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Better Japanese noodles via Italy
Milk Street Bowtie Yakiudon

Yakiudon

45 minutes

Free

Fresh udon—a Japanese wheat noodle with a satisfying chew—is sold frozen, refrigerated and in shelf-stable packages, but for this recipe we preferred dried, which are more widely available. Shichimi togarashi is a Japanese spice blend that we sprinkled on at the table; it's optional, but we think the pickled ginger is a must. Its sharp bite complements the salty, savory flavors of the noodles and adds a bright, bracing accent. If you're not up for making your own pickled ginger, look for jars of it in the grocery store's Asian section.

12 ounces dried udon noodles
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons mirin
1 teaspoon white sugar
3 small dried shiitake mushrooms, broken in half
8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, halved if large, thinly sliced
1 small yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
12 ounces baby bok choy, trimmed and sliced crosswise ½-inch thick
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 scallions, thinly sliced on bias
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
Shichimi togarashi, to serve (optional)
Pickled ginger, to serve
Ingredients
  • 12

    ounces dried udon noodles

  • 2

    tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons grapeseed or other neutral oil

  • ¼

    cup soy sauce

  • ¼

    cup water

  • 2

    tablespoons mirin

  • 1

    teaspoon white sugar

  • 3

    small dried shiitake mushrooms, broken in half

  • 8

    ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, halved if large, thinly sliced

  • 1

    small yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced

  • 2

    medium garlic cloves, minced

  • 12

    ounces baby bok choy, trimmed and sliced crosswise ½-inch thick

  • ½

    teaspoon ground white pepper

  • 2

    scallions, thinly sliced on bias

  • 1

    tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

  • Shichimi togarashi, to serve (optional)

Directions
  1. 01
    In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add the udon, stir well and cook until al dente. Drain the noodles, then add 2 cups of ice to the strainer. Continue running under cool water, tossing, until the noodles are chilled. Drain well, then transfer to a large bowl. Toss with 2 teaspoons of the oil, then set aside.
    See Demo
    Yakiudon Step 1
  2. 02
    In a small saucepan over medium, combine the soy sauce, water, mirin and sugar. Bring to a simmer, stirring, then add the dried mushrooms, pushing them into the liquid. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside until the mushrooms have softened and cooled, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the shiitake mushrooms from the soy sauce mixture, squeezing them to allow any liquid to drip back into the pan. Remove and discard the stems, then finely chop. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.
    See Demo
    Yakiudon Step 2
  3. 03
    In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil. Add the fresh mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and slightly shrunken, about 3 minutes. Add the onion, drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the bok choy and cook, stirring, until the leaves are wilted and the stem pieces are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add to the chopped dried shiitakes.
    See Demo
    Yakiudon Step 3
  4. 04
    Set the now-empty skillet over medium and add the udon, gently tossing them with tongs. Add the vegetable mixture, gently toss a few times, then add the soy sauce mixture and white pepper. Cook, tossing constantly, until the noodles are heated and have absorbed most of the liquid, about 2 minutes. Transfer to serving bowls and sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds. Serve with shichimi togarashi and pickled ginger.
    See Demo
    Yakiudon Step 4
Tip: Don’t boil the udon until fully tender; the noodles need to be al dente, or they will be limp and overdone in the finished dish. Start checking for doneness well ahead of the suggested cooking time on the package. We found that some brands were al dente in about half recommended time. And don't let the cooked udon chill in the ice water for any longer than needed or the noodles will become waterlogged.
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Yakiudon

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4

Servings

45 minutes

Tip

Don’t boil the udon until fully tender; the noodles need to be al dente, or they will be limp and overdone in the finished dish. Start checking for doneness well ahead of the suggested cooking time on the package. We found that some brands were al dente in about half recommended time. And don't let the cooked udon chill in the ice water for any longer than needed or the noodles will become waterlogged.

Ingredients
  • 12

    ounces dried udon noodles

  • 2

    tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons grapeseed or other neutral oil

  • ¼

    cup soy sauce

  • ¼

    cup water

  • 2

    tablespoons mirin

  • 1

    teaspoon white sugar

  • 3

    small dried shiitake mushrooms, broken in half

  • 8

    ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, halved if large, thinly sliced

  • 1

    small yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced

  • 2

    medium garlic cloves, minced

  • 12

    ounces baby bok choy, trimmed and sliced crosswise ½-inch thick

  • ½

    teaspoon ground white pepper

  • 2

    scallions, thinly sliced on bias

  • 1

    tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

  • Shichimi togarashi, to serve (optional)

Step 1 of 4

Cook and drain the udon

12
ounces dried udon noodles
2
teaspoons grapeseed or other neutral oil

In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add the udon, stir well and cook until al dente. Drain the noodles, then add 2 cups of ice to the strainer.


Continue running under cool water, tossing, until the noodles are chilled. Drain well, then transfer to a large bowl. Toss with 2 teaspoons of the oil, then set aside.

Step 2 of 4

Make the soy sauce mixture and submerge the mushrooms

¼
cup soy sauce
¼
cup water
2
tablespoons mirin
1
teaspoon white sugar
3
small dried shiitake mushrooms, broken in half

In a small saucepan over medium, combine the soy sauce, water, mirin and sugar. Bring to a simmer, stirring, then add the dried mushrooms, pushing them into the liquid.


Remove from the heat, cover and set aside until the mushrooms have softened and cooled, 20 to 30 minutes.


Remove the shiitake mushrooms from the soy sauce mixture, squeezing them to allow any liquid to drip back into the pan. Remove and discard the stems, then finely chop. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.

Step 3 of 4

Cook the vegetables

2
tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
8
ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, halved if large, thinly sliced
1
small yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
2
medium garlic cloves, minced
12
ounces baby bok choy, trimmed and sliced crosswise ½-inch thick

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil. Add the fresh mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and slightly shrunken, about 3 minutes.


Add the onion, drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.


Add the bok choy and cook, stirring, until the leaves are wilted and the stem pieces are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add to the chopped dried shiitakes.

Step 4 of 4

Finish cooking and serve

2
scallions, thinly sliced on bias
1
tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
Shichimi togarashi, to serve (optional)
Pickled ginger, to serve

Set the now-empty skillet over medium and add the udon, gently tossing them with tongs. Add the vegetable mixture, gently toss a few times, then add the soy sauce mixture and white pepper. Cook, tossing constantly, until the noodles are heated and have absorbed most of the liquid, about 2 minutes.


Transfer to serving bowls and sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds. Serve with shichimi togarashi and pickled ginger.

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