Vegan clear broth udon noodle soup (without miso) - A perfect noodle soup with umami-rich broth, a hint of sea flavor, and chewy noodles! If this doesn't scream comfort food, I don't know what will!
I grew up eating udon noodle soup in Korea. It is a dish that's inexpensive, comforting, and delicious. For less than $5, I could get a big bowl of tasty noodles with clear dashi broth and fried tofu and/or fish cake on top. This is a vegan version of my childhood udon noodle soup!
Ingredients in Vegan Clear Broth Udon Noodle Soup
- Broth - Now this is the star of the dish.
- Noodle - I'm using traditional fresh udon noodles.
- Toppings - A traditional seasoned fried tofu is an excellent topping for the dish.
- Garnish - Shichimi togarashi and green onion are my must-have garnish for udon noodle soup.
Let's talk about each component of the dish in detail, shall we? 😉
The star of the dish, "Clear broth"
The broth is everything in most Asian noodle soup dishes. You are supposed to slurp the noodles with the broth. That's what the big spoon is for. To create the clear dashi broth, I use:
- Kombu (Dried kelp 다시마)
- Dried shiitake mushrooms
- Seasoning (Soy sauce, Yondu, and mirin)
When I figure out how to make dashi broth for vegan miso soup, it was a game-changer! It's the same broth plus the onion for the sweetness. To enhance the umami flavor without adding miso paste, I added Yondu. If you are not familiar with this ingredient, check out my Pantry Essential for Vegan Korean Cooking for more information.
- What is udon noodle? Udon noodle is a thick noodle made with wheat flour, water, and salt. It originated from Japan and it is vegan-friendly.
- What does udon noodle taste like? The noodle itself doesn't have much of a flavor. However, it is well known for its chewy springy texture. It holds its shape well in soup.
- What type of udon noodles should I use for the recipe? They are different types you can find at a store.
- Dry udon noodles - This is the most easily available option. But I compare to the fresh or frozen noodles, it is missing the satisfying chewy texture.
- Fresh udon noodles - You can find them at an Asian grocery store. Because it's fresh, it shouldn't take more than 3 minutes to cook.
- Frozen udon noodles - It remains its signature texture of udon noodles. It's cheaper and you can store them in your freezer for a long time. You can find them at your local Asian grocery store.
- Homemade - I personally never made my own udon noodles. But if you are interested, Nami from Just One Cookbook has an excellent recipe.
- Any alternatives to udon noodles? Sadly, the answer is no. I have not found a good alternative to udon noodles. If you don't have access to an Asian grocery store, I highly recommend Annie Chun's udon noodles. You can find them on Amazon.
Toppings for the udon noodle soup
You can add pretty much anything you want in the soup but these are my recommendations.
- Seasoned fried tofu (Inari Age) - It tastes like teriyaki sauce. You probably had them at a sushi restaurant.
- Tofu - If you can't find inari age, homemade teriyaki tofu is a great substitution.
- Sturdy vegetables like bok-choy, broccoli, kale, and carrot are all great choices.
Garnish for the udon noodle soup
- Shichimi togarashi - It's a Japanese spice mixture with chili, orange peel, seaweed, sesame seeds, and more. It is used to flavor the soup, grilled meat, and seafood in Japan. Shichimi togarashi itself is vegan.
- Gochugaru - If you don't have shichimi togarashi, gochugaru makes a great substitution. It is spicier than shichimi so if you want extra heat, this is a great option.
- Green onion - I love the fresh mild onion flavor. It complements the noodle soup very well. I wouldn't skip this garnish!
Helpful tips on making vegan clear broth udon noodle soup
- If you are using either fresh or frozen udon noodles, I recommend cooking them directly in the broth. This way, the noodles get to soak up the broth flavor. But please know that the noodles will continue to soak up the broth and eventually get mushy. So if you are making it to have leftover, keep the noodles and broth separately.
- Season your broth a little saltier if you are not cooking the noodles in the broth. The noodle itself doesn't have a lot of flavors so it helps to season your broth with extra salt.
Vegan Clear Broth Udon Noodle Soup (without Miso)
Vegan clear broth udon noodle soup (without miso) - A perfect noodle soup with umami-rich broth, a hint of sea flavor, and chewy noodles!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 3 servings 1x
- Category: Main course
- Method: Boil
- Cuisine: Japanese
- Diet: Vegan
- 6 cups of water
- 7 to 8 pieces of kombu (each piece is about 2 x 3 inches)
- 6 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 small onion, quartered
- 1 tablespoon Yondu (if you don't have it, use soy sauce)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- Salt to taste
- 3 servings of fresh or frozen udon noodles
- ½ cup sturdy vegetable of your choice (such as broccoli and bok choy)
- Seasoned fried tofu pouches (Inari Age) (optional, for topping)
- 1 green onion, thinly sliced (for garnish)
- Shichimi togarashi (optional, for garnish)
- Place water, kombu, dried shiitake mushroom, and onion in a pot. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes.
- Strain the soup. Season with Yondu, soy sauce, and mirin.
- If you want to cook the noodles in the broth, bring the broth to a boil and add the noodles. Cook the noodle according to its package instruction.
- If you want to cook the noodles separately from the broth, add the cook noodles to the bowl. Bring the broth to a boil and season with salt. Add the hot broth to the cooked noodles.
- Add the toppings of your choice to the noodles and garnish with green onion and shichimi togarashi (if using).
- Please refer to the cooking tip section above to see if you want to cook the noodles directly in the broth or not.
- You can read more about the Udon noodle section above for different types and purchasing information.
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