Kimchi Udon Noodle Soup
Chewy udon noodles and savory kimchi in a Japanese dashi broth makes a perfect simple noodle soup for a comfort. It’s a simple and easy Korean-Japanese fusion noodle soup recipe.
I like udon and so as the most Koreans.
If you drive on the freeways in Korea, you will find many rest areas along the road. Most of them have food stalls where you can purchase quick meals and snacks. This kimchi udon noodle soup (김치우동) is one of the popular menu. Feeding yourself a bowl of hot udon in the middle of long winter journey? I call it – ‘Kimchi Udon Soup for the Soul’.
I miss the humble udon that you buy at those food stalls. I even miss hearing the loud slurping sounds from the strangers sitting next to me.
I miss the combination flavor of Japanese dashi and the pungent bite of Korean kimchi.
I miss hearing to kitchen ladies in the food stall yelling at the customers to hurry up and pick up their noodles… “아줌마, 우동나왔어요! – Lady, come and get your udon!“
I used to eat Kimchi Udon quite often as I was growing up, especially during the colder months.
When the icy ocean wind of cold winter blows at your cheeks like a knife and your nose turns its shade to the one like Rudolph’s, there was nothing like slurping hot noodle soup at the street vendors or in the market squares. It immediately warmed my near frozen body. There was no spoon. Only a pair of chopsticks was all you needed. You just gulp the broth directly out of the bowl as you enjoy the noodles. Comfort food like this… it comes closer to your heart.
Making this Kimchi Udon is not that difficult. Get the delicious broth (dashi) ready, then everything else is a snap to put together. This is the Korean-Japanese fusion comfort food at its best.
How to make Dashi Broth
This is Bonito flakes. Feather thin Japanese sardine/tuna type fish flakes to make dashi (broth). It is also called Katsuobushi (かつおぶし). If you don’t have bonito, use large dried anchovies.
In a pot, pour water and add bonito, dried sea kelp (Kombu), and Asian leek (or onion). Bring them to boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
You will get a flavorful dashi. Reserve the broth and discard the rest.
Season with Tsuyu (Japanese soup or dipping sauce). I only used 2 tbsp and added salt to season the broth because I didn’t want my dashi to be too dark. You can add more if you wish.
Beautiful dashi is ready. Keep it warm until ready to use.
Kimchi Udon Noodle Soup
Most important topping for this Udon. The fermented Kimchi! Combine chopped kimchi, Korean chili flakes and kimchi juice in a skillet.
Cook together over medium to med-low until soft, about 3-4 minutes.
Prepare roasted seasoned seaweed (Korean ), fried bean curd and some Asian leeks for topping, too. Fish cakes and enoki mushrooms will be good choice as well.
Cook Udon noodles in a boiling water for 1-2 minutes, then strain. Place noodles in a serving bowl and pour your beautiful hot dashi over.
And place your choice of toppings on the noodles and sprinkle black pepper over. That’s all.
It is almost impossible to eat Udon without making the loud slurping noise, and it’s perfectly excusable.
More Noodle Soup Recipes
- Korean Chicken Noodle Soup (Dak Kalguksu)
- Korean Spicy Seafood Noodle Soup (Jjamppong)
- Quick Sesame Soba Noodles
Kimchi Udon Noodle Soup
- 2 handful of Bonito , or 8-10 large dried anchovies
- 1 dried sea kelp (dashima)
- 1 leek, sliced
- 8 cups water
- 2-3 tablespoon Tsuyu , or soy sauce
- 2 teaspoon salt, or more
- 1 cup chopped fermented cabbage kimchi
- 1/4 cup kimchi juice
- 2 teaspoon Korean chili flakes (gochugaru)
- 2 roasted seaweed, sliced
- 1/2 cup fried bean curd, sliced
- 2 green onion, sliced
- 4 packages Udon noodles
- To make dashi, put bonito, sea kelp, leek and pour 8 cups of water in a large pot. Bring to boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain the broth to reserve and discard the rest. Season with Tsuyu and salt. Adjust seasoning to your taste. Keep the broth warm.
- Meanwhile, combine kimchi, kimchi juice, and chili flakes in a small skillet. Cook over medium to med-low heat for 3- minutes until tender.
- Cook udon noodles in the boiling water for 2 minutes or follow the package direction.
- Place each serving amount of noodles in a bowl and pour the broth over to immerse the noodles. Top with each topping over the noodles. Serve hot.
For the broth, can I use a dashi packet instead? Because I don’t think there are large anchovies in my area. If I do that, do you think I need to adjust anything to the broth since there is a subtle(?) difference in taste.
You can definitely use the seasoning packet. You might need to use less amount of Tsuyu or not at all depends on the seasoning packet. Just taste the broth and adjust for your liking.
Just found your site and I’m SO glad did.
My family just decided to cut gluten from our diets and we LOVE Korean foods.
Looking forward to trying your recipes.
Hi Holly, I love your blog! I was directed over here from Rasa Malaysia.
Can I ask you what the squash in the background of the top picture is? It looks like a kabocha in shape, but I’ve never seen one in that color before.
(And now I’m off to look at the black sesame porridge, since I like anything with black sesame and it seems like it would be perfect on a cold day.)
Hi Cassadra, It is a local Malaysian pumpkin. I guess it has similar shape to kabocha but the color is more like beige-orangish. I ahm glad that you found my blog. Hope you like the porridge.
That’s interesting, I don’t remember seeing those when we were in Malaysia. Does it taste like regular orange-skin pumpkin?
Porridge is looking good, but I think I’m going to try to make the dak galbi first, since it looks like something my husband would like too. I’m a novice at making Korean food so the detailed instructions and pictures really help.
Oh that looks delicious!! 🙂
Oh holly! Your simple udon dish looks beautiful! I love the simplicity of this dish, and I often makes it (without kimchi though) as my daugther loves udon. I love your bowl, too! 🙂
This looks so good! I wish I had more time in my life so that I could try all recipes on your site. You know I’ve worked for a Korean company for over a year, and have eaten mostly Korean food that year. I am familiar with most Korean dish names and ingredients. I just never attempted to cook it. My love for Korean food endures since then….
I didn’t know you had that connection with Korea. I am glad that you know a lot about Korean ingredients. I hope you start your adventure of Korean cooking soon.
I am not Koean, but I love kinchi udon! Isn’t slurping required when eating it? It’s just being polite… Thanks for the recipe!
I like any kind of noodles! Udon are great. As is this recipe – how much more flavor can one get? And it’s a quick recipe to prepare. Good stuff – thanks.
This sounds amazing. And now I want to take a road trip in Korea — just to eat! 🙂
I’ve never used a fish broth. Definitely want to try this out. Thanks Holly!
Reading this at 12.11am is BAD. Nw i am craving for kimchi noodles ah!! Hv to go make my own batch of kimchi and make this 🙂 sounds good on any days, cold or tropical weather like here!
This will make perfect midnight snack! Thanks Esther.