So, is it yakiudon, yaki udon, or – splitting the difference – yaki-udon? It may seem like a trivial thing, but not according to my mild, self-diagnosed OCD. I can’t wait for my brother-in-law to turn fully Japanese, and then I can ask him important Japanese-related questions like this (for reference, among other things, he: is a Slovak/Croat; was raised in Croatia, the Czech Republic and England; is attending university in Wales; and he’s studying to become a Japanese business man). Now I know that “Turning Japanese” is just a song and that one can’t actually change ethnicities (nationalities, yes; ethnicities, no), but if there were a way, I’m sure he would find it, pulling off a transformation that would make Rachel Dolezal jealous.
But I digress…
Actually, can you digress if you were never on the proper topic to begin with? Meh.
This stir-fry (stir fry?) was thrown together quite quickly after I texted my soon-to-return-from-work wife with the simple question “Are you going to be hungry?” She was, and she was also headed home early – not a good combination when you’ve yet to decided what to actually make. As quick as it was, it still required finding an inspiration recipe (thanks, Karen @ The Tasty Bite) and grocery shopping (and, you know, actually making it). In fact, Mateja was home from work before I even left for the grocer’s. She ended up joining me and momentarily satiating her hunger with some cheap pizza-by-the-slice fare.
Taking great liberties with my base recipe – working with what was available, and choosing to make it my own – I ended up with a very tasty result. Had bean sprouts been available at my local grocer – I’m beginning to realize the shortcomings of that place – I would have included some as well, tossing them in at the same time as the coleslaw mix and extra carrots. Otherwise, I don’t know that I would have changed anything. As much as I despise the concept of coleslaw (bad childhood experiences – don’t ask), the pre-made mix I used saved time – a fast alternative to chopping up half a head of cabbage – which is something that I know many of my readers will appreciate. Speaking of saving time, let’s hurry up and get to the recipe, right?
Beef Yaki Udon
- 600 g. fresh udon noodles (3 x 200 g. packages)
- 2 tbsp. coconut oil, divided
- 400 g, chuck beef, thinly sliced
- 2 cups coleslaw mix (pre-washed and pre-cut green cabbage, red cabbage, and carrots)
- 1 medium carrot, shaved into 1-2 inch strips (w/ peeler)
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 3+ tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tsp. rice vinegar
- 1 tsp. brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. peanut oil
- 1 tbsp. white wine
- Sriracha, for serving
- red pepper flakes, for serving
- Before doing anything else, mix together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, peanut oil, and white wine. Set mixture aside for later.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the noodles to the pot and allow to cook for 3 minutes; the noodles should separate on their own during this time. Transfer noodles to a colander and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set noodles aside for later.
- In a wok or large pan with deep sides, heat 1 tbsp. coconut oil over medium/high heat (oil will liquefy as it heats up). Add the beef and cook until no pink remains, stirring often. Remove the meat and juices from the wok, storing all of this in a bowl.
- Add second tbsp. of coconut oil to the wok, allow to liquefy, then toss in the coleslaw mix and additional carrot. Cook the veggies, stirring often, for about 4-5 minutes, until the carrots reached your desired level of tenderness.
- Toss the cold noodles into the wok along with the green onions, then pour over the soy sauce mixture you made in the first step. Mix well, tossing all of the ingredients together in the wok.
- Return the beef back to the wok, along with half of the juice, mixing well to incorporate.
- When everything is brought back to a satisfying temperature for serving (essentially, the meat and noodles aren’t still cold from being off the heat), the dish is ready.
- When you serve this, ensure that you have soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and Sriracha on the table for those who like a saltier/spicier experience.