Whenever I'm trying to use up leftover foods before they expire, I always turn to a good stir fry to add as many leftover ingredients as possible. Authentic Yaki Udon is a bit more thoughtful, but you can improvise a little as long as you have a solid sauce as your base!
The below recipe is my go to for a quick, hearty, yet semi-healthy meal. I always have a frozen udon and dashi stored in my freezer, so that definitely helps speed up the process. If you don't have dashi readily available, you can try to find a a bottle of mentsuyu at your local Japanese or Asian grocery store.
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 15 min
2 servings udon (frozen or fresh)
1/2 lb pork belly (thinly sliced)
1/4 onions (diced)
~1/2 to 2/3 cup shredded carrots
~1/2 to 2/3 cup shredded cabbage
~1/2 to 2/3 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms (or other mushrooms)
1/8 tsp black pepper
~1/4 cup mentsuyu sauce (or to taste) (store-bought or homemade*)
1 tbsp olive oil (or other cooking oil)
Green onions (chopped; for garnish)
*Sauce Ingredients (if homemade preferred)
3 tbsp dashi (made from dried kelp and bonito flakes)
3 tbsp tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp sake
2 tbsp Mirin (Japanese cooking wine)
In a pot, boil water and add in udon. If fresh, cook for about 1-3 minutes until softened. If frozen, cook for about 2-4 minutes until softened (or follow instructions on packaging). Drain and set aside.
In a large pan, add oil over medium high heat. Add pork belly. Cook for a couple minutes until meat is almost cooked all the way through (occasionally moving slices around). Then add onions, carrots, cabbage, mushrooms, and black pepper. Mix all ingredients and cook until pork belly is cooked and vegetables are softened.
Turn heat down to medium low. Add udon to the pan, then mentsuya sauce (to taste). Mix all ingredients. Remove from heat and transfer to serving plate(s). Garnish with green onions, then serve.