Yaki Udon

Yaki Udon

Udon are a type of thick white Japanese noodle, made of wheat flour and most commonly used in soup – kake udon – though they have many other applications besides. Yaki udon simply means ‘fried udon’ and it can be made according to many different recipes – no two recipes for yaki udon that I’ve seen have been the same. This fact makes it a perfect candidate for culinary exploration and experimentation. However, in this case I thought it best to go for a simple seasoning of soy sauce, fish sauce and sesame oil as it has yet to fail in the flavour department.

When using udon noodles always buy them fresh; all of the dried packets of udon I’ve seen are flat and boring – not at all what an udon noodle ought to be like. Most packets of fresh udon that I’ve come across purport to be ‘straight-to-wok’ – don’t listen to it! It’s always best to soak your udon in boiling water before use as it makes for a lighter, fresher meal. Every noodle in a stir fry needs to be autonomous, particularly when it comes to the thicker varieties – it can be very off-putting to be served a bowl of noodles which are clinging to one another as if holding on to their very lives.

Yaki Udon

Prawns make a great addition to yaki udon as they both possess a certain delicacy of touch and flavour. You may think that prawns are a little expensive to be featured on a so-called ‘frugal’ blog – not so! Shop around and it is a scientific certainty that you’ll stumble across a cheap source sooner rather than later. Besides, each bowl of noodles only requires 5-6 prawns – any more than that and it’s likely that someone’s being a little greedy!

How ever you wish to enjoy your yaki udon, give my basic seasoning a go – it won’t disappoint, I promise!

Yaki Udon

Serves 2


• 200g fresh udon noodles

• 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced

• 1 fresh chilli, finely sliced

• 4-5 florets of purple sprouting broccoli, stalks and all

• 10-12 prawns (shrimp)

• 2 tbsp sesame oil

• 2 tbsp soy sauce

• 1 tsp fish sauce


1. Prepare all of your ingredients, separating the broccoli stalks from the flowers – slicing the stalks into small pieces. Pop the noodles in a bowl of boiling hot water to separate.

Yaki Udon

2. Add the oil to a very hot wok, add the garlic and chilli, followed by the broccoli stalks and prawns, cook for a minute. Add the broccoli flowers and noodles, followed by the fish sauce and soy sauce. Cook and toss for a further 2 minutes, ensuring everything is coated with the sauce.

Yaki Udon

Cost: Purple sprouting broccoli always seems to be rather expensive, but if you use the stalks it’s easy to get 5-6 meals out of every bunch. As mentioned above, prawns can be found for a very reasonable price if you search around. Indeed, this may seem like a rather luxurious dish – and it is – but can be made for very little money – £1.60 for two portions!

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70 comments on “Yaki Udon

  1. swedenole13
    May 4, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    I like that you describe the ingredients so well. And I also like the fact that even people on a limited budget can have some of the finer things in life in moderation! (Prawns!!) Photos speak in volumes! Now if we could just get a scent thing going…..

    • frugalfeeding
      May 4, 2013 at 10:53 pm

      Exactly! I love showing that! Scratch and sniff for monitors is still being developed, I believe 😀

      • swedenole13
        May 5, 2013 at 2:56 am

        I’ll be first in line to buy that one! LOL

  2. Chef Doru
    May 4, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Looking so good! I will try it next week since I have some udon pasta and shrimps already

  3. Dawn
    May 4, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    Beautiful! Can’t wait to try this. I LOVE udon!

  4. mittsandmeasures
    May 4, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    Looks delicious and so pretty! Thank you for sharing!

  5. Allison (Spontaneous Tomato)
    May 4, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    This looks delightful! (And you are so right about the importance of “autonomous” noodles in stir-fried noodle dishes 🙂 ) I love the shrimp/broccoli combination as well as your not-so-Japanese mixture of seasonings, adding chili and fish sauce– it all seems so bright and flavorful!

    • frugalfeeding
      May 4, 2013 at 10:52 pm

      Haha – I’m glad you agree, Alison. I know it’s not exactly Japanese, but it is delicious 😀

  6. narf77
    May 4, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    I love udon. They make the most unctuous chewy morsels to soak up Asian sauces and I even went as far as hunting the net for days to find out how to make them myself. There is a stage of udon making that involves putting the dough into a garbage (or other plastic) bag and stomping it with your feet…I think I lost interest in the homemade udon around about then…I only eat them occasionally because they are all white BUT when I do, it is love and adoration all tangled up together. Udon…you complete me 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      May 4, 2013 at 10:52 pm

      Exactly – I adore them! I’m not sure I’ll make them myself. Time is money 😀

  7. kumquat
    May 4, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    That purple brocolli is gorgeous….there was a fantastic episode of worst cooks on foodnetwork that showed you how to make Asian noodles….looks fun too no tools needed

    • frugalfeeding
      May 6, 2013 at 10:04 am

      thanks! I’m not sure I’d ever make my own noodle – perhaps…

  8. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial
    May 4, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    ooh, they look nice, Nick! I could eat them for breakfast, I love how shiny and glossy the noodles are.. 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      May 4, 2013 at 10:51 pm

      Thank you – probably not best for breakfast though, Celia!

  9. Chef Scar
    May 4, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    Sounds and looks delicious.

  10. Karen
    May 4, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    I like your combination of flavors…especially with the sprouting broccoli.

  11. Korena in the Kitchen
    May 5, 2013 at 2:11 am

    I keep seeing udon noodles in the grocery store and never buying them – that may have to change! Also I can’t wait to get my hands on some purple sprouting broccoli!

  12. Bunny Eats Design
    May 5, 2013 at 7:21 am

    I always keep udon noodles in the pantry (the vacuum packed kind) and prawns/shrimp in the freezer. I’d probably sub the purple sprouting broc for the regular stuff or even gai lan which is quite similar. I adore sesame oil. It’s such a rich flavour that I cannot stop eating.

    • frugalfeeding
      May 6, 2013 at 9:57 am

      The vacuum packed kind the stuff I use. I just adore psb and it goes SO far! Sesame oil is very moreish.

  13. Carolyn Chan
    May 5, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    Ooh your seasoning sounds delicious!

    • frugalfeeding
      May 6, 2013 at 9:56 am

      Thanks, Carolyn – I know it isn’t Japanese, but it is yum.

  14. Conor Bofin
    May 5, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    Lovely and so well photographed. I am getting hungry…

    • frugalfeeding
      May 6, 2013 at 9:55 am

      Thanks, Conor – I’m always hungry. I thought you were too?

      • Conor Bofin
        May 6, 2013 at 10:52 am

        Just back from a very fast (for an ‘auld fella) 30k cycle. That will do it every time! Beautiful holiday day in Dublin.

        • frugalfeeding
          May 17, 2013 at 11:16 pm

          I just bought myself a new road bike – can’t wait to get out on it tomorrow!

          • Conor Bofin
            May 17, 2013 at 11:21 pm

            Excellent. I did a quick 20k between work and a chicken curry by the wife this evening. I use the Strava app. Brilliant info and great for making one more competitive. As if I need it at my age… Enjoy the Welsh hills.

          • Admin
            May 18, 2013 at 9:16 am

            I’m actually living in Bristol at the moment, so we’re cycling between here and Bath – 48k there or there abouts. Just downloading the app!

          • Conor Bofin
            May 18, 2013 at 8:25 pm

            Excellent. I plan a spin tomorrow. My Strava name is my name so follow if you like. There are a few stretches on the road to the Wicklow Mountains of 15 degree grade. Enough to make a grown man cry.

          • Admin
            May 19, 2013 at 3:51 pm

            Done! What about overgrown men? I’m loving having a bike!

  15. baconbiscuit212
    May 6, 2013 at 1:06 am

    Good tip about soaking the noodles! Thanks, Nick. As always, your food looks great.

  16. cookinginsens
    May 6, 2013 at 8:48 am

    Your noodles look great!

    • frugalfeeding
      May 6, 2013 at 9:55 am

      Thanks, Rosemary – I was hoping you’d see them

      • cookinginsens
        May 6, 2013 at 9:59 am

        I’ve just come back from France. Seems like you’ve found a perfect source for the noodles. So round, big and firm, they look delicious.

        • Admin
          May 6, 2013 at 10:00 am

          Udon are the ultimate noodle! Hope it was nice to be back in France, considering…

          • cookinginsens
            May 6, 2013 at 10:02 am

            M. Parret was shattered. Poor man.

  17. accordingtocarey
    May 6, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    I love how simple this recipe is, besides sounding absolutely delicious!

  18. greenandginger
    May 6, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    Oh wow, this looks amazing. I’ve spent most of my life afraid of seafood, but I’m slowly getting over that. This looks like a recipe I can get on board with!

  19. Stephanie
    May 7, 2013 at 8:18 am

    I love udon noodles! Gorgeous photos, as always!

  20. Karista
    May 7, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    I could eat Udon everyday! This is beautiful and I’d like a bowl right now. 🙂 Your photography is stunning Frugal. I can’t browse your blog without getting hungry. Have a lovely day!

    • frugalfeeding
      May 17, 2013 at 11:14 pm

      Me too – it’s great stuff. Thank you so much, Karista – you too!

  21. Reservations for one
    May 7, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    This looks so yummy!

  22. Somer
    May 7, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    Love the boiling the udon in water for a bit trick. Some packages I’ve seen simply said to rinse the noodles. Stuck as ever… I think I need to try this with a bit of tofu.

    • frugalfeeding
      May 17, 2013 at 11:14 pm

      It works very well – is necessary for getting them properly separated.

  23. lambyknits01
    May 8, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    I love your food photography! This dish looks amazing 🙂

  24. Lilly Sue
    May 8, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    Wow I love this dish! It looks so yummy and I have been craving shrimp!

    • frugalfeeding
      May 17, 2013 at 11:13 pm

      We got some on a great deal – couldn’t resist.

  25. Andrew Card
    May 26, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Wow, this dish looks very good. I also like the photos. Very well done.

  26. spree
    June 9, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Just gorgeous delicious Nick!!!

  27. Elsie Humphrey
    June 15, 2013 at 2:59 am

    How do I use it? Udon can be served hot in a broth, or cold with a dipping sauce. The toppings and soups are similar to soba with variations such a tempura udon, kitsune udon (with fried tofu) and tsukimi udon (with a raw egg on top). Other variations that are exclusive to udon noodles include karei udon (with japanese curry on top), and yakiudon (pan fried with veggies, seafood and a sweet sauce).

  28. Het
    December 12, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Everyday i would look at this particular post and drool. Crazy right? Im gonna head to supermart and get the ingredients already!

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