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It’s super easy to learn how to make this amazing Japanese Beef Curry Udon (Kare Udon)!
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Oh gosh, where do I even start with Japanese food. If you were to ask me what type of food is my favorite, I would probably say Japanese. I know that’s a pretty broad statement, but it’s true. The curry, ramen, sushi and sashimi, yakitori, and all the wonderful dishes you find at izakaya’s…I can’t even begin to explain my love. It’s all SO. DAMN. GOOD. Seriously. If you haven’t had the chance to try Japanese cuisine (and I’m not talking California rolls), go, try it. If you’re in San Diego, shoot me an email, I’ll tell you where to go!
Related Recipe: Shrimp Lo Mein
Let’s make the Japanese Beef Curry Udon!
That said, I haven’t spent much time cooking Japanese food so I thought this would be a great time to start. This Japanese beef curry udon (kare udon) is literally what is says – curry over udon noodles with tender, melt-in-your-mouth pieces of beef. Typically served as a soup or stew, my version is more like a thick stew. I do love a soup, but I think the thickness of the stew makes for a nice, hearty winter meal. You know those tough Southern California winters. We’ve got to keep warm somehow. If you prefer a less thick version, I’ll give you some options at the end of the post.
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Now I know you’re reading the list of ingredients and thinking “jeez, this sure does seem complicated.” It’s not! I promise, it’s super easy to make and the flavors will be totally worth the extra time. This Japanese curry beef udon is one of my favorite comfort foods. I do make it with homemade Japanese curry roux, but you can also use store bought if you don’t want to make your own.
The Curry Roux
My understanding is Vermont Curry Medium Hot 8.11 Oz (230g) (sweeter) as well as HOUSE Curry Sauce “KOKUMARO” Medium Hot (8 servings) from JAPAN (1pcs) make a pretty good curry roux, however I have not tried either. If you try them, let me know how you like them. But for now, I like to make my own. I just think curries taste better when they are homemade – the flavors are typically more pronounced and fresher, and you can control the ingredients (i.e. no MSG…). If you’re going the premade route, you can purchase either of the above through the affiliate links below. Like I said, I have not tried either, but many very established food bloggers have vouched for the brands.
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First, we start the seafood broth. Add all the ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Set aside. Dashi broth (Ajinomoto – Hon Dashi (Soup Stock) 4.23 Oz.) can also be substituted for the seafood broth if desired. I find the result to be very similar. I like the flavor of the shiitake mushrooms as well as the thickness and flavor provided by the miso paste.
While the broth simmers, season beef with salt and pepper and dredge lightly in flour. Sear it on all sides. Make sure to sear very well, you want a crust on all sides for the most tender beef. When the beef is seared properly, it really allows it to keep it’s juices while braising.
While the beef is cooking, combine the beef broth, sake and mirin (Kikkoman Manjo Aji Mirin, 17 fl oz) in a large sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add the beef and simmer for about an hour to tenderize. Drain and set aside.
Add the potatoes and butternut squash to the simmering seafood broth and bring to a boil. Cook until soft, about 10-15 minutes. Heat another pot of water to boiling, and cook the udon noodles for 3-4 minutes. Strain and set aside.
In the meantime, sauté the onions and garlic until soft. Remove stems from the reserved shiitake mushrooms, chop and add to onions and garlic. Then add the braised beef and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add the curry paste to the beef, stirring until beef is coated in the curry. Add the beef mixture to the broth, along with the cooked udon noodles and bring to a simmer, adding salt to taste.
Remove from heat, garnish with green onions and serve. This Japanese Beef Curry Udon is the perfect comfort food!
If you’re looking for a soupier version, just add more broth. I would recommend about 1 additional cup of the seafood broth. Make sure to adjust the salt to taste for the additional broth. Add an additional 1 tbsp. of the Japanese curry roux.
Curry Udon Noodles with Beef
- 1 pound skirt steak substitute any thinly sliced beef
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 18 ounces udon noodles
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 1 small onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms
- 4 cups dashi stock
- 1 small white potato peeled and diced
- 1 small sweet potato peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup Japanese curry roux
- 1 cup diced green onions
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Slice the beef thinly in bite sized pieces and combine it with the soy sauce and baking soda in a bowl for 10 minutes.
- Cook the udon noodles according to the package instructions while the beef marinades and set aside.
- Heat a dutch oven on high and add the beef to sear it on all sides (about 3-5 minutes total). Remove and set aside.
- Reduce the heat of the pot to medium and add the cooking oil. Add the onions, garlic and shiitake mushroom and saute for 2-3 minutes, until softened.
- Add the beef back to the pot and pour in the dashi broth. Bring to a boil.
- Add the diced potatoes and cook (simmer) until soft, about 10-15 minutes.
- Add the curry paste and stir until it dissolves and the broth is thickened. Add additional salt to taste.
- Place the udon noodles in a bowl and pour the curry on top. Garnish with sliced green onions and fried garlic.
- The beef should be seared over high heat to get a nice char on the outside. This adds to the flavor.
- Cook the noodles while the beef is marinading so they are ready when the curry is done.
- Dice the potatoes in 1/2" pieces so they cook quicker and are easier to eat.
- If you're using dashi powder, make the stock while the noodles are cooking according to the package instructions.
- Substitute dry shiitakes for fresh if you can't find fresh. Soak the mushrooms in warm water for 15 minutes until they are softened. Remove the stems and roughly chop them.
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