Yaki Udon (焼きうどん)

This is a recipe for a budget-friendly, healthy-ish recipe that I cobbled together to make a fast weeknight dinner with the limited ingredients that I had in the house. I suppose it would fall into the category of Americanized Japanese food. You could easily make this into a vegan recipe by using vegetarian oyster sauce and substituting vegetable stock in place of the chicken stock, or you could turn this into a non-vegetarian recipe by adding some shrimp, chicken, or beef in place of the tofu (just fry the meat before cooking the veggies).

Although not typically in an authentic yaki udon recipe, I added a small amount of minced garlic and ginger to enhance the taste of the veggies and tofu, along with a teensy bit of oyster sauce to give the final sauce a bit more body and depth of flavor. If you wanted to, you could also up the flavor of the sauce by adding in a tablespoons or two of the mushrooms’ soaking liquid.  Speaking of sauce, I opted to shallow fry the tofu after a quick coating of cornstarch primarily to give it a light crispy breading for the sauce to adhere to. If you choose to use chicken or beef instead, I recommend using a bit less cornstarch to lightly coat thinly sliced bite-size pieces of meat before quickly frying them to create a lightly crispy crust for the sauce to cling to (be sure to shake off any excess cornstarch before frying).

This recipe serves two.



  • 3 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • half a block of tofu, sliced into triangles (about 8 oz.)
  • cornstarch
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced on the bias
  • 8 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes and drained, then sliced
  • 1 small bunch broccoli, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 2 small cloves of garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 16-18 ounces frozen precooked udon noodles, thawed (I used two small frozen noodle cakes, each about 230 g/8 oz.)

For Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce

To Finish:

  • 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
  • slivered green onions, for garnish
  • sesame seeds, for garnish



  1. In a wok or large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil.  Coat each triangle of tofu with cornstarch, and then shallow fry until the cornmeal coating is crispy and golden brown (I recommend flipping the tofu using a pair of wooden chopsticks), then transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Drain oil from skillet, and wipe away any remaining cornstarch from the tofu with a paper towel (try using those cooking chopsticks to hold on to the paper towel so you don’t burn your fingers). Return wok to stove top.
  2. Stir together all sauce ingredients, set aside. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the wok. Add the garlic and ginger, and stir fry until fragrant (about one minute). Add onion, carrot, mushrooms, and broccoli and stir-fry for 4 minutes. Add the sauce, and continue cooking to partially reduce the liquid while you prepare the noodles (about two to three minutes).
  3. Meanwhile, cook the udon in a pot of boiling salted water for 1 minute. Drain and add to the skillet. Stir-fry over high heat until heated through, and sauce is reduced to a light glaze over the vegetables, tofu, and noodles. Season with freshly ground black pepper, garnish with sesame seeds and scallions and serve.