Can I say that noodles are the Asian form of fast food? I believe so. It is easy to eat, and simple to put together with some vegetables as a nourishing meal. There are so many different kinds of noodles and noodle dishes in Asia, and Udon is one among them.
It is a thick noodle popular all over Japan, and I was introduced to Udon when I first moved there a long time ago. Each and every region has their own speciality udon dishes they take pride upon, from miso nikkomi udon to sanukki udon. Udon ya (Udon stalls) on railway platforms and stations are typical in Japan and working men standing and slurping a quick udon soup just before or after work is a common scene.
Even though it is fairly easy to make Udon noodles, I tend to use the ready to cook ones these days as they are available everywhere. I mostly have them in stock as it is definitely a good backup staple for quick speedy meals and for packed lunches. This stir fried version of Udon, called Yakki Udon, is a favourite in my household. It is a complete meal in itself, nutritionally well balanced and perfect for a quick lunch!
YAKKI UDON (Stir-fried Udon noodles)
- Ready to use udon noodles – 400 g (2 packets)
- Oil – 2 tablespoons
- Ginger (chopped) – 1 teaspoon
- Dry red chili cut into half – 1
- Peeled prawns – 100 g
- Mushrooms – a few
- Cabbage leaves shredded into long strips – ½ cup
- Carrot cut into long strips – ½ cup
- Soy sauce – 2 tablespoons
- Oyster sauce – 1 tablespoon
- Sugar – 1 tablespoon
- Salt and Pepper
- Mix soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, salt and pepper. Leave aside.
- Heat oil in a frying pan and sauté chopped ginger and red chili until fragrant.
- Add sliced mushrooms, shredded cabbage, carrot strips and udon noodles to the frying pan. Sauté in high heat for a few minutes and then add the mixed sauce along with two tablespoons of hot water.
- Sauté for a few minutes, mix well and serve hot with a dash of shichimi (Japanese chilli mix) or chilli flakes.