Yes! You can be enjoying this Spicy Udon Stir Fry in just 15 minutes! Proving that delicious doesn’t need to be time consuming!
I have always been a fan of udon noodles, especially the fresh ones. They’re like fat spaghetti, so they’re fun to eat and they also grab a great sauce like nothing else. I always have them in my pantry for nights when a quick and easy dinner is needed (or when the fridge needs to be cleaned out of odds and ends :) This udon noodle recipe is made in record time – just 15 minutes from start to finish.
This stir fry is a great base recipe, featuring just a basic collection of ingredients. Feel free to add in a protein like chicken, shrimp or pork, if you’d like a meatier meal. Extra vegetables, such as mushrooms, bell peppers, bean sprouts, shredded cabbage or just about anything else you have around would also be a great addition.
How to Cook Udon Noodles
Soft, vacuum-packed udon noodles do not require any pre-cooking. You can simply add to your dish and heat through. You can pre-soak in a large bowl of warm water to loosen and separate the noodles before adding to your dish, if you like.
Frozen Udon Noodles should be cooked in a large pot of boiling water for about 1 minute.
Semi-dried udon noodles should be cooked in a large pot of boiling water for about 8 minutes.
Dried udon noodles need to cook in a large pot of boiling water for about 10 minutes.
Test for doneness by removing noodle from pot, running it under cold water, then biting. Udon shouldn’t be hard in the middle.
*I much prefer Soft or Frozen Udon noodles. They are easier to use and they have that chewy texture I love!
How to Make 15-Minute Spicy Udon Noodles
1. Gather your ingredients and mix up your sauce.
2. Heat oil in your wok over medium-high heat and set your noodles to soak, if you like. Then add the carrots and onions and stir in the hot wok until softened.
3. Add the noodles and stir fry a bit to remove any water on them. Add the sauce and toss to coat. Finally, add the spinach and stir fry until the spinach is wilted. Spoon into bowls, garnish and serve!
Cook’s Notes for 15-Minute Spicy Udon Stir Fry
For the sauce, the Sambal Oelek is responsible for the spicy part of this stir-fry. If you’re not familiar with it, look for it in the Asian sauce section of your grocery. It’s fairly easy to find these days. Any spicy Asian-style sauce (Asian Chili Garlic Sauce/Sriracha etc.) will work though. If you’re not wanting it too spicy, start with 1 tsp. of the Sambal Oelek and work your way up, as needed. Sambal Oelek packs a punch, so a little goes a long way.
This recipe uses fresh (soft) udon noodles, that usually come packaged in individual, vacuum-packed packets. My brand (President’s Choice) is sold with 4 individual packets that are 200g (7 oz.) each. I love them because they don’t need pre-cooking. That said, I do like to soak them in hot water a bit ahead, so I can separate them before adding them to the wok. It’s not necessary, but it does make it easier to stir fry them without breaking them. Alternately, you can add soft udon noodles directly from the package to the wok.
If you want to try this using dried udon, you’ll obviously need to cook them before adding to the wok. You may also need to increase the sauce ingredients, as I suspect dried noodles might soak up a bit more that the fresh ones. Truth be told though, I am not a fan of dried udon and don’t think they’re nearly worth the extra work of having to boil them.
For the carrots, I suggest spiralized carrots, as they cook up quickly in a stir fry. You can either use store-bought spiralized carrots or spiralized your own at home (I have one of these simple handheld spiralizers that works great!). Simply chop the spiralized carrots into bite-sized pieces to prepare. Store-bought, spiralized carrots tend to be a little thicker, so allow a bit more cooking time at the start to get them tender, before adding the onions. Alternately, I would suggest just grating some carrot on a box grater to add to the stir fry.
I’ve used carrots and spinach here, but you can use whatever vegetables you like. Just consider cooking time in the wok and add the longer-to-cook ones first (and cut in small pieces). Greens would usually go in last and cooked until wilted.
Add a protein! Chicken is a great addition to this dish, either cooked chicken or cook a bit of chicken in the wok before starting the stir fry (remove to a plate, then add back in towards the end, to warm).
This recipe will serve 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side dish. To serve more, simply double the recipe!
Love stir fries? Check out my 40 Basic Stir Fry Sauce Recipes. This ultimate stir fry sauce recipe cheatsheet is a perfect starting point for dozens of creative stir fries.
15 Minute Spicy Udon and Vegetable Stir Fry
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil or other neutral cooking oil
- 1/2 medium onion sliced or diced
- 1 medium carrots spiralized and chopped or grated
- 1 cup green onion sliced diagonally (green part only)
- 3 cups baby spinach
- 14 oz soft vacuum-packed udon noodles 400g
- 1-2 tsp Sambal Oelek (or Asian Chili Garlic Sauce/Sriracha)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger minced
- Sesame seeds
- Additional sliced green onion
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley or cilantro
Prepare your vegetables and set aside. Mix up the sauce by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside. If you like, you can fill a large bowl with hot tap water and add udon noodles to the bowl to soak, so they can be separated before adding to the wok This isn't necessary though, as you can add fresh udon noodles directly from the package to the wok. I just find it easier to stir fry them having them separate before the go in to the wok.
In a large frying pan or wok, heat oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Add carrots and cook, stirring for a minute or so. Add onions and cook, stirring, until onions are soft and carrots are tender. Add green onion and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or so.
If soaking udon noodles, gently stir to loosen udon noodles and separate, then drain. Add drained noodles (or unsoaked noodles)to the wok and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or so. (Stir fry a little longer is soaked, to cook off any extra water before adding the sauce). Add sauce and cook for another 30 second, stirring to combine well. Scatter baby spinach over top and cook, stirring constantly, until spinach is wilted.
Remove stir fry to a bowl or plate and garnish with sesame seeds, additional sliced green onion and parsley/cilantro.
Be sure to read the "Cook's Notes" in the original post, for more tips, options, substitutions and variations for this recipe!