Easy Kimchi Udon Stir Fry
This easy kimchi udon stir fry is packed with intense flavor and umami. Thick and chewy udon noodles are cooked in a simple yet flavorful kimchi sauce. You also get some bites with melted mozzarella to help cut some of that spicy heat. The tobiko caviar unique to this recipe gives this dish wonderful texture and crunch.
This easy kimchi udon stir fry is excellent for a quick yet satisfying weeknight meal at home. In just 15 minutes, you get bold flavors and plenty of umami.
The main ingredients in kimchi udon stir fry (kimchi udon bokkeum, 김치 우동 볶음) are usually kimchi, udon noodles, and bacon. However, I decided to be different, omit the bacon, and include other ingredients that are just as bold in flavor and umami. Bacon can be a bit overpowering in flavor, and I really wanted to showcase the kimchi in this dish.
I was inspired by Bon Appetit’s kimchi udon, but made some notable, distinctive tweaks.
**I recommend using the Lodge 8″ cast iron skillet for this recipe!
Ingredients for Kimchi Udon Stir Fry
The ingredient list may not look incredibly short, but they are mostly ingredients you would already have ready to go in your fridge and pantry. There’s also not much prep work involved besides slicing the mushrooms and green onions.
- Udon Noodles – It’s highly recommended to use frozen sanuki udon noodles. These thick and characteristically square edged noodles supposedly have a chewier texture and can soak up more sauce. It also only requires a quick blanch in hot water.
Sauce Base ingredients
- Aged Kimchi – I recommend using aged kimchi in this dish for its deeper, fermented flavors. It’s a great way to use up old kimchi in your fridge. In fact, it is usually preferred to use aged kimchi in most other Korean dishes that include kimchi (e.g. kimchi fried rice, jeon, and jjigae.
- Butter – The kimchi is first lightly caramelized in butter. It tones down the tangy kimchi flavor and brings out more of its subtle sweetness and umami.
- Gochujang – Some recipes also use kimchi juice, but I’m not too fond of its strong tangy flavor for this dish. I instead use gochujang (고추장) for its umami and spice. Gochujang is a fermented Korean red chili pepper paste that is spicy, slightly sweet, and savory.
- Chicken Broth – Using this (or vegetable broth) is an easy way to add depth of flavor and body to the sauce.
- Honey – The earthy sweetness helps to round out the spicy, savory sauce.
- Shiitake Mushrooms – They have a nice meaty texture, and conveniently more umami.
Note: If you would like some meat protein in this dish, I recommend searing some bite-sized pieces of thinly sliced pork belly and adding it to the dish.
- Egg Yolk – Stir in raw egg yolk to make the sauce extra creamy and rich.
- Green Onions – The sharp flavor of the fresh green onions helps cut through the rich flavors of this dish.
- Shredded Geem – The shredded dried seaweed (geem, 김) adds a smoky, roasted flavor.
- Shredded Mozarrella – Not a lot of recipes add cheese, but I really like how it mellows out some of the heat and adds a different kind of umami.
- Tobiko Caviar (flying fish roe) – It’s probably the most unique ingredient in my recipe. I love the texture and juicy bursts of umami that it gives this dish. I buy mine from the local Asian supermarket (e.g. H-mart). You can also use any leftovers for al dolsot bibimbap.
Other quick recipes:
Mise en place
If you make this Easy Kimchi Udon Stir Fry, I would love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to leave a comment and/or recipe rating at the bottom of this page. And if you have a photo of your food, be sure to tag me on Instagram!
Easy Kimchi Udon Stir Fry
- 1 pack udon noodles (200g)
- 1 tbsp butter
- ½ cup kimchi, roughly chopped into 1" pieces
- 2 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp garlic, peeled & crushed
- ¼ cup chicken or vegetable broth
- ½ tbsp soy sauce
- ½ tbsp honey
- ½ tbsp gochujang (fermented Korean chili paste) (see notes**)
- 2 tbsp shredded mozzarella
- 2 tbsp dried, roasted seaweed, shredded
- 1 raw egg yolk at room temperature
- 1 tbsp tobiko caviar
- 1 green onion, thinly sliced at bias
- toasted sesame seeds (optional)
- Fill a small saucepan with water and let it come to a boil over high heat as you continue the next recipe steps.
- Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat.
- Add the kimchi and shiitake mushrooms and saute for about 3 minutes or until most moisture is lost and it is lightly caramelized.
- Cook the udon noodles (in the boiling water from step 1) according to package instructions. Drain the noodles into a colander and set aside.
- Mix in the garlic and stir for about 1 minute.
- Stir in the chicken broth, soy sauce, honey, and gochujang until the ingredients are well mixed and dissolved.
- Stir in the noodles until it is well coated with sauce.
- Sprinkle a thin layer of shredded mozzarella and cover the skillet with a lid for a couple minutes or until the cheese melts.
- Top with green onions, roasted seaweed, egg yolk, tobiko caviar, and sesame seeds. Serve immediately. (Mix in the egg yolk for a rich, creamy sauce).