Udon are thick noodles made of wheat flour and are frequently used in Japanese cooking. They are somehow both light and hefty, somewhat chewy, and utterly satisfying. Also, absolutely fantastic in this stir-fry recipe from Thai-Aussie chef Marion Grasby. There’s also an earlier recipe in Bon Appétit that requires mirin. Marion’s recipe is simpler, and hard to imagine getting any better.
It’s the noodles, plus that under-appreciated pair that is pork and ginger. So subtle, so sublime. You can omit the sesame seeds like we did and it’s fine. You can also omit the garlic and somehow the pork-ginger pairing shines through even more. It’s key to properly brown the pork so you have the yummy bits to scrape off the bottom of the pan and into the dish. Absolute tummy party.
Pork and Sesame Udon
(Adapted from the recipe by Marion Grasby / Marion’s Kitchen, Serves 2-3)
*2 blocks precooked Udon
1/2 kg minced pork (not lean)
small ginger, julienned
Spring onions, small bunch
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup chopped Pechay
Soy sauce like Kikkoman
Chili powder or oil
1. Carefully place the udon in hot but not boiling water in a small pot on the stove, and gently shake them around in the water using tongs to separate the noodles. As soon as they are separated, transfer into a bowl and drizzle a bit of sesame oil to keep them from sticking together. Set aside.
3. Chop both the white and green parts of the spring onions and set aside separately. Peel the cloves of garlic and chop into chunks.
2. In a wok or something similar, heat vegetable oil and sauté the garlic chunks, white parts of the spring onion, some of the green parts, and the ginger until wilted and slightly browned. Then push everything to the sides of the wok so there is space in the center to sauté the pork. Lay the pork out in a thin layer on the wok so it browns evenly in the bottom, don’t rush this step. Let the pork brown and form a bit of a crust on the wok that you can scrape off and mix in. The pork must be dry and browned. If there is any liquid from the pork, you can either spoon that out or let it evaporate and proceed to browning the pork.
3. Add the chopped pechay and sauté until wilted. Add the udon noodles and mix well with the meat and vegetables. Season with more sesame oil and enough soy sauce to taste.
4. Add some chili powder or chili oil if you want and finish off with more of the green onion. Serve immediately. ENJOY!
1. The udon can be found in either the cold section of a Japanese grocery or in the Asian section of certain groceries. Each “block” of Udon can serve one hungry person or possibly two. Having made this dish multiple times at home I can tell you that you can effectively cook just two of these blocks at a time, so keep that in mind. The ones we use come in 2-block packs with a flavor packet which we set aside. The udon look exactly like they do in the video by Marion’s Kitchen.
2. Feel free to use up to 3/4 kg of pork mince and adjust seasoning accordingly.
3. Instead of Pechay you can use Bokchoy, Cabbage or Spinach.