Curry Udon (カレーうどん)
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Curry udon is one of my favorite dishes to make for lunch because it’s easy and so tasty! Spiced with curry powder and packed with umami, the combination of chewy noodles and hearty broth makes it the perfect bowl of noodle soup to enjoy on a cool autumn or winter day.
Udon and curry rice are at the top of my list when it comes to favorite Japanese dishes.
I grew up eating chilled udon noodles dipped in tsuyu, and kare raisu (how curry rice is pronounced in Japanese) on a weekly basis whenever I spent the summer in Kyushu. To me, these dishes represent the south of Japan where I spent so much time playing with snails in my grand father’s bonsai tree garden, and pretending to be one of the power rangers (the pink one, obviously).
I felt such a strong connection with the country’s nature, culture, and its food, that I could have easily stayed there forever. To this day I feel incredibly lucky to have had such a happy childhood despite loosing my father at such a young age.
My mother, the warrior, turned a dark moment in our lives into something manageable by showering my brother and I with plenty of love and accepting the support of both our French Canadian and Japanese families. Even though my heart was shattered, I never once felt alone during my childhood. And I have my mother to thank for it ❤️.
So whenever I make curry udon I feel a little pinch of nostalgia because so many great memories are attached to these two particular foods. I see myself sitting on tatami mats with the screen doors opened, the sound of cicadas buzzing loudly outside, sipping a glass of mugicha, and listening to my grand mother, my aunt Tomie, and my mother preparing food in the kitchen.
What is Curry Udon?
Curry udon is a popular Japanese dish made of udon noodles served in a curry flavored soup. Some curry udons are made with a combination of leftover Japanese curry and tsuyu. The dish is hearty and usually served with cooked onions, thinly sliced beef, and is topped with chopped scallions.
Ingredients for Curry Udon
- Udon noodles: I prefer using fresh udon noodles because of their fat and chewy textures, but you can also use dry ones (use about 3.5 ounces per serving).
- Sesame oil: The sesame oil adds an earthy, nutty flavor that is found in many Japanese dishes. Use toasted sesame oil if you can find it as the taste is even more intense and beautiful.
- Onion: The chopped onion adds sweetness to the soup and melt in your mouth with every bite you take.
- Curry powder: I’m using a good amount of curry powder for this dish because I like my soup to be intensely curryfied! But go ahead and use a little less if you prefer something milder. It will still be delicious!
- Potato starch: The potato starch is mixed with water and will thicken the sauce once it starts to bubble.
- Mirin: Mirin infuses the soup with sweetness and balances the saltiness of the soy sauce and marries all the flavors together.
- Soy sauce: What better than soy sauce to bring umami to the forefront of any dish! Combining soy sauce with curry powder is what makes curry udon so delicious!
- Dashi: Curry udon has a strong dashi taste so it’s an essential ingredient to have in order to make this dish. I have a couple of substitutes for it below in case you are vegan or cannot find dashi.
- Baby spinach: This is optional but so yummy! If you don’t have spinach, try adding a cooked egg, steamed broccoli, green peas, or shiitake mushrooms. The topping options are endless!
- Scallions: As with most Japanese noodle soups, scallions are used in this one because they add a nice crunchy texture and a refreshing taste.
If you would like to make this recipe vegan, instead of using fish based dashi you can use kombu dashi, which is made of seaweed. If you would like to make this recipe but cannot find dashi, you can use low sodium chicken broth instead.
How to Make Curry Udon
- Bring a medium pot of water to boil and cook your noodles according to the directions on the package. If you are boiling fresh noodles, they shouldn’t take more than 2-3 minutes. Drain the noodles and divide them among two ramen or soup bowls.
- Make the curry soup by frying the chopped onion in sesame oil for a few minutes.
- Add the curry powder, stir, and cook for 1 minute.
- Stir in the water and cornstarch mix, mirin, soy sauce, and dashi powder. Keep stirring until the soup begins to bubble and thicken.
- Turn the heat off and and ladle the curry soup into each bowl.
- Top with baby spinach and scallions and enjoy!
What to Serve with Curry Udon
I consider curry udon to be a comfort food since it warms my body and always hits the spot. Since the flavors are quite bold, I like to serve it with side dishes that are milder and light so the flavors don’t compete with each other.
Here are some of my favorite side dishes to serve with curry udon:
- Iceberg salad with Japanese restaurant stye carrot ginger dressing
- Edamame with soy and sesame sauce
- Japanese cabbage salad
- Agedashi tofu
Did you like this Curry Udon Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!Print
Curry Udon (カレーうどん)
Spiced with curry powder and packed with umami, curry udon is the perfect meal to have on cool autumn and winter days.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 2 1x
- Category: Noodles
- Method: Stove top
- Cuisine: Japanese
- 2 packages fresh udon noodles (about 7.5 ounces each)
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1/2 small onion, finely sliced
- 1 1/2 tablespoon curry powder (use a little less if you prefer a mild curry taste)
- 1 1/2 tablespoon potato starch or cornstarch mixed with 800ml water
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 teaspoons dashi powder
- 1/4 cup baby spinach, chopped
- 2 scallions, finely chopped
- Boil the udon noodles and drain them. Divide them among two bowls and set aside.
- In a deep skillet or medium size pot over medium heat, add the sesame oil and onion slices. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until onions are translucent.
- Add the curry powder and stir.
- Add the water and potato starch mix, mirin, soy sauce, and dashi powder, and stir. Keep stirring until the soup starts to bubble and thicken, and turn the heat off.
- Add the soup to the udon noodles and top with spinach and scallions. Serve.
If you would like to make the curry soup in advanced and save it for later, hold off on using the potato starch since if looses its power pretty quickly. The potato starch is what gives the soup a thicker texture, but it unfortunately doesn’t hold for very long.
What I recommend you do instead is to make the curry soup without the potato starch and keep it refrigerated until you are ready to eat it. When you reheat the curry soup, mix 1 1/2 tablespoon potato starch with 2 tablespoons water and stir it into the soup.
Keywords: noodle soup, kare udon
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