Decadent Miso Udon: Asian Inspiration in Minutes
Here’s a 5-ingredient miso udon snack that you can whip together in less than 20 minutes. It’s a no-fuss favourite that’s oh-so-simple and incredibly tasty!
Classic Japanese udon, a dash of tantalising miso, an egg, and… chilli crisp?
Oh, yes. We’re blending complementary notes like a symphony orchestra here, and you can thank me later. One of the hallmarks of truly amazing food is that little spark of the unusual, the unexpected – and with this little gem, it’s never been easier.
Whether it’s a late-home-from-work kind of day, or simply not enough desire to conjure up that 3-course lunch, here’s a quick meal that honestly punches above its weight when it comes to flavour.
Oh – and if you’re already a miso fan , you might want to try this tantalising Miso Glaze Spiced Thai Coconut Salmon recipe, too!
Just in case you’ve been kept in the dark about one of the world’s most enigmatic flavours, know this: umami is almost impossible to describe. A traditional Japanese seasoning, Miso is a thick paste produced by fermenting soybeans and kōji. Often, a little barley or seaweed or fermented rice is added, and the result is a paste that actually defines umami – the so-called “fifth taste” alongside sour, sweet, salty, and bitter. Miso itself is hard to compare to anything, but if you’re hesitant, don’t be. Miso has been described as salty, deeply savoury, with a toast-like smokiness and an undertone of sweet richness. It’s an incredibly versatile ingredient, and here, it’s a star performer in this deceptively simple dish.
Oh, and healthy? Absolutely. Vitamin K, probiotics, zinc, protein, calcium… it’s particularly good for your nervous system and digestive system. Eat more.
The World’s Most Stubborn Noodle
Udon noodles embody everything comforting about Japanese-style food. They’re thick, slightly chewy, and designed for broths and immersions where they pick up surrounding flavours and provide satisfying substance to just about anything you combine them with.
They’re primarily a wheat noodle, which might seem a little unusual coming from a culture where rice-based ingredients are in the majority – but it’s their slightly resilient, springy texture that makes them so appealing. In fact, the dough used to make udon is so delightfully difficult to knead that in Japan, it’s often beaten or stomped on to get it to cooperate. Ye olde udon actually originated in China as a beloved dumpling casing, and in some parts of Japan, it’s still cut into squares rather than pulled into noodle form.
The good news? You get all the fun with none of the labour.
One More Not-So-Secret Ingredient
Is chilli crisp an oil, or a sauce, or a condiment? Ask three people and you’ll get three answers. But they’ll agree on one thing: it’s incredibly versatile and should be added to as many foods as you can.
I prefer using Lao Gan Ma spicy chilli crisp, because it’s a beautiful balance of taste and texture for just about anything. Not too spicy, not too runny, I recommend it for a reason. And the crunchiness of the chilli peppers and garlic and soybean is hard to beat.
Fun fact: in addition to making a great noodle and dumpling topping – and adding incredible flavour to roast chicken – you can even add chilli crisp to ice cream.
And you should.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Is this dish gluten-free?
Not quite. Udon is wheat-based, so be sure to look for gluten-free udon, or in a pinch, use a rice-based noodle as an alternative. Remember, check those labels!
Is this miso udon vegan?
No, it isn’t vegan – it’s ovo-vegetarian because of the addition of the egg. For a vegan dish, you could look at using an egg substitute
I’m sensitive to spicy foods. Can I omit the chilli crisp?
This is a tough one. The Chilli crisp is really a star ingredient, but if you’d like to replace it with something a little gentler, you can. That said, remember that Lao Gan Ma chilli crisp isn’t actually too spicy thanks to the type of chilli pepper used – it’s geared toward richness of flavour rather than tongue-searing heat.
I’d recommend maybe doing a taste test and reducing quantity slightly in order to still experience the wonder.