Yaki Udon is a wok-fried Japanese udon noodle dish with a complex, soy-based sauce, meat, and vegetables. This Shrimp Yaki Udon features a sauce made from soy, garlic, ginger, mirin, sake, rice wine vinegar, sugar, and oil. It is deeply savory, lightly sweet, and has just a touch of spice.
This sauce is used in two ways: as a marinade for the shrimp and as a stir-fry sauce added to the wok or pan near the end of the cook time. If using a pan, be sure to use stainless steel, not non-stick or cast iron.
For protein, shrimp is one of my favorite healthy weeknight options, but feel free to use other proteins in its place. You can use beef, chicken, pork, or tofu or omit the protein entirely.
Once you have prepped your vegetables and marinated the shrimp, the dish comes together incredibly quickly. You can easily do your prep work in advance and have dinner on the table in under 15 minutes.
What You'll Need
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- Shrimp I used defrosted raw shrimp for this dish. You could use fresh shrimp as well, but I would remove the shells prior to marinating.
- Udon Noodles Fresh udon noodles can be found in many grocery stores in the refrigerated fresh noodle section. If you are feeling ambitious, these fresh udon noodles have turned out well for me on numerous occasions.
- Fresh Vegetables In this dish, I recommend using onion, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, zucchini, and jalapeño.
- Fresh Ginger
- Fresh Garlic
- Soy Sauce I personally prefer a low sodium soy sauce. Regular soy sauce will also work well here.
- Vegetable Oil or another neutral oil such as grapeseed or avocado oil. I would avoid olive oil or other oils with low smoke points (the point at which an oil burns) because of the high heat required for this dish.
- Brown Sugar
- Mirin A sweet rice wine used often in Japanese cooking
- Sake A dry sherry will work here, too, if you can't find sake.
- Rice Wine Vinegar Be sure to select an unseasoned rice wine vinegar as the seasoned rice vinegar includes sugar and salt and will change the taste of the marinade/sauce.
How to Make
- Marinate the shrimp
- Stir-fry with the vegetables, noodles, and sauce
Shrimp Yaki Udon Variations
- Beef - I have made this dish with great success using stir-fry cut beef (pre-cut at the grocery store to make prep quick and easy) in place of shrimp.
- Chicken - Chicken works equally well here. You can use either sliced chicken thighs or sliced chicken breast.
- Pork - I find that pork chops can come out dry when sliced thin and cooked at this temperature. I recommend trying ground pork here and reducing the marinating time to 15 minutes. Ground pork has fat evenly distributed throughout the product and will stand up better to high heat.
- Vegetarian/Vegan - Try making this dish with no meat at all. You can either marinate some tofu or omit a protein entirely for a tasty, vegetable-forward meal.
- Different Vegetables - The recipe calls for carrot, broccoli, mushrooms, zucchini, and jalapeño. Feel free to try other vegetables that you have on hand or that you like best. Some veggies that would work great include bell pepper, celery, cabbage, edamame, and eggplant.
How to Store
Every component of this dish should last for 3-4 days in the fridge: the shrimp, the marinade, the noodles, and the vegetables will all remain safe during this time.
To reheat, I recommend throwing everything back into a wok or large frying pan on high heat with a little bit of oil.
You can freeze leftovers for future meals. You can freeze for two months. The best way to reheat is to place in the fridge overnight to thaw and then heat in the pan as above.
How to Pair
Yaki udon can be served as a standalone meal. Below are some drink ideas to serve with this dish:
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Shrimp Yaki Udon
- 2 packages fresh udon noodles about 16 ounces
- 1 pound raw shrimp
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil such a vegetable, grapeseed or avocado
- ½ onion sliced, yellow, sweet or red
- 2 carrots peeled, cut on the bias
- 1 zucchini cut on the bias
- 1 small head broccoli chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 8 ounces mushrooms sliced
- 1 jalapeño sliced thin, on the bias
- 2 scallions sliced thick, on the bias
- Finely mince or grate the garlic and ginger on a microplane. Add the remaining marinade ingredients to a bowl and mix with the garlic and ginger.
- Pour half over the shrimp in a non-reactive container or gallon resealable plastic bag. Cover or seal and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Slice the vegetables and group by their cook times.
- Group 1: Onion.
- Group 2: Carrot, zucchini, broccoli and jalapeño.
- Group 3: Mushrooms and scallions.
- Place a wok or large stainless steel pan on high heat until hot.
- Remove the shrimp from the marinade and pay dry. Discard the marinade.
- Cook the shrimp until opaque, about 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add the onion and stir-fry until slightly softened and golden.
- Add the carrot, zucchini, broccoli and jalapeño. Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and scallions. Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.
- Add noodles and the remaining sauce and stir-fry for 3 more minutes, add the shrimp back in, stir to coat and serve immediately in bowls or on plates.
- Feel free to use different vegetables you have on hand in place of or in addition to the vegetables listed here. Try bell peppers, celery, eggplant, cabbage or edamame.
- All components of this dish can be stored for 3-4 days in the fridge.
- You can freeze the leftovers of this dish for 2 months, defrost in the refrigerator overnight and heat in a pan or wok with a bit of oil when ready to eat.
- You can use other proteins in this dish such as beef, chicken or tofu. You can also omit protein entirely.
- If you cannot find fresh udon noodles, you can use dried udon noodles. Cook according to package directions.
- If the ingredients while cooking, feel free to add a tiny bit of oil.
- If you omit the jalapeño and still want a bit of heat, some sriracha or sambal oelek would be an excellent addition.