Yaki udon is a Japanese stir-fry noodle dish that typically includes meat, crisp vegetables, and a savory, soy-based sauce. In our vegan-friendly version, we use fragrant alliums and green tea leaves to create an aromatic, well-balanced, and delicately sweet sauce.
To make vegan yaki udon, start by preparing the noodles. Fresh, frozen, and dry udon all work well in this recipe.We recommend using mozuku udon or 5 grain beauty udon. However, in a pinch, Italian pasta noodles can also be used as a substitute!Boil the noodles for two minutes less than the package instructions state to ensure that they don’t overcook when stir-frying later on.
Next, prepare the sauce using leeks, onions, salt, and shio koji. Leeks and onions belong the allium category, a genus of root vegetable known for their earthy, vegetal flavor. As they caramelize in the pan, their natural sweetness will develop. At this stage, we also add in shio koji, a versatile Japanese condiment made from fermented rice. Shio koji is a natural flavor enhancer that will further highlight the umami qualities of the sauce. After adding in the reserved pasta water, the sauce will be fragrant and slightly thick. Pour in the cooked noodles and stir to coat.
To serve, drizzle on soy sauce for a bit of saltiness and top with green tea leaves to add an earthy aroma. When the green tea touches the heat of the noodles, it will begin to release its slightly bitter, robust flavor, adding another dimension of flavor to this dish.
Garnish with chopped nuts for a textural crunch, or add on any proteins of your choice.
Prep time: 3 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins
- 1 serving of udon noodles (we recommend the mozuku udon, 5 grain beauty udon, or pasta noodles as a substitute)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic (chopped finely)
- 1 leek (sliced)
- 1/4 onion (sliced)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp shio koji*
- 2 tbsp noodle water (from step 1)
- 1 tsp soy sauce*
- 1 tsp green tea leaves (available in our Japanese Green and Specialty Teas: “Ryu” Care Package)
- Roasted pine nuts
- Roasted walnuts
- Chili peppers
- Canned tuna or shredded chicken
- Bring 1.5L of water to a boil. Boil the noodles for 2 mins shorter than the package instruction so the texture is al dente. Save 2 tbsp of noodle water for the sauce. Drain the noodles and rinse under cold water.
- In a pan, add the olive oil and garlic. Gradually heat over low heat to enhance the aroma. Add the leeks, onions, salt, and shio koji. Cook for 5-7 mins over mid heat until the leeks and onions are moist and tender.
- Add the cooked noodles from step 1, followed by the noodle water. Cook for 30 secs on medium heat. Drizzle in the soy sauce and sprinkle on the green tea leaves. Toss for 30 seconds and serve on a plate. Garnish with optional toppings if desired.
- Green tea leaves are quite bitter but very aromatic. You can add more or less than 1 tsp depending on your preference.
- Make sure to cook the leeks and onions until they are soft and tender. This will add natural sweetness and umami to the dish.
Can be stored in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to 2 days.
Recipe courtesy of Miwa's Japanese Cooking Class
Miwa was born in Kamakura. She spent one year in Texas, US and another year in California, US during high-school and university respectively. In 2016, due to her husband, Yuki’s study abroad, she spent one year in Cambridge, UK where she came up with the original idea of Japanese Cooking Class in Shinagawa & Kamakura. She is currently teaching at the biggest cooking studio in Japan while holding a class at home. She is the mother of two and a full-time worker. Always busy her food is not for tourists but for the taste of a Japanese mother.(See her Instagram for food pictures). If you want to know the a well-balanced, time-saving and delicious Japanese family cuisine, please join her lesson!
Qualification; Medicinal cooking.
<Best classes and workshops in Shinagawa prefecture on Tripadviser (2010/06/18)>
Introduction courtesy of Britney Budiman
Britney Budiman (@booritney) is a writer, minimalist, aspiring effective altruist, and runner-in-progress with a penchant for saying “yes.” Previously, she has worked in Cambodia at a traditional arts NGO, in Brazil as a social sciences researcher, and in San Francisco at a housing start-up. She currently lives in the countryside of Kagoshima, Japan, where she teaches English. Her favorite thing in the world is good conversation.