Quick and easy Japanese chicken yaki udon noodles recipe made with chewy thick udon noodles, chicken, and savoury soy based stir fry sauce. Add your choice of beef, seafood, pork, minced meat, or vegetables and make it your own style of yaki udon at home. Delicious one-pan dinner ready in 20 minutes!
Chicken udon is always in our family's weekly meal routine and I swap the vegetables and protein occasionally. So my little one never gets bored of this dish.
Why do we love this recipe?
- Chicken udon stir fry is one of the best ways to use up the vegetables and meat in the fridge and udon packets left in your pantry. This dish is adaptable and you don't need to use the exact same ingredients that are used in this recipe. You can customize the flavour to your taste.
- A crowd-pleasing noodle dishes and so easy to cook from scratch. You can prepare all the stir-fry ingredients and sauces ahead and whip up everything in one pan just before serving.
- If you have less than 30 minutes to prepare dinner and you still want to make a delicious meal for your family. This speedy yaki chicken udon recipe is the right recipe for you!
- Made with quick homemade stir-fry udon sauce and no special ingredients or equipment. You can buy all of these ingredients at your local supermarkets and grocery stores. No need for a trip to Japanese supermarkets or an Amazon order.
What is Yaki Chicken Udon?
Chicken Yaki Udon is a popular Japanese street food dish and it's a stir fried udon noodle with chicken. It is called Tori Yaki Udon ( 鳥焼きうどん ) in Japanese' Tori ' means ' Chicken ' and ' Yaki Udon ' means ' Fried Udon '. Round thick wheat udon noodles are stir-fried together with tender chicken pieces, colourful crisp vegetables, and savoury sauce.
Yaki Udon is one of the most popular Japanese stir-fry noodle dishes and is available in Japanese restaurants and takeaways across the world. Ginger Chicken Udon and Yasai Yaki Udon are very popular teppanyaki noodle dishes in the UK Japanese Wagamama restaurants and are highly requested recipes on our website. If you like these noodle dishes you will definitely like this easy yaki chicken udon recipe! The homemade version is tastier and faster than ordering from takeout and cost-effective during this inflation time!
Ingredients we need
- Chicken - We love adding boneless skinless chicken thigh which is so moist and tender to make this stir fry. Do not need to marinate for long hours, simply season the chicken pieces with a splash of mirin and soy sauce. Then it's ready to cook! Chicken and Glass Noodle Stir Fry and Chicken Yaki Soba are our quick noodle recipes that do not require a long time to marinate.
- Udon noodles - In this recipe, I am using cooked vacuum-packed udon noodles.
- Yaki udon sauce - is usually made of soy sauce base, mentsuyu ( noodle soup base ) sauce base, or Worchestershire sauce base sauces. In this recipe, I am sharing our simple soy sauce base yaki udon sauce, packed with savoury umami flavour.
- Vegetables - Mushrooms, cabbage, carrot, onions, and spring onion ( green onions ) are classic vegetables that we usually add to our chicken yaki udon stir fry. Bell peppers, snow peas, broccoli, baby corn, napa cabbage, bok choy, and pak choy can be also added.
How to make it in 20 mins?
1. Prepare and gather the ingredients:
Cut the chicken into small bite-size pieces and season it with soy sauce and mirin. Mix it well and set it aside. Chop up the vegetables and combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk until the sugar dissolves.
2. Blanch the noodles:
Add the noodles to hot boiling for 1 to 2 minutes, then drain the water out straight away. Rinse with cold water, drain and set it aside.
3. Make a stir fry:
Heat the large pan or skillet to medium heat, drizzle oil and stir fry the chicken pieces for 2-3 minutes then add the mushroom, onion, carrot, cabbage, and chilli pepper. Stir fry for another 1-2 minutes.
Next, add the udon noodles. Pour the sauce mix over the noodles and combine well with the rest of the ingredients. Cook until the sauce is absorbed and the noodles are cooked through.
Finish with spring onions and make a final quick toss. Transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately.
Udon Types and Preparation
Japanese udon is made from wheat flour, salt, and water. Thick, round, soft, and chewy in texture. Texture can be slightly different according to the different types. It comes in frozen, dried, or pre-cooked packets.
- Frozen udon noodles - if you are using frozen udon, you don't need to defrost it, boil the noodles in hot boiling water for about 1-2 minutes then rinse with cold water.
- Dry udon noodles - takes longer to be cooked and need to boil for about 6-8 minutes or cook until ' al dente ' just like you cook dry pasta. Then drain the water out and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Pre-cooked vacuum-sealed udon - These noodles can be easily bought at local supermarkets in the UK, US, and in most countries. If you don't know how to use these cooked udon noodles packets, you can add them to your stir-fries, soups, and salads.
- If you use instant udon packets that come with soup base, discard the soup base sachets and make sure not to add in the stir fry sauce. Adding an extra soup base can be salty and change the flavour of the yaki chicken udon.
Cooking Tips & Variations
- Udon Substitute - If you cannot find cooked udon noodles packets, you can use dried udon noodles, frozen or fresh udon, thick wheat or egg noodles, ramen, lo mein, or pasta noodles.
- Protein Choice - Instead of chicken thigh you can also use chicken breast, beef, minced meat, pork, prawns, egg, etc. Cooking time can be varied according to the meat or seafood you use. If you are cooking for vegetarian or vegan, firm tofu, mushroom, Quorn vegan meat or minced meat is a great plant-based protein option.
- Make sure to loosen up the noodles before adding them to your stir fry. You can either blanch it or heat it up in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.
- Do not overcook the udon noodles. Noodle prepartion time can be varied according to the different brands you use. Make sure to rinse the noodles with cold water after boiling or blanching them.
- Use a large flat bottom pan that can distribute enough to all ingredients.
If you are a home cook you don't necessarily need to use the teppanyaki pan unless you already have one. You can use any large flat bottom non-stick pan, skillets, stainless steel, or large wok.
Yes, you can omit the chicken and add your choice of plant-based protein like fried tofu, tempeh, seitan, mushroom, and vegetables and make it into a Yasai Yaki Udon. Add vegetarian seasoning sauce like mushroom sauce instead of oyster sauce or mentsuyu.
If you have leftover chicken yaki udon, transfer them to the air-tight container and keep them in the fridge. It usually lasts in the fridge for up to 2 days. To reheat, you can add them to the microwave or stir fry them over the stovetop until hot. Add a splash of water if needed.
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Easy Chicken Yaki Udon
- 1 Large flat bottom pan Non-stick pan or skillet
- 200 g Boneless Chicken Thigh or breast, cut thin strips/slices ( About 7oz )
- 400 g Udon Noodles Or 2 servings noodles, pre-cooked udon or fresh/frozen udon ( see details in note )
- 3-4 Dried shiitake mushroom Rehydrated ( see details in note )
- 1 Carrot Cut matchstick pieces
- ½ Onion Cut thin slices
- 3-4 Cabbage Leaves About 50 gram/1.8oz
- 2-3 Spring Onion Cut 2" pieces
- 1 Red chilli pepper Optional, cut thin slices
- 2-3 tbsp Cooking oil Vegetable or neutral flavour oil
- 1 tbsp Oyster Sauce Or vegetarian stir fry sauce
- 1 tbsp Regular Soy Sauce All-purpose Japanese soy sauce or light soy
- 2 tsp Dark Soy Sauce
- 1 tbsp Mirin Japanese rice cooking wine, see details in note
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Regular soy sauce All-purpose Japanese soy sauce or light soy
- 1 tsp Mirin Japanese cooking rice wine
- Cut chicken into thin strips or slices. Season the chicken with soy sauce and mirin. Mix it well and set it aside.
- Blanch the udon in the hot boiling water for 1-2 minutes, strain it, rinse with cold water. Set it aside. ( Or you can prepare by the packet instructions. )
- Heat pan over medium high-heat drizzle 1 tbsp of oil and add marinated chicken. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Next, add the mushroom, onion, carrot, cabbage, and chilli pepper. Stir fry for another 1-2 minutes.
- Place the udon noodles in the pan. Pour the sauce mix over the noodles and combine well with the rest of the ingredients. Cook until the sauce is absorbed and the noodles are cooked through.
- Finish with spring onions and make a final quick toss. Transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately.
- Protein - Instead of chicken thigh, you can add chicken breast, beef, pork, shrimp, prawns, scallops, eggs, etc.
- Vegetables - You can add extra vegetables like napa cabbage, bell peppers, bok choy, pak choy, snow peas, or fresh mushrooms, etc.
- Mirin - is a Japanese cooking wine made from fermented rice and contains a few percentages of alcohol and sugar. It brings extra flavour to the meat and sauces. You can substitute with cooking sake, dry sherry wine, Chinese Shao Xing wine, or rice vinegar.
- Soy sauce - Use all-purpose Japanese soy sauce like Kikkoman, Yamasa, Wadakan, etc. Instead of Japanese soy sauce, you can use regular light soy sauce.
- Udon - You can swap udon with your choice of thick wheat noodles, egg noodles, or whole wheat noodles.
- Do not recommend freezing but leftover chicken udon can be kept in the fridge in an air-tight container for later use. It usually lasts in the fridge for a couple of days.