If you love beef and udon noodles, Beef Udon (Niku Udon ) is the dish for you. The sweetness of the beef topping goes well with the plain udon noodle soup. It is a simple but filling noodle soup with plenty of beef.
The Japanese name of this dish, Niku Udon (肉うどん), does not translate to Beef Udon because the word ‘niku’ (肉) means meat, not beef. Niku Udon can be made with pork or chicken meat but sliced beef is by far the most popular meat for this dish.
In my post Japanese Beef and Rice (Beef Takikomi Gohan), I mentioned that this dish was also called ‘niku gohan’. And it is a very simple rice dish. Well, today’s dish is almost like the noodle version of it. The ingredients to cook the beef are quite similar to Beef Takikomi Gohan.
What’s in Beef Udon (Niku Udon)
Beef Udon is made of udon noodles, a dashi-based broth and flavoured beef toppings.
Udon noodles can be either home-made, a packet of dried udon noodles from a shop or a packet of pre-cooked fresh noodles from a shop (photo below from left in this order ).
If you are using Home-made Udon Noodles or dried udon noodles, you need to boil them and get ready to use. If you are using pre-cooked fresh udon noodles, you just need to warm them up by blanching them in boiling water.
The broth for Beef Udon is a typical noodle broth made of the following ingredients (for 1 serving):
- 300ml / 10oz dashi stock
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon mirin
- A pinch of salt
If you compare the proportion of the ingredients with the broth made for Tempura Udon, you will notice that the ingredients above are slightly different. Since the topping has a soy flavour, I made a slightly lighter broth for Beef Udon than the standard noodle broth.
Use of light soy sauce makes the colour of the broth lighter. But if you don’t have it, you can use normal soy sauce.
- Thinly sliced beef
- Julienned ginger
- Dashi stock
- Soy sauce
- Cooking sake
- Chopped shallots/scallions to scatter at the end (optional but strongly recommended to add a colour to the dish)
I used the frozen thinly sliced beef that I bought from the Asian grocery store. You can instead slice a block of beef by hand. Rib eye, sirloin or top side steak would be good.
Some recipes do not use dashi stock and just add water instead. But I think that the beef toppings taste better with dashi stock added.
How to Make Beef Udon (Niku Udon)
It does not take a very long time to cook Niku Udon.
- Cook the beef with other topping ingredients until only a small amount of liquid is left over (takes about 5 minutes).
- Boil udon noodles (takes about 10 minutes) or warm up if using cooked udon.
- Mix all the ingredients for the broth and bring it to a boil (takes 5 minutes).
- Transfer the noodles and the broth to a serving bowl, then place the beef on top. Scatter the shallots/scallion over the beef.
The way I cook the beef is very simple too. You don’t even sauté the beef. Just bring all the topping ingredients, except beef, to a boil then add ginger and beef.
Since all these three Beef Udon components need to be hot when putting them together, utilising the cooktop burners becomes quite important.
I use three cooktop burners, i.e. one burner to boil and warm up udon noodles, one to make the broth and one to cook the beef toppings.
If you only have two burners, I would suggest that you allocate one for udon and the other for the broth and the toppings. At the time of serving, you should have the broth on the cooktop. As soon as the broth is brought to a boil, put the toppings on the burner.
If you have only one burner, you can use a microwave to heat up the noodles and bring the broth to a boil on the cooktop. As soon as the broth is heated up, put the toppings on the cooktop to heat up.
Beef Udon (Niku Udon) is a very simple udon noodle recipe but it’s so satisfying with a generous amount of flavoursome beef slices as toppings. And it takes only 20 minutes to make.
If you love beef and udon noddles, Beef Udon (Niku Udon) is the dish for you. The sweetness of the beef topping goes well with the plain udon noodle soup. It is a simple but filling noodle soup with plenty of sliced beef.
Don't forget to see the section 'MEAL IDEAS' below the recipe card! It gives you a list of dishes that I have already posted and this recipe that can make up a complete meal. I hope it is of help to you.
- 1 serving udon noodles (note 1)
- 2 tbsp shallots/scallions finely chopped
- 130g / 4.6oz thinly sliced beef (note 2)
- 1 tbsp ginger finely julienned
- 1 tbsp dashi stock
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp cooking sake
- 1 tbsp mirin
- 1 tsp sugar
- 300ml / 10oz dashi stock
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce (or normal soy sauce)
- 2 tsp mirin
- A pinch of salt
Boil udon noodles per the instructions to al-dente. Rinse them in running cold water until the noddles cool down completely, then drain (note 3).
Add all the Broth ingredients in a saucepan and bring it to a boil.
Put all the Beef Toppings ingredients, except beef, into a skillet and bring it to a boil over medium heat.
Add beef to the skillet, untangling each slice of the beef. Cook until a small amount of liquid is left at the bottom of the skillet - see the photo in the section, HOW TO MAKE BEEF UDON (NIKU UDON) in the post.
Turn the heat off and leave until required.
Bring water in a saucepan to a boil and blanch the udon noodles to warm them up. Drain well and transfer to a serving bowl.
Pour the hot broth over the noodles. Untangle the noodles in the broth if required.
Transfer the beef (note 4) on top of the noodles and scatter the chopped shallots/scallions over the beef. Serve immediately.
1. Any types of udon noddles are OK. If you have time, make them from scratch per my recipe Home-made Udon Noodles.
Alternatively, buy a packet of dried udon noodles or precooked fresh udon noodles. They are available at supermarkets and Japanese/Asian grocery stores.
2. I bought a packet of frozen sliced beef from the Asian grocery store. It came in a very large slice so I halved it.
Otherwise, get a rib eye, sirloin or top side steak and very thinly slice it.
3. If you are using precooked noodles, no need to boil.
4. If the beef gets cold, reheat it. Discard the small amount of liquid left in the skillet.
5. It is important that the noodles, the broth and the toppings are all hot when putting together. See the section, HOW TO MAKE BEEF UDON in the post, which talks about how I utilise 3 cooktop burners to keep them hot.
6. Nutrition per serving. I assumed half of the flavouring sauce for the beef is discarded. It also assumed the entire broth is consumed but it's unlikely. You can cut back a significant amount of sodium by not drinking the broth too much.
serving67g calories: 557kcal fat: 25g (38%) saturated fat: 9.7g (49%) trans fat: 0.0g polyunsaturated fat: 1.5g monounsaturated fat: 10g cholesterol: 89mg (30%) sodium: 2009mg (84%) potassium: 1081mg (31%) carbohydrates: 39g (13%) dietary fibre: 1.7g (7%) sugar: 11g protein: 38g vitamin a: 2% vitamin c: 4.3% calcium: 3.6% iron: 23%