When I lived in London, one of the first restaurants I ate at was Wagamama’s in Covent Garden. It was my first time trying Japanese noodles and the waiter recommended the Yaki Udon, one of their most popular dishes. From that day, Yaki Udon became my go-to dish. Whenever someone came to visit me from Canada I would take them to Wagamama’s and get them to try the Yaki Udon too.
In 2005, after four years of living in London it was time to head back to Canada. I looked online to see if there were any Wagamama locations springing up in Canada. None in Canada, one in Boston. Too far to satisfy my craving. A friend who had also developed the Wagamama love suggested we open a franchise in Canada. We contacted the head office and at that time they weren’t franchising in Canada. Boo!
Fortunately, by the time I returned to London for a visit in 2006 Wagamama had produced a cookbook which quickly made its way to my favourites.
- Wok or large frying pan
- 2 leeks finely chopped, white and green
- 2 onions finely chopped
- 1 inch fresh ginger root finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 star anise
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1/2 tsp tumeric
- 1 boneless chicken breast
- 1 tbsp sake
- 1 tbsp mirin
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 4 packages udon noodles individual size
- 2 eggs
- 4 tbsp curry oil recipe above
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 12 shrimp large
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 8 mushrooms sliced
- 1 leek finely chopped
- 1 red pepper sliced into thin sticks
- 1 1/2 cups bean sprouts rinsed
- 4 tbsp dried shallots or fried onions
- 2 tbsp spicy fish powder
- 2 tsp pickled ginger
- Put all ingredients into a small pot. Cook over low heat for 1 hour stirring occasionally, unti vegetables are completely softened and mushy. Cool then strain, pressing against the solids to squeeze out the oil. Reserve the oil and discard the solids. To use in Yaki Udon, set aside four tbsp of oil and store the remainder in the freezer in tbsp servings (baby food containers are perfect for this).
- Thinly slice the chicken breast.
- In a small bowl mix the sake, soy sauce, mirin and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Pour over the chicken and leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
- Cook the udon noodles in a large pot of boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water and put into a large bowl
- Beat the eggs, curry oil and soy sauce together and mix into noodles.
- Heat the wok over medium heat until completely hot. Add in 1 tbsp of the vegetable oil. Add the chicken and any remaining marinade and stir fry until cooked, about 3 minutes. Once fully cooked add to the bowl of noodles.
- Add the shrimp to the wok and stirfry until pink. Set aside.
- Add another 2 tbsp of oil to the wok. Add the broccoli florets and stirfy for a minute. Add the mushrooms and stirfry for another minute. Add the red pepper and leeks and stir fry for another minute. Add the beansprouts and immediately add the bowl of egg covered noodles and chicken. Stirfry quickly until the egg is cooked and the noodles are hot.
- Divide between four plates and top with three shrimp, fried onion, sprinkling of fish powder and pickled ginger.
This Yaki Udon recipe is based off the Yaki Udon recipe in “The wagamama cookbook”. It’s been eight years since I’ve been to London and had the authentic Wagamama version, but my memory tells me this one is pretty close.