Udon is sort of like fried rice, if you are going to cook Asian food then udon is a great first dish to learn to cook for your kids. It is healthier than top ramen (though we are big fans of Sapporo Ichiban in our household), and you have a lot of flexibility in the ingredients you add. So right after you figure out how to cook a good Chinese Fried Rice, the next dish I would try is Udon.
There are a ton of different udon recipes, but don’t stress yourself out on your first couple tries.
Would making your own dashi broth be impressive, for sure, but not when it adds 5 steps and 30 minutes.
Would cooking up beef or tempura in your udon be great, for sure, but not when you have fry up the tempura or when you just don’t have the sliced sukiyaki meat hanging around.
So, break out the frozen udon noodles, readily available frozen fish cake, fried tofu skin if you have it, washed and ready-to-eat baby spinach, and make your dashi from powder. Remember you are just trying to have your kids eat something healthier than a non-perishable food substance that is instant ramen (we eat this all the time, so not knocking it).
Here is a great first recipe making Udon at home that tastes awesome-sauce. You won’t stress, and it will only take you about 15 minutes tops.
- 2 Udon Noodles (frozen)
- 2 1/2 cups Water
- 2 tsp Dashi powder
- 1 tbsp Mirin
- 1 tbsp Soy sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 Inari age (fried-tofu, often frozen)
- 1 packet Fish cake (frozen)
- 1 cup Baby spinach
- Get Ingredients (not shown soy sauce)
- Cut the tofu age in half. I would then put the tofu age in between two paper towels and slightly squeeze, to get some of the grease off of them. This is sort of like putting a napkin on the top of your pizza when you see a ton of grease on it. Some people like the grease, some don't, either way works.
- Bowl a pot of water that is high-enough to cover the top of your noodles + about 1 inch.
- When boiling, add your frozen noodles directly into the pot. I would boil for about 2 minutes (but I usually just have some chopsticks handy to pick out the noodles to try them). Everyone likes their noodle a bit differently, there is no hard and fast rules here.
- Remove the noodles from the pot, and split evenly into two different bowls. Dump the pot of water out.
- Add 2 1/2 cups of water to your pot, and then add in your 2 tsp of dashi powder. If you like your udon saltier rather than sweeter I would add another 1/2 tsp of dashi powder here. Mix thoroughly until you don't see the powder as much.
- Add your mirin, sugar, and soy sauce and put the pot on medium heat.
- When the soup base gets to slightly below bowling reduce the heat. Pour your soup base over the noodles.
- Add in your fish cake, and your tofu age to the top of the udon noodles and you are ready to start serving!
This recipes comes courtesy of Nami @ Justonecookbook. I adapted it to be more exact on the dashi powder to water ratio (I never was able to find the exact ratios anywhere, so I just tested the proportions, until I found the correct amount of powder to water), and I utilized baby spinach as the vegetable (ready to eat).