi stock often includes fish products, making it non-vegetarian.
- Low Sodium: Traditional soy sauce and dashi stock can be high in sodium, potentially unsuitable for those on sodium-restricted diets.
- FODMAPs: Ingredients like garlic and onions are high FODMAP foods, which some people may need to avoid.
Health Benefits Of The Udon Noodle Soup
- Complex Carbs: Udon noodles provide steady energy, aiding in prolonged satiety.
- Digestive Aid: Ginger in the soup can help digestion and combat nausea.
- Immune Boost: Garlic has antimicrobial properties, potentially boosting the immune system.
- Low Fat: The soup is relatively low in fats when prepared traditionally.
- Mushroom Merits: Chestnut mushrooms are rich in antioxidants and essential vitamins.
- Bone Health: Dashi stock, especially from fish bones, provides calcium and other minerals.
- Hydration: The broth helps maintain hydration, especially beneficial during cold seasons.
How Can I Make Udon Noodle Soup Lower In Sodium?
- Low-Sodium Soy Sauce: Opt for a reduced-sodium version with significantly less salt while maintaining flavor.
- Homemade Dashi: When making your dashi stock, omit or reduce added salt and rely on the ingredients’ natural flavors.
- Fresh Ingredients: Utilize fresh vegetables and proteins, which generally contain less sodium than their processed counterparts.
- Herbs & Spices: Enhance the flavor with herbs like cilantro, basil, or green onions, and spices like ginger, garlic, or chili flakes instead of relying solely on salt.
- Taste Test: Always taste as you go, adjusting seasonings gradually to balance flavor and health.
How Can I Make Udon Noodle Soup Lower In Sugar?
- Mirin Substitute: Traditional mirin contains sugar. Opt for a low-sugar or sugar-free version. Alternatively, use a splash of rice vinegar for tang, and adjust sweetness with a sugar substitute if necessary.
- Watch Broth Components: Ensure your dashi stock or any store-bought broth doesn’t have added sugars.
- Natural Enhancers: Amplify flavor with fresh ingredients like mushrooms, seaweed, and herbs, which don’t contribute sugars.
- Check Soy Sauce: Some soy sauces may have added sugars. Read labels and select a version without sugars.
- Mind Toppings: If adding toppings, opt for natural, unsweetened ones to maintain a low sugar profile.
How To Serve The Udon Noodle Soup At Its Best?
- Freshness: Prepare and consume immediately. Udon’s texture is optimal right after cooking.
- Proper Bowls: Use deep bowls to maintain the soup’s warmth.
- Presentation: Arrange toppings artistically. For instance, scatter green onions, a sprinkle of sesame seeds, or a dash of chili flakes on top.
- Sides: Complement with pickled vegetables or tempura for crunch.
- Temperature: Ensure the soup is served hot. The contrast of the warm broth and the smooth noodles is critical.
- Accompaniments: Offer condiments like chili oil or soy sauce on the side for personalization.
- Ambiance: Pair with traditional utensils and create a serene dining atmosphere.
Perfect Side Dishes To Complement Udon Noodle Soup
This recipe can be served individually for a fantastic appetizer or an indulgent lunchtime meal.
However, you should make this soup more substantial if you have it as part of a main meal. The best way of doing this is by pairing the udon noodle soup with some side dishes.
The good news is that this soup recipe is extraordinarily versatile. You can accompany it with a wide assortment of different side dishes. To help you find the best side dish, here are some of the best suggestions for you to try:
- Nukazuke refers to a Japanese side dish in which vegetables are pickled, thus allowing them to last longer. These vegetables will be preserved in rice bran and other ingredients, including black vinegar.
- Practically any vegetable can be preserved to make Nukazuke. Yet, commonly used vegetables include cucumbers, cabbage, and carrots.
- This side dish will pair well with udon soup. This idea is particularly incredible if you enjoy healthy side dishes. Nukazuke will surely add a bit of color to the dish, thus making it extremely aesthetically pleasing.
- If you want to pair your udon soup with an authentic Japanese dish, tempura is a great option. Tempura is typically made with a vegetable or meat that has been deep-fried in a batter. Seafood is also commonly deep-fried to make traditional tempura.
- Tempura is a fun side dish for udon noodle soup, especially as a dish you share with fellow diners. They can add a source of protein to the soup, which is often lacking.
- Aemono is a fantastic Japanese dish in which vegetables are chopped up and served in a sauce, including salad dressing. This vibrant side dish will make your soup appear much more appealing.
- This appetizer can be made with many vegetables, such as broccoli, cucumber, green beans, or spinach. As a result, this is an incredibly nutritious side dish containing various flavors and textures.
- Aemono is an excellent dish for your udon noodle soup to create genuine Japanese cuisine.
- A garden salad is one of the most versatile side dishes out there. This mouth-watering side dish will pair beautifully with various dishes, including udon noodle soup.
- One of the benefits of making garden salad as a side dish is that it is super straightforward to make. It will often require just a handful of ingredients and should be ready in five minutes.
- In addition, garden salad is loaded with nutritious ingredients. You can use delicious vegetables like cucumber, lettuce, bell peppers, and spinach to make a simple yet effective garden salad.
- Chirashizushi is yet another authentic Japanese side dish. This style of sushi is popularly served during parties and other celebrations. It is known for its eye-catching appearance.
- This side dish is commonly made with rice, vegetables, and seafood. The rice dish will be scattered with a range of different toppings.
- Chirashizushi is a superb dish to give your soup a seafood-like flavor.
- Last but not least, bread rolls and soup are regularly served together. This is an ideal combination because the bread will absorb all the flavors when dipped into the soup.
- When eating bread rolls with your udon noodle soup, you can dip the bread into the broth once you have finished all the noodles. This side dish will ensure that you feel full after eating this soup.
- Fresh homemade bread rolls will work, especially with your udon noodle soup. However, store-bought varieties will also suffice. You can also try sliced bread or baguettes if you don’t have any bread rolls.
How Long Can We Store The Soup?
If you have any leftovers, you may wonder how to store this udon noodle soup correctly. To reduce unnecessary leftovers, reduce the number of ingredients you use. This recipe is designed to serve around 4 adults.
You should separate the noodles from the broth to store any leftovers. To do this, drain the broth using a colander so the liquid drops into a container.
Once the broth and noodles have been separated, place them in airtight containers.
Put these containers into the fridge, which should remain fresh for two to three days. After this time, it is recommended that you discard the soup.
You can reheat your leftovers to enjoy them at a later date. Just be sure to reheat it thoroughly for a pleasant eating experience.
Can I Make The Soup In Advance?
- Broth Preparation: Make the dashi and flavorings a day or two ahead and refrigerate.
- Noodle Strategy: Cook udon noodles separately and store them in cold water or with a bit of oil to prevent sticking.
- Recombine: When ready to serve, reheat the broth and combine it with freshly warmed noodles.
- Toppings: Prepare and store toppings like mushrooms or green onions in separate containers to maintain freshness.
What Can We Do With Leftovers?
- Stir-Fry: Drain noodles, then sauté with vegetables and a splash of sauce for a quick noodle stir-fry.
- Udon Salad: Chill the noodles and toss with vegetables, protein, and a tangy vinaigrette.
- Casserole: Use the broth and noodles as a base, top with cheese or breadcrumbs, and bake.
- Noodle Omelet: Incorporate leftover noodles into an omelet or frittata.
- Soup Remix: To refresh the dish, add new ingredients, such as different proteins or veggies.
- Broth Base: Use the leftover broth as a base for making other soup varieties.
- Pasta Substitute: Swap udon for traditional pasta in Italian or other cuisine-based dishes.
Special Tools/Equipment Needed
- Chopping board: Surface for safely cutting and chopping ingredients.
- Sharp knife: Essential for precise cutting and slicing.
- Garlic press (optional): Tool to easily crush garlic for flavoring.
- Colander: Used to drain and rinse udon noodles and other ingredients.
- Frying pan: Used to sauté and cook mushrooms.
- Boiling pot: Used to cook udon noodles and prepare the soup base.
- Wooden spoon: Utensil for stirring and mixing ingredients while cooking.
- Cutlery: Eating utensils for serving and enjoying the soup.
- Bowl for serving: Container to present and enjoy the finished udon soup.
Ideal for people with a passion for Japanese food, this authentic udon noodle soup recipe is loaded with fantastic flavors.
When you taste this homely soup, you will feel as though you are in Japan. This soup is also superbly versatile, as there are loads of different variations and pairings that you can try. So why not experiment with this sensational soup recipe?
Frequently Asked Questions
Is This Recipe Vegan Or Vegetarian?
No, this recipe is not suitable for vegetarians or vegans. This is because it contains dashi stock, which often comes from niboshi. In Japan, niboshi refers to small dried fish.
Luckily, you can easily make this recipe edible for vegans or vegetarians by using a different type of dashi stock. Kombu dashi is an outstanding option made from seaweed or kelp. As a result, it has a seafood-like flavor but is free from animal products.
Is Udon Noodle Soup Healthy?
Generally, udon noodle soup is considered a relatively healthy dish. Yet, the health benefits will differ depending on the recipe. Recipes packed with vegetables are more nutritious than versions that exclude them.
Udon noodles are high in carbs but low in fat. Just remember to have a healthy portion of noodles.
Are You Meant To Drink Udon Broth?
Yes, the broth of udon soup is intended to be consumed. However, you do not have to consume all of this broth.
It will not be considered rude if you leave behind some of this broth, as it is not the main part of the dish.
What Is The Difference Between Udon And Ramen?
Ramen and udon are often confused with one another. Luckily, there are some critical differences between them that you can use to differentiate ramen from udon.
Firstly, udon is much thicker than ramen. Udon noodles are renowned for their thickness. Additionally, ramen is made with eggs, while udon does not typically contain eggs. As a result, udon noodles are often vegan.
Why Is My Udon Noodle Soup Broth Cloudy?
A cloudy broth can result from vigorously boiling the dashi or from the natural starch of the udon. For a clearer broth, ensure that dashi ingredients are simmered gently. Rinsing udon noodles after cooking can also reduce excess starch.
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