Here’s our scrumptious, tangy, and vegetable-packed Yaki Udon recipe; a stir-fried dish from Japan with thick udon noodles, a tasty soy-based sauce, tofu, and plenty of veggies.
Our Yaki Udon is ready in about 15 minutes; it’s easy to make at home, nutritious, and with fragrant Asian flavors.
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Table of Contents
Yaki Udon, from the Japanese 焼きうどん “fried udon,” is a quick and tasty Japanese stir-fried noodle dish popular in Japanese pubs (izakaya), as a street food, or as a late-night snack in Japan.
Traditionally, Yaki Udon is made with Udon noodles, thick Japanese white noodles with a chewy texture made from wheat flour.
However, you can make this recipe with your favorite Asian noodles, including ramen, rice noodles, Chinese soba noodles, glass noodles, egg noodles, vermicelli noodles, and more.
For example, Yakisoba is a similar stir-fried dish made with Chinese soba noodles.
The noodles are tossed with your protein of choice (we use tofu, but you can also use pork, shrimp, beef, or chicken), vegetables, and a flavorful soy-based sauce.
If you like Asian flavors, you’ll love this dish because it’s easy to put together, excellent as a weeknight dinner, and a million times better than takeout.
Tofu is our protein choice for this dish, although you can also make the recipe with chicken, beef, shrimp, and pork.
Use firm or extra firm tofu, cut into small bite-size pieces.
Udon noodles are thick white Japanese noodles you can find in most supermarkets and Asian grocery stores.
There are many types of udon noodles, and you can use any of them. We like to use precooked udon noodles that come in a vacuum package, and you have to open and boil them for a couple of minutes.
You can also use frozen udon noodles or fresh udon noodles.
Substitute ramen, rice noodles, Chinese soba noodles, glass noodles, egg noodles, vermicelli noodles, or your favorite Asian noodle for udon.
We don’t recommend using Japanese Soba noodles, made with buckwheat flour, for this recipe.
You can use most types of vegetable oil for the stir fry. Popular choices are peanut oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil. We like to use olive oil.
Use onion, garlic, and ginger to infuse your Yaki Udon with flavor and aromatics.
We use fresh garlic and ginger and grate them with a grater, but you can also use storebought garlic and ginger paste, favored in Asian cooking.
You can use any veggies depending on the season and where you live, but stick to 3 or 4 ones, best if with different colors and textures.
We used carrots, red bell pepper, mushrooms, and bok choy.
Other good veggies are cabbage, green beans, broccoli, kale, chard, and zucchini.
Scallions (also known as spring onions or green onions) are probably the most common topping for Yaki udon, and we love adding them on raw and finely chopped to add freshness to the dish.
You can also use bonito flakes or katsuobushi, fermented and smoked tuna; however, we prefer to keep the recipe vegetarian and sprinkle it with crunchy fried onions and sesame seeds.
We like to add a pinch of salt to season the tofu. You can substitute dashi powder for salt; it adds flavor and umami.
Stir fry sauce
You are welcome to use a storebought stir-fry sauce. However, we like to make our own with the following ingredients:
- Dark soy sauce: substitute regular soy sauce, light soy sauce, reduced-sodium soy sauce, tamari, or coco aminos.
- Rice vinegar: substitute with white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
- Vegetarian oyster sauce: substitute with regular oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, or more soy sauce.
- Brown sugar: substitute with palm sugar, coconut sugar, or white sugar.
- Mirin: substitute with sherry wine or leave it out and add 1 more teaspoon of sugar instead.
- Sriracha sauce: substitute with chili powder or red pepper flakes.
A homemade sauce like this one packs the Yaki Udon with flavor and umami, is a little sweet, tangy, and salty, and it’s perfect to coat the tofu, noodles, and veggies, making them irresistible.
You can find all ingredients in supermarkets, Asian grocery stores, or online.
1. Prep the ingredients
Since this is a quick stir-fry recipe, we want to prep all ingredients first.
- Tofu: pat dry, then cut into small bite-size pieces. There’s no need to press it.
- Onion: cut in half, then into not-too-thick slices.
- Garlic and ginger: finely grate them.
- Carrot: cut into thin matches.
- Bell pepper: cut into sticks or squares.
- Mushrooms: cut into 1/4 inch (1/2 cm) slices.
- Bok Choy: keep leaves whole, or chop them into bite-size chunks.
- Scallions: thinly slice the green and light green tops.
Make the stir-fry sauce by whisking together dark soy sauce, rice vinegar, vegetarian oyster sauce, brown sugar, mirin, and sriracha sauce.
Boil the udon noodles as instructed on the package in a pot of water, then drain them and rinse them under cold water to prevent them from overcooking.
Tip: udon noodles often come precooked so they’ll only need 1or 2 minutes in boiling water. Don’t overcook them or they’ll loose their delicious chewy texture.
2. Stir fry tofu and veggies
To a large nonstick pan or wok, warm up the oil, add the diced tofu, season it with a salt, and cook it on medium heat for 5 minutes, moving it around the pan often.
Add the onion, and fry it for 3 minutes, stirring often. Then add grated garlic and ginger, and fry for one more minute or until you smell their fragrant aroma.
Add the veggies, and cook them on medium-high heat, tossing them with the tofu for a couple of minutes or until tender-crisp.
3. Add noodles and sauce
Add the noodles and the sauce, and toss for one more minute on medium-high heat until all ingredients are fully coated in the sauce.
Taste and adjust for salt, then serve the stir-fried udon noodles in bowls.
You can top them with chopped scallions, fried onions, bonito flakes (Katsuobushi), sesame seeds, chili oil, or sesame oil.
Yaki Udon with Fried Tofu
Want even more flavorful Yaki Udon?
Prepare the Yaki as per our recipe but without the tofu, then toss the fried, air-fried, or marinated tofu with the noodles towards the end.
Precooking the tofu will make it even tastier; we are sure you’ll love it this way.
Pair your noodles with Asian starters and sides, such as:
Make Ahead and Storage
Make ahead: Yaki noodles are an excellent make-ahead meal for meal prep for a packed lunch, as they reheat well in the microwave.
Refrigerator: store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for three days.
Reheat: warm the noodles in the microwave for 2 minutes or in a pan on the stovetop for 3 to 5 minutes. In this case, add some oil and a dash of soy sauce.
Freezer: we don’t recommend freezing this recipe.
More Stir-Fry recipes
Get more easy and delicious stir fry ideas from these quick one–pan dinners:
- Tofu stir-fry (bell pepper, broccoli, mushrooms, ginger, garlic, onion, tofu, rice, etc.)
- Braised tofu (garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, scallions, cornstarch, sesame oil, etc.)
- Kung pao tofu (peanuts, tofu, mushrooms, sesame oil, tofu, garlic, ginger, etc.)
- Sauteed green beans (green beans, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, oil, etc.)
More Asian-Inspired Recipes
For better-than-takeaway dinner inspiration, check out these easy and flavorful Asian recipe ideas:
- Tofu soup (dried mushrooms, garlic, ginger soy sauce, scallions, sesame oil, tofu, etc.)
- Peanut noodles (peanut butter, lime juice, rice noodles, broccoli, carrot, bell pepper, etc.)
- Orange tofu (soy sauce, corn starch, orange, tofu, sugar, vinegar, white rice, scallions, etc.)
- Lentil curry (turmeric, curry, coriander, ginger, garlic, coconut milk, lentils, rice, etc.)
- Naan bread (flour, instant dry yeast, sugar, salt, parsley, oil, garlic, etc.)
- Red lentil soup (celery, carrot, cumin, garlic, rosemary, red lentils, crushed tomatoes, etc.)
For many more 30-minute meal ideas, check out our 30-minute meal category page.
FOR THE STIR FRY (substitutions in notes below)
- 14 ounces udon noodles vacuum packed
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ pound firm tofu
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 small onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 inch ginger
- 1 carrot
- 1 heaping cup (5 oz) bell peppers
- 1 heaping cup (5 oz) mushrooms
- 1 heaping cup (5 oz) bok choy
- 2 scallions
FOR THE STIR FRY SAUCE
- 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons vegetarian oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
PREP INGREDIENTS FIRST
- Cut ½ pound firm tofu into bite-size pieces.Cut 1 small onion in half, then into not-too-thin slices.Grate 2 cloves garlic and 1 inch ginger.Cut 1 carrot into thin matches.Cut 1 heaping cup (5 oz) bell peppers into sticks or squares.Cut 1 heaping cup (5 oz) mushrooms into ¼ inch (½ cm) slices.Separate leaves of 1 heaping cup (5 oz) bok choy or chop them into bite-size chunks.Thinly slice 2 scallions ,the green and light-green tops.
- Make the stir fry sauce by whisking together: 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce, 2 tablespoons vegetarian oyster sauce, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon mirin, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce.
- Boil 14 ounces udon noodles in water for 1 to 2 minutes, then drain them and rinse them under cold water to prevent them from overcooking.
STIR FRY TOFU AND VEGGIES
- In a large nonstick pan or wok, warm 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, add the diced tofu, season it with ½ teaspoon salt, and cook it on medium heat for 5 minutes, moving it around the pan often.Add the onion, and fry it for 3 minutes, stirring often. Then add grated garlic and ginger, and fry for one more minute or until you smell their fragrant aroma.
- Add the veggies, and cook them on medium-high heat, tossing them with the tofu for a couple of minutes or until tender-crisp.
ADD NOODLES AND SAUCE
- Add the noodles and the sauce, and toss for one more minute on medium-high heat until all ingredients are fully coated in the sauce.
- Taste and adjust for salt, then serve the stir-fried udon noodles in bowls.You can top them with chopped scallions, fried onions, bonito flakes (Katsuobushi), sesame seeds, chili oil, sriracha, or sesame oil.
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