Spicy Yaki Udon stir fry prepared with chicken and a special stir fry sauce.
This is is a quick and easy Japanese weeknight dinner meal.
📕 What is Yaki udon?
Yaki udon is a Japanese stir fry noodle dish prepared with thick udon noodles.
It's a popular street food noodle dish but it's also commonly prepared in Japanese homes for dinner.
The noodles usually come with pork meat instead of chicken and can be made vegetarian too with vegetables or eggs.
Traditionally, and locally in Japan, people season their yaki udon with a dashi variety called mentsuyu (soup base) and soy sauce.
A yaki udon abroad is usually prepared with oyster sauce and soy sauce among other ingredients.
This recipe is a western version of a yaki udon, it's not a traditional one.
Japanese Stir fry noodle dishes were influenced by the Chinese and Yaki Udon is just another one like this.
🍜 Udon VS Soba VS Lo Mein
Udon and soba are long japanese noodle varieties that resemble the chinese lo mein noodles.
Udon is prepared with wheat flour. That means All-purpose flour can be used to make these noodles from scratch.
Yet, the process of making udon noodles is a lengthy one, and the Japanese use special techniques, including walking over the noodle dough.
Soba , on the other hand, are prepared with buckwheat flour and not the common white wheat flour.
Soba also means just noodles in Japanese and that's where the confusion starts.
Udon noodles are used to make yaki udon but to make yakisoba you would use lo mein style noodles.
Lo Mein are Chinese egg noodles. They sometimes come without eggs too but the good ones have a slightly yellow shade and include eggs.
You can make chicken chow mein with lo mein noodles.
There are also ramen noodles which are most commonly used to make Japanese ramen soup.
To make this yaki udon dish you will need a set of ingredients.
Measurements are located further below in the recipe card. This is just an overview.
These are the main ingredients:
- Udon Noodles - Fresh, dried, or frozen. We boiled frozen homemade udon noodles.
- Rice Vinegar to boil noodles. They stick less together that way
- Cabbage - Napa/Chinese Cabbage or regular cabbage
- Green Onions - Bulbs and stalks separate
- Sesame Oil
- Chicken Broth
For the Seasoning Sauce:
- Soy Sauce
- Oyster Sauce
- Doubanjiang spicy Chinese bean paste (optional) - or substitute with chili oil or chili pepper powder
- Sesame Oil
We made it spicy but you can opt in to do that as well or not.
Doubanjiang is a hot Chinese broad bean paste. It adds not only heat but flavor. You don't have to use it but we recommend it because it makes the dish all the tastier.
🔪 How to make it?
Here is a quick overview to get the idea. The full recipe with US and metric measurements is further below in the recipe card.
Cook the udon noodles.
Cut chicken and seaosn with sesame oil and salt.
Prepare and cut vegetables small.
Combine all the sauce ingredients to a smooth stir fry sauce.
Heat up your wok and stir fry vegetables and chicken.
Then stir fry noodles with broth and stir fry sauce.
Serve hot with cut green onion bulbs.
If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge for up to 3 days max.
I don't recommend that you freeze your finished stir fried chicken yaki soba, because the noodles will get soggy, even after properly thawing it.
Prepare your yaki udon fresh instead. You can meal prep it ahead for your lunch.
I like to top my stir fried udon noodles with green onion stalks, pickled ginger and/or mentaiko (cod roe).
Yaki means to stir fry in Japanese and udon is the name given to Japanese wheat flour noodles.
Yes, kind of but the flavors are different and the choice of noodles of course. Lo mein/chow mein are made with lo mein noodles.
It can be made spicy. This recipe is spicy if you add Chinese doubanjiang to the sauce.
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Chicken Yaki Udon Recipe
To season Chicken
- 5.2 ounces Chicken boneless thighs or breast
- 2 Teaspoon Sesame Oil
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
For the Stir Fry
- 1 clove Garlic sliced
- 2 stalks Green Onion bulbs and greens separate
- 1 Onion sliced
- 7 ounces Cabbage chopped
- 1 Tablespoon Oil normal cooking oil
- ¼ cup Chicken Broth or Water
To make the Sauce
- 2 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
- 2 Tablespoon Oyster Sauce
- 1-2 Teaspoon Doubanjiang optional, *see Notes
- 1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil
- 1 Teaspoon Sugar
- Cook your noodles in water and with vinegar as per your package instructions. We use frozen homemade noodles and they took 3 minutes to cook through. Rinse noodles through water when cooked through and keep at the side.
- Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and coat with sesame oil and salt.
- Prepare your vegetables, rinse them. Slice garlic. Separate green onion bulbs from stalks and slice bulbs, cut stalks into 2 inch long pieces, and keep stalks aside to use as a topping. Slice onion and chop cabbage. Keep all separate at the side.
- Mix sauce ingredients together in a small bowl to a smooth well-combined sauce.
- Heat up a wok or large deep pan with the sesame oil and saute sliced spring onion bulbs, garlic, and onion over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in chicken pieces and stir cook chicken on all sides. Keep a medium to high heat setting.
- Stir in cabbage.
- Then add the cooked noodles with the chicken stock to the pan and keep over a medium to high heat setting.