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This rich sauce gets its heat from toban djan, a spicy chili-bean paste
Milk Street Bowtie Udon Noodles with Spicy Meat and Mushroom Sauce

Udon Noodles with Spicy Meat and Mushroom Sauce

Appears in March-April 2022

50 minutes

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Udon Noodles with Spicy Meat and Mushroom Sauce

Free

This meaty, umami-rich sauce from “Japanese Home Cooking” by Sonoko Sakai is a perfect match for thick, hearty udon noodles, whether you use homemade or store-bought. A salty fermented chili-bean paste called toban djan provides the spiciness; use the smaller dose if you’re sensitive to chili heat. If you’ve used the larger amount and still want more heat in the sauced noodles, offer a bottle of chili oil at the table.

6

Servings

Tip

Don’t forget to stir the cornstarch-water slurry before adding it to the sauce. Upon standing, the starch settles to the bottom of the bowl, so stirring is necessary to recombine. After adding the slurry to the sauce, be sure to return to a simmer while stirring so the sauce thickens properly and doesn’t form starchy lumps.

50 minutes

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
8 ounces 80 percent lean ground beef
8 ounces ground pork
4 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and finely chopped
8 ounce can bamboo shoots, rinsed, drained and finely chopped (optional)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup sake
1-2 tablespoons chili-bean sauce (toban djan)
2 tablespoons miso, preferably red
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 recipe (about 1¾ pounds) homemade udon noodles (p. TK), cooked, drained and rinsed
4 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1/2 English cucumber, cut into matchsticks
Ingredients
  • 2

    tablespoons toasted sesame oil

  • 8

    ounces 80 percent lean ground beef

  • 8

    ounces ground pork

  • 4

    shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and finely chopped

  • 8

    ounce can bamboo shoots, rinsed, drained and finely chopped (optional)

  • 2

    medium garlic cloves, minced

  • 2

    tablespoons minced fresh ginger

  • 2

    cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • ¼

    cup sake

  • 1-2

    tablespoons chili-bean sauce (toban djan)

  • 2

    tablespoons miso, preferably red

  • 2

    tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1

    tablespoon mirin

  • 2

    tablespoons cornstarch

  • 1

    recipe (about 1¾ pounds) homemade udon noodles (p. TK), cooked, drained and rinsed

  • 4

    scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal

  • ½

    English cucumber, cut into matchsticks

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Reviews
Raymond H.
July 21, 2022
Udon Dan Dan Style Rocked Our World
I’ve eaten a lot of Udon and this was by far the best Udon I’ve had. Technically Dan Dan sauce is Chinese, but what a great partner for Japanese Udon. Savory, slightly spicy, a little crunchy due to the bamboo shoots, cucumber topping a great cooling touch. I often buy frozen Udon at Japanese markets, and that will work great, but lately I’ve decided fresh Udon are simply too easy to make, there’s no excuse not to — much easier than fresh Italian sfoglia. The technique here is perfect and if you can get Japanese flour even better. BTW, I bought the Sakai cookbook, from which this comes, it’s awesome but note Milkstreet reduced the broth in the recipe from 4 to 2 cups — an absolutely correct alteration, 4 would be too soupy, not as noodle clingy. This recipe is a keeper! Milkstreet rocks.
Shannon R.

I have Sonoko Sakai’s cookbook and it’s a gem. This recipe is unreal. So, so good. It’s fun to make the noodles and the sauce is very flavorful. I look forward to making this again.

Diana L.

I made this today. It was pretty good. I could not find the CHILI-BEAN SAUCE in my grocery store. I also did not make fresh noodles. I have used dry noodles I got from the store (I have used 9.5 oz package then added 1 more buddle from another 9.5 oz package. Brand: Hakubaku Organic Udon Noodles). Because of dry noodles, I added only 1 cup of water. Of course, I forgot to add the cornstarch :) , however, without it .. it was just as creamy.


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Udon Noodles with Spicy Meat and Mushroom Sauce

Get Ready to Cook

6

Servings

50 minutes

Tip

Don’t forget to stir the cornstarch-water slurry before adding it to the sauce. Upon standing, the starch settles to the bottom of the bowl, so stirring is necessary to recombine. After adding the slurry to the sauce, be sure to return to a simmer while stirring so the sauce thickens properly and doesn’t form starchy lumps.

Ingredients
  • 2

    tablespoons toasted sesame oil

  • 8

    ounces 80 percent lean ground beef

  • 8

    ounces ground pork

  • 4

    shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and finely chopped

  • 8

    ounce can bamboo shoots, rinsed, drained and finely chopped (optional)

  • 2

    medium garlic cloves, minced

  • 2

    tablespoons minced fresh ginger

  • 2

    cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • ¼

    cup sake

  • 1-2

    tablespoons chili-bean sauce (toban djan)

  • 2

    tablespoons miso, preferably red

  • 2

    tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1

    tablespoon mirin

  • 2

    tablespoons cornstarch

  • 1

    recipe (about 1¾ pounds) homemade udon noodles (p. TK), cooked, drained and rinsed

  • 4

    scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal

  • ½

    English cucumber, cut into matchsticks

Step 1 of 2

Make the Meat-Mushroom Mixture

2
tablespoons toasted sesame oil
8
ounces 80 percent lean ground beef
8
ounces ground pork
4
shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and finely chopped
8
ounce can bamboo shoots, rinsed, drained and finely chopped (optional)
2
medium garlic cloves, minced
2
tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2
cups low-sodium chicken broth
¼
cup sake
1-2
tablespoons chili-bean sauce (toban djan)
2
tablespoons miso, preferably red
2
tablespoons soy sauce
1
tablespoon mirin
2
tablespoons cornstarch
2
tablespoons water

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat the sesame oil until shimmering. Add the ground beef and pork, then cook, stirring and breaking the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until browned, 4 to 5 minutes.


Add the mushrooms, bamboo shoots (if using), garlic and ginger; cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.


Stir in the broth, sake, chili-bean sauce, miso, soy sauce and mirin. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat to maintain a simmer, until the liquid has reduced by half, 6 to 7 minutes.


Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water; set aside.

Step 2 of 2

Cook the Noodles

1
recipe (about 1¾ pounds) homemade udon noodles (p. TK), cooked, drained and rinsed
4
scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
½
English cucumber, cut into matchsticks

When the liquid is properly reduced, stir the cornstarch slurry to recombine, then stir it into the meat-mushroom mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce returns to a simmer and has thickened, about 1 minute.


Add the noodles to the pot, toss to combine with the sauce and cook, stirring, just until the noodles are heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Divide among individual bowls and top with the scallions and cucumber.

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