This beef yaki udon recipe features thick and chewy udon noodles, stir-fried with beef and veggies and then tossed in a sweet and savory curry sauce. It’s the perfect quick and easy noodle dish for busy weeknights and to use up leftovers!
Udon noodles have a special place in my heart. If you know me, you know how much I love noodles - they’re my ultimate favorite foods. There’s just something about eating them so that it’s no surprise that I make them at least once a week.
My go-to yaki udon (焼きうどん) recipe is this teriyaki chicken yaki udon, but I wanted to share another option with you with a maple and curry twist. That’s where this curry yaki udon stir fry recipe comes in!
It’s the perfect recipe to use any leftovers meat you may have, but especially beef. The sweet and savory curry sauce is to die for and I’m sure you’re going to love it.
Alternatively, if you're looking for a more cozy and sauce curry udon recipe, I also have a cozy one pot Japanese curry udon recipe which is more soupy.
Read on to learn exactly how to make this delicious beef yaki udon recipe today!
What is Yaki Udon?
Yaki udon is a popular Japanese stir-fry dish that features stir-fried udon noodles tossed with savory sauce and a medley of crisp vegetables. There are many versions of this, my chicken yaki udon is my ultimate favorite, but I also wanted to share another version with you that we love to make at home.
The sauce in this beef yaki udon is a curry version and absolutely delicious. The vegetables and beef are thinly sliced for quick, even cooking, and the sauce is a blend of sweet maple, spicy curry powder, and soy sauce.
Why You’ll Love This Beef Yaki Udon Recipe
- Quick: During a busy schedule, this curry udon stir fry recipe is a time-saver. The prep time is minimal, especially if you're using leftover meats. The actual cooking process is also fast! It's a fantastic recipe for a busy weeknight.
- Versatile: What's great about this recipe is its versatility. You can easily swap out the beef for chicken, pork, tofu, or shrimp to suit your preference. Plus, you can add in any leftover veggies you have on hand.
- Tasty: The chewy texture of the udon noodles tossed in a savory curry sauce, combined with the crunchy veggies and tender beef, makes it a delicious and satisfying meal that's sure to please a crowd.
Ingredients You’ll Need to Make Beef Yaki Udon Stir Fry
- Sanuki Udon: These frozen udon noodles are the star of this recipe. They offer a chewy texture with a bit of springiness, making your Japanese curry yaki udon stir fry truly comforting and satisfying. For the best texture, use frozen udon noodles that come in blocks in the freezer section of your local Asian grocery store.
- Beef (Steak) or Leftover Meat: Any type of beef steak will work for this recipe. It's also great for using up leftover meat as well. That being said, you can also use chicken, pork, or even tofu if you prefer.
- Carrot: They add a pop of color and a slight sweetness
- Cabbage: Thinly cut cabbage is great for stir fries like this one, adding a crunch that complements the chewy udon noodles.
- Onion: Sliced thinly, onion offers a sweet and savory flavor that deepens the overall taste of the yaki udon.
For the Maple Curry Sauce:
- Maple Syrup: It adds a touch of sweetness that complements the savory ingredients. Alternatively, you can also use half the amount of honey as well.
- Madras Curry Powder: This curry powder adds curry flavor to the sauce. If you don't have Madras curry powder, regular curry powder works too.
- Soy Sauce: A staple in many Asian dishes, soy sauce adds a deep, savory, umami flavor to the curry sauce.
For the Toppings:
- Green Onions: Used as a topping, green onions add a pop of color and a fresh, oniony flavor.
- Sesame Seeds: Toasted sesame seeds provide a nutty flavor and a nice crunch as a topping.
- Eggs (Pan-Fried): Pan-fried eggs make a delicious topping. The runny yolk adds a creamy element to the dish.
How to Make Beef Yaki Udon
Making this incredible beef yaki udon recipe at home is super easy and will give you great results every single time. Here's how to make it step by step:
Soak the Frozen Udon Noodles: Begin by soaking the block of frozen udon noodles in a bowl of warm water for about a minute. You want the noodles to defrost and become pliable. Once they're pliable, drain the water and set the noodles aside.
Prep your Veggies and Meats: Next, chop up your vegetables and leftover beef. The thinner you slice them, the quicker they will cook. If you are using beef steak, thinly slice it and marinate it in a bowl. Set them aside for later.
Prepare the Sauce: Combine the maple, curry powder, and soy sauce in a small bowl to create a savory sauce. Set this aside as well.
Heat the Pan: Set a large skillet or wok to medium heat and add a bit of oil. Wait for it to get hot, you'll know it's ready when the oil starts to shimmer.
Cook the Meat: Add in the leftover beef (if using), and cook it for about 2 minutes. If you're using fresh beef steak, pan fry it for 3-4 minutes.
Cook the Veggies: Add in the vegetables and cook until they're soft and slightly browned, which should take approximately 6 minutes.
Combine Ingredients: Now, add in the udon noodles and the sauce you prepared earlier. Toss everything together to ensure the ingredients are well mixed and the noodles are coated in sauce.
Top your Dish: Finish off your beef yaki udon by topping it with the minced green onions and sesame seeds, or a fried egg if you prefer. Enjoy your homemade yaki udon with its unique flavors and chewy texture!
Joyce’s Tips For Making the Best Beef Yaki Udon
Use Frozen Udon Noodles: For the best chewy udon noodle texture, opt for frozen udon noodles that come in blocks in the freezer section of your grocery store. They will give you that perfect chewy texture with a bit of springiness that we all love in our yaki udon.
Prep Your Ingredients Ahead: Chop up your vegetables and marinate your beef slices (or cut up leftover meats) and set them aside before you start cooking. This will make the stir fry process quick and easy.
Slice Your Beef (or Leftover Meat) Thinly: The thinner you slice them, the quicker they will cook. This will save you time and ensure that your stir fry cooks evenly.
Customize Your Sauce: The curry powder in this recipe adds a delicious curry flavor, but if you're not a fan, simply omit it. You'll still end up with a delicious, traditional stir-fried yaki udon.
Don't Skip the Toppings: Green onions, sesame seeds, or a fried egg not only add flavor but also make your dish look restaurant-worthy. So, don't skip them!
- I love to add mayonnaise to my yaki udon. It makes it creamy, and adds a bit more flavor too, especially if you use Japanese kewpie mayo. If you want a bit of a kick you can drizzle spicy sriracha mayo instead.
- If you're planning a lunch gathering, consider serving your beef yaki udon with a side of stir-fried broccoli and carrots, making it a balanced and nutritious meal.
- For a dinner party, pair your beef yaki udon with a bowl of miso egg drop soup. The light, sweet umami-rich soup balances the hearty, savory flavors of the yaki udon, creating a well-rounded meal that your guests will love.
- Beef yaki udon also makes a great late-night snack. Serve it with a side of pickled ginger (or pickled daikon) to cleanse the palate and enhance the flavors of the dish.
- For a unique twist, try serving your beef yaki udon with a sprinkle of bonito flakes and sesame seeds. The bonito flakes add a smoky flavor and the sesame seeds give a nice crunch.
Recipe Variation Ideas
This delicious beef yaki udon recipe is so flavorful and easy to make, you'll want to try out some of these delicious variations! Here are some great ideas:
- Vegan: If you're following a plant-based diet, you can easily adapt this recipe by replacing the meat with tofu. The tofu soaks up all the flavors of the sauce and gives a nice contrast to the crunchy vegetables.
- Spicy: If you love a good kick of heat in your meals, add in some red pepper flakes, s sriracha or any hot sauce to your beef yaki udon. The spice will elevate the dish's taste and make it even more exciting.
- Mushrooms: For an earthy twist, toss in some thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms. You may need to pre-soak them ahead of time in hot water if you are using dried shiitake mushrooms. These mushrooms will add a deep umami flavor that complements the rich, savory sauce and beef in the recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can use any leftover meat you have for this beef yaki udon recipe. The recipe suggests beef, but feel free to substitute it with chicken, pork, or even tofu for a vegetarian option.
Yes, you can use fresh udon noodles. However, frozen udon noodles give a desirable chewy texture that's characteristic of yaki udon dishes.
The recipe calls for Madras curry powder, which is a bit spicier and flavorful than regular curry powder. However, if you don't have Madras, regular curry powder works just fine.
Feel free to experiment with other vegetables. Carrots and cabbage are used in the recipe, but you can try adding broccoli, bell peppers, or shiitake mushrooms for different flavors and textures.
The spiciness of this dish depends on the type of curry powder you use. Madras curry powder does add a bit of heat, but it's not overly spicy. If you want to add more kick, try adding some red pepper flakes, sriracha or hot sauce.
How to Store Leftovers
Refrigerating: Allow your leftover beef yaki udon to cool completely at room temperature. Once cooled, transfer the leftovers into an airtight container. The dish can be safely stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Re-Heating: When you're ready to enjoy your leftover yaki udon, you can reheat it on the stove or in the microwave. If using a stove, heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat, add the leftovers and stir frequently to ensure even heating.
If using a microwave, place the yaki udon in a microwave-safe bowl, cover it, and heat it at intervals of 30 seconds, for up to one to two minutes, stirring in between until it's heated through.
Freezing: I don’t recommend freezing this dish since the texture of the udon noodles might change upon thawing.
More Noodle Recipes You May Like
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Curry Beef Yaki Udon Stir Fry
Joyce's Recipe Notes
- Use Frozen Udon Noodles: For the best chewy udon noodle texture, opt for frozen udon noodles that come in blocks in the freezer section of your grocery store. They will give you that perfect chewy texture with a bit of springiness that we all love in our yaki udon.
- Madras Curry Powder: The curry powder I use for this recipe is Madras curry powder which is very similar to regular curry powder but it's spicier. This recipe can be made with regular curry powder as well.
- Slice Your Beef (or Leftover Meat) Thinly: The thinner you slice them, the quicker they will cook. This will save you time and ensure that your stir fry cooks evenly.
- Customize Your Sauce: The curry powder in this recipe adds a delicious curry flavor, but if you're not a fan, simply omit it. You'll still end up with a delicious, traditional stir-fried yaki udon.
- 1 brick sanuki udon (frozen)
- ½ lb beef (any type of steak) (or 1½ cup of leftover meat, sliced thinly)
- 1 carrot (cut into slivers, matchsticks)
- 1½ cups cabbage (cut thinly)
- 1 small onion (sliced thinly)
Beef Marinade (Skip If Using Leftover Meat)
Maple Curry Sauce
- Soak the frozen block of sanuki udon in a bowl of cold or room temperature water for 2 minutes (or until the noodles strands defrost and become pliable. Once it is pliable, drain the water and set it aside
- Thinly slice the cabbage, and cut the carrots into thin sticks. Set it a side for later.
- If you are using green onions as a topping, finely mince the green onions and set aside
- If you are using leftover meat, instead of a raw beef steak, thinly slice this as well, and set it aside for later.
Marinate Beef (Skip If Using Leftover Meat)
- Slice the beef against the grain to make it tender. I like to cut them ⅛ inch thick.
- Add the sliced beef to a bowl, add 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon water, ½ teaspoon sesame oil, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, and 1 tablespoon oil and mix everything together very well. Set this aside for later.
Make the Curry Stir Fry Sauce
Stir Frying Everything Together
- In a frying pan, set the heat to medium heat and add a bit of oil to it. Wait for it to get hot, watch for the oil to shimmer.
- Once the pan is hot, add in the beef slices and pan-fry it for about 4-5 minutes. If you're using leftover meat, cook it for about 2 minutes instead.
- Add in the onions and stir fry it for about 1-2 minutes.
- Add in the vegetables and cook it until it is soft and slightly browned (approximately 4 minutes)
- Add in the udon noodles and sauce.
- Stir fry it together for about 1-2 minutes until the noodles warm up and are fully coated in the sauce.
- Top it with green onions and sesame seeds or a fried egg (optional). Enjoy!
*Nutritional information is calculated using online tools and is an estimate*
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