Niku Udon

Our recipe represents a quick way of making this satisfying classic Japanese beef noodle soup. If you have access to a Japanese market or any Asian market specializing in East Asian ingredients, you can get thinly sliced chuck-eye or rib-eye steak in the refrigerated section of the store for this dish. Otherwise, take a chunk of either cut of beef and freeze it, wrapped in plastic, just until it’s firm and icy, but not frozen solid. When in that state, the beef is very easy to slice very thinly with a sharp kitchen knife as opposed to the slicing machine that most stores use.

All the dry ingredients can be obtained at most Asian stores or online.

Niku Udon

Serves 2 generously

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 0.14-ounce packet of dashi powder bonito and kombu dashi powder
  • 1 ½  tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 tablespoon Japanese shoyu (soy sauce) or tamari
  • 16-19 ounces fresh udon noodles
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ¾ pound thinly sliced chuck-eye or rib-eye steak
  • 1 green onion, sliced thinly crosswise
  • ¼ roll of Japanese fish cake (narutomaki) cut into thin slices, optional

Bring the water to a boil over high heat in a 2-quart saucepan. Stir in the dashi powder, ½ tablespoon of the sugar, 1 tablespoon of the mirin, and 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce. Cover and keep on the lowest heat setting.

Half-fill a 4-quart saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the udon noodles and stir gently to separate them. Lower the heat to medium and cook for 2 minutes. Drain well and divide them between two large noodle bowls; keep warm.

Put the oil in a 10-inch skillet and heat over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, stir in the beef, the remaining sugar, the remaining mirin, and the remaining soy sauce. When the beef is cooked and the liquid has evaporated and formed a tight glaze on the beef, remove skillet from the heat.

Pour the prepared dashi over the noodles in the bowls. Top with the beef and green onions. Garnish with the fish cake slices, if desired.

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