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Black Pepper Stir Fried Udon

This Black Pepper Stir Fried Udon is the perfect SOS dinner! Saucy udon noodles, dark soy sauce, stir fry veggies, fresh garlic, and lots of freshly ground black pepper. So easy.

So what happened was:

I fell into a bit of a takeout habit. On a whim, I added the veggie udon to our order from our sushi place (treat yourself) and a love story was born. I found myself unable to stop thinking about the thick (and I mean really, really thick) chewy udon noodles, slicked in an umami-rich sauce and speckled aggressively with freshly ground black pepper, stir-fried with a nice medley of veggies for color and, like, health, I guess? and I realized I needed to figure out how to make this at home.

Well, not MAKE them make them. This is the SOS series, as you may remember. More of like, put some pre-cooked things in a pan and “make them.”

Which actually works perfectly because I learned that a lot of grocery stores sell PRE-COOKED UDON NOODLES that are just vacuum-packed, waiting to be taken to your house and added straight to a sizzling skillet. And I also learned that the sauce used for yaki udon (stir fried udon) is actually relatively simple – just 4 main ingredients.

Our Ingredient List For This Stir Fried Udon Is Simple

Here is what we are working with for our short and friendly ingredient list:

  • udon noodles
  • a bag of stir fry vegetables
  • dark soy sauce
  • oyster sauce
  • rice vinegar
  • garlic

This is assuming you already have oil and brown sugar and black pepper. Just you wait. YUMMM.

Okay. If I’m speaking honestly, I was very skeptical of the taste and texture of pre-cooked noodles in a plastic package. I really was.

Pre-SOS-times, I may have even just said no thanks, that’s gross, I don’t want to eat noodles that are just vacuum-packed in plastic and somehow shelf-stable? But I’m happy to report what many of you probably already know which is that they are, in fact, so totally delicious.

There Are Lots Of Options When It Comes To Udon Noodles

We tried several varieties of udon noodles in our testing for this recipe. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Refrigerated (fresh) udon: we were able to find these at a mainstream grocery store, near the tofu in the refrigerated / produce section. Technically, these are soup packages so they come with a flavor package that we discarded. The noodles were totally thick and chewy. Would definitely recommend.
  • Pre-packaged shelf-stable udon*: we were able to find these at a mainstream grocery store too, near the dry packages of ramen, and also bought some on Amazon. Technically these are soup packages so they come with a flavor package that we discarded. The ones we bought on Amazon* were excellent. But the ones at the grocery store were not very good. It was the only batch we had that tasted “off”, like maybe the noodles were old and not very fresh anymore. (This would make sense given that I don’t think this is a popular item at our grocery store and probably had been hanging around for quite a while, whereas the Amazon variety probably ships out more frequently and therefore is fresher. Just my hypothesis.) The noodles were thick and chewy and I would definitely recommend if you can find them from a place where you know they are relatively fresh.
  • Dry udon*: we bought these noodles* on Amazon. They come in little stick-like bundles, like dry ramen. They were not as round and chewy as the other udon noodles – they have more of a semi-thick flat shape. But they were definitely still very yummy and really carb-licious. While the texture isn’t the same as the classic udon (or at least what I think of as classic udon), the flavor was REALLY GOOD. I felt like because they were boiled fresh right before eating, they were like little sponges to absorb more of the sauce. I found these to be very sticky, almost like pad thai noodles, so if you use these, you might want to give them a rinse before adding to the stir fry pan. Overall would definitely recommend!