My Lunch Can Beat Up Your Lunch!

Bento Recipes: Yakiudon, or noodle stir-fry


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Udon are thick, white wheat noodles. They are sold dried, frozen, and in packages like ramen noodles. I've used ramenlike package that had not-dried-but-sealed-in-thick-plastic noodles, and dried straight noodles. The dried ones were much better than the ramenlike ones. And if you're adventurous you can even make homemade udon noodles.

Like okonomiyaki, this is another of those "throw in what you like" recipes, so the list of ingredients is mostly suggestions rather than requirements. Basically, it's what I have used. Tweak according to your own taste. I have some other ingredients listed down below.


    12 ounces of udon noodles
    2 tbsp of cooking oil
    2 cups of cut-up cabbage
    A handful of cooked cocktail shrimp, or a similar amount of any meat cut up small. (Beef, turkey, chicken, pork - here's where you can use up some leftovers!)
    2 scallions, cut small
    1 carrot, cut into ovals
    Several water chestnuts cut into thin slices
    2 tbsp bonito flakes
    3 tbsp soy sauce

Cut the cabbage up into thin coleslaw-like strips. If you're using bok choy, cut out the white "rib" and either throw it away or cut that into thin sticks separately.

Cook the udon however the packaging directs you to. Then rinse it under cold water and drain.

Heat the oil in a wok or skillet until it is very hot and stir-fry the carrots until they start to get tender. If you're using bok choy and have cut up the "rib," cook this with the carrots. Add the scallions, non-rib cabbage, shrimp, and water chestnuts and stir-fry for several minutes. Then add in the udon, bonito flakes, and soy sauce, and stir-fry for another few minutes. Done.

If you're using leftover meat, put it in when you add the noodles. If you're using raw meat, add it after the carrots are done to make sure it gets cooked enough.


You can put in any ingredients you like. Here are a few I've tried and enjoyed: turkey bacon, yellow squash, zucchini squash, button mushrooms. bamboo, broccoli, lotus root, nori (as garnish), seafood medley (frozen squid, octopus, mussels, shrimp, and imitation crab), shiitake mushrooms, snow peas, squid, marinated tofu.

If you don't like the idea of cooking this with oil, you don't have to. I've been simmering the vegetables, and later the vegetables-with-noodles, in a small amount of shiitake water (the water left over after you soak dried shiitake mushrooms). It adds a good earthy flavor, and leaves out the oil calories. You just have to keep adding water in, a few tablespoons at a time, to keep the bottom of the pan wet.