Buta Udon (Udon with braised pork)

Buta no Kakuni Udon

While this this dish has its roots firmly planted in my New York apartment, I could totally picture it being served in an Okinawan noodle bar. Okinawa is the southern-most island of Japan, just a stones-throw from Taiwan and their food takes cues from their neighbors, using a lot of pork and fish.

Rather than using a traditional dashi based soup stock for udon, I’ve combined some braising liquid from the pork belly kakuni I made the other night with dashi to create a tasty, though unconventional broth for the noodles. If you’re a ramen maniac or an udon fanatic (or better yet, both), this may be your perfect bowl of noodle soup as it falls somewhere in between the two while tasting entirely different from either

I used Sanuki Udon noodles which have a pleasantly firm texture when cooked al dente. The soup has a deep almost indescribable savory flavor met right in the middle by a subtle sweetness and a mellow zing coming from the long-cooked ginger. It’s inexplicably light, yet rich at the same time. The slices of pork on top start melting like butter on contact with the hot soup. Putting a slice in your mouth gives it just the nudge it needs to sublimate into a pool of rich meaty goodness.

I know it’s not every day you have Japanese braised pork laying around, but to be honest, I actually made the pork last night with the intent to make this udon today (yes, it’s THAT good).

2 C dashi
1 C braising liquid from buta kakuni (fat skimmed)
salt to taste
2 bundles udon noodles
8 slices of buta kakuni
scallions finely chopped

Put the dashi and braising liquid in a pot and simmer. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with salt.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Following the package instructions, boil the udon until about 1 minute before they are done. For example, if the directions say to cook for 6 minutes, boil them for 5. This is because the noodles continue to cook once you add them to the soup.

Drain the udon and give it a quick rinse to get rid of any extra starch. Put the noodles in 2 bowls, top with 4 slices of pork belly each, scatter some scallions on top then ladle the hot soup over everything.

  • http://www.sugarbar.org/ diva

    buta kakuni….mmmm. how dreamy. too bad it seems all the girls in my house have agreed on watching what we eat till our bbq party. shame! that recipe’s gonna be put on hold for me for a while.

  • http://www.sugarbar.org diva

    buta kakuni….mmmm. how dreamy. too bad it seems all the girls in my house have agreed on watching what we eat till our bbq party. shame! that recipe’s gonna be put on hold for me for a while.

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com/ We Are Never Full

    hey marc! whoa… that post got some interesting buzz! i guess i need to post not exactly a retraction, but a clarification of what i meant. i feel passionately about classic, old and authentic dishes. Maybe b/c i’m American and our country is very young compared to most other places in the world, but i am mystified at the simplicity and deliciousness of classic, authentic and traditional dishes from all over the world. My gripe is not about changing things, putting your own spin on classic dishes or creating new ones with classic dishes as its base, but more w/ people calling/naming the dishes by it’s original authentic name when the dish is very far from what the traditional dish is supposed to be.

    i’ve seen it happen all too often. rachel ray honestly does it all the time. to me, it cheapens the integrity of a dish that may be 500 years old. people need to learn about culture and food, to me, is a wonderful way to do that. when traditional dishes have a history and cultural lesson attached to it – say what it is (ray-ray, ahem! sandy lee. AHEM! ina garten!). don’t just call it by the name it was given 500 years ago and change the whole thing around!

    ok, it’s too early! thanks for letting me vent.

    amy

    ps: thanks for the lovely comment! you’re one of our faves too!

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com We Are Never Full

    hey marc! whoa… that post got some interesting buzz! i guess i need to post not exactly a retraction, but a clarification of what i meant. i feel passionately about classic, old and authentic dishes. Maybe b/c i’m American and our country is very young compared to most other places in the world, but i am mystified at the simplicity and deliciousness of classic, authentic and traditional dishes from all over the world. My gripe is not about changing things, putting your own spin on classic dishes or creating new ones with classic dishes as its base, but more w/ people calling/naming the dishes by it’s original authentic name when the dish is very far from what the traditional dish is supposed to be.

    i’ve seen it happen all too often. rachel ray honestly does it all the time. to me, it cheapens the integrity of a dish that may be 500 years old. people need to learn about culture and food, to me, is a wonderful way to do that. when traditional dishes have a history and cultural lesson attached to it – say what it is (ray-ray, ahem! sandy lee. AHEM! ina garten!). don’t just call it by the name it was given 500 years ago and change the whole thing around!

    ok, it’s too early! thanks for letting me vent.

    amy

    ps: thanks for the lovely comment! you’re one of our faves too!

  • http://sundaynitedinner.com/ Chuck

    That looks so good and completely over the top! I usually have chashu udon, but now I want some pork belly!

  • http://sundaynitedinner.com/ Chuck

    That looks so good and completely over the top! I usually have chashu udon, but now I want some pork belly!

  • http://www.dinnersforayear.blogspot.com/ EAT!

    I have never made pork belly – never really wanted to eat a belly. but now after reading your recipe, I am off to my favorite Asian market.

  • http://www.dinnersforayear.blogspot.com EAT!

    I have never made pork belly – never really wanted to eat a belly. but now after reading your recipe, I am off to my favorite Asian market.

  • http://www.hungryandfrozen.blogspot.com/ Laura @ Hungry and Frozen

    Hee. I usually aim for “authentically good” rather than authentic, being that nothing made in my tiny, crumbling flat kitchen probably could be authentic (apart from beans on toast?) LOL! Anyway that looks delicious, I love me some udon…and I love saving broth from cooking things to cook other things with. THe only problem there is repeatablility…:)

  • http://www.hungryandfrozen.blogspot.com Laura @ Hungry and Frozen

    Hee. I usually aim for “authentically good” rather than authentic, being that nothing made in my tiny, crumbling flat kitchen probably could be authentic (apart from beans on toast?) LOL! Anyway that looks delicious, I love me some udon…and I love saving broth from cooking things to cook other things with. THe only problem there is repeatablility…:)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06969188088059280636 Big Bear

    Hey I already weigh over 450 pounds, but I do love my pork belly. I’m going to get my girlfriend chiff0nade to make up a batch of your delicious udon. Thanks for the recipe.

    By the way, I eat about three pounds of bacon a week . . . sometimes four. Love that pork.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06969188088059280636 Big Bear

    Hey I already weigh over 450 pounds, but I do love my pork belly. I’m going to get my girlfriend chiff0nade to make up a batch of your delicious udon. Thanks for the recipe.

    By the way, I eat about three pounds of bacon a week . . . sometimes four. Love that pork.

  • http://foodmakesmehappy.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    The pork fat is driving me crazy,
    I want it badly!

  • http://foodmakesmehappy.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    The pork fat is driving me crazy,
    I want it badly!

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    That looks good! Great way to use the buta kakuni braising liquid!

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    That looks good! Great way to use the buta kakuni braising liquid!

  • marc

    Diva, try telling them about the benefits of collagen for their skin. If that doesn’t work I usually comfort myself with the thought that my body couldn’t possibly metabolize all that fat.

    Amy, I totally get your frustration.

    Thanks Chuck!

    Good luck EAT! Let us know how it goes.

    Laura, I’m with you on that one.

    Big Bear, if I could afford it I’d probably eat 4 lbs of bacon a week too.

    Cindy, porkbelly is a tough habit to kick;-P

    Thanks Kevin!

  • marc

    Diva, try telling them about the benefits of collagen for their skin. If that doesn’t work I usually comfort myself with the thought that my body couldn’t possibly metabolize all that fat.

    Amy, I totally get your frustration.

    Thanks Chuck!

    Good luck EAT! Let us know how it goes.

    Laura, I’m with you on that one.

    Big Bear, if I could afford it I’d probably eat 4 lbs of bacon a week too.

    Cindy, porkbelly is a tough habit to kick;-P

    Thanks Kevin!

  • http://www.noobcook.com/ noobcook

    This is beautiful and looks absolutely delicious!

  • http://www.noobcook.com noobcook

    This is beautiful and looks absolutely delicious!

  • Jessica

    Where can I find that cut of pork?

  • Jessica

    Where can I find that cut of pork?

  • http://www.udonrecipes.com Japan Mummy

    Hmmm, you talk about authentic, but as someone who lived in Japan for 10 years I feel I must tell you those are definitely not udon noodles. In Japan, those are sold as “chinese noodles”. Udon noodles are much thicker and a little chewier. Not to say your recipe wasnt delicious, mind, just thought you ought to know ;)

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for comment:-) I’m not sure what part of Japan you were in, but these
      are Inaniwa udon noodles from the Akita prefecture. Depending on the area of
      Japan, the thickness and texture varies widely, but generally udon noodles
      are made from wheat flour, water and salt. Soba is typically made with a
      mixture of buckwheat and wheat flour and water. Ramen noodles (a.k.a. chuka
      soba) is made from wheat flour, kansui, or sometimes egg. I hope that helps.

  • Pingback: Udon Pork Noodle Bowl Recipe | Guilty Kitchen

  • Tamybuu

    Your photos are beautiful, what camera do u use?

  • Hong

    Dear Mark,

    Would you be able to offer some udon (noodle soup) for vegetarian? I almost eat udon at least once a week using only dashi soup base for the soup and added lots of veggies. But I would love to have another recipe that is more tasty and unique than the basic dashi soup that I make. Thanks in advance!

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Hong, most dashi stocks are not vegetarian (they include fish such as bonito), but if you make a dashi with ingredients like kombu (kelp) and shiitake, you can make a vegetarian base. Then you can add whatever you like on top like vegetables, tofu, fried tempura batter (tanuki udon), tempura vegetables, or fried tofu simmered in sweet soy sauce (kitsune udon). I hope that helps!

  • Luke LeClair

    Hey Mark, I did try this recipe and it was really good. It got me thinking about what other types of udon I could make. What would you recommend for a seafood udon dish?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      You could just use a regular udon dashi (katsuo and kombu dashi), and add seafood to it. Or if you want to do something different how about a wonton noodle style stock like this http://norecipes.com/blog/wonton-soup-recipe/

  • Yogicfoodie

    This got big thumbs up from 6 and 4 yr olds. They finished everything, to the very last drop of the soup!

Welcome!

I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

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