January 10, 2011

Broccoli Curry Udon

by IsaChandra

Serves 4

Active time: 30 minutes || Total time: 30 minutes

Some women have a ridiculous amount of shoes, but not me. I have a ridiculous amount of curry. I wouldn’t be caught dead using most spice blends, but I make an exception for curries. I love the nuances you get from country to country and even from region to region and using a premade blend saves you some space in your spice rack. (Unless, like me, you have to have 7 different kinds of curry powder.) That said, it’s worth it to mix up your own blend if you have the time and inclination. There is a definite thrill to be had from toasting and pulverizing your own seeds. In this recipe, however, you will receive no such thrill!

These noodles are inspired by the staple curry udon you can find in many Japanese-American restaurants. You can use whatever curry powder you have on hand, but I dig the distinctive notes of star anise, ginger, cinnamon and clove in S&B Oriental Curry Powder. They sell this kind in the racist ethnic aisle of most supermarkets, and in many Asian markets, but if you can’t find it then here’s a hack: add a pinch of cinnamon and ginger when you add the curry powder and throw a star anise into the sauce while it simmers. You’ll get a close approximation!

I make this recipe a lot, but probably never the same way twice. The basic idea is to saute the veggies and then make the sauce – then you mix everything together. Cooking the vegetables separately ensures that you cook them just right, never under or over cooked. You only have to use one pan and everything should be done within 30 minutes if you follow the directions. Hooray for modern science!

I boiled dry udon because it was all I had, but it’s great with big fat fresh udon, too. The recipe below is how I made it this week, but try some of these variations:

Shiitake & Red Bell Pepper (In honor of Amy)
Omit onions, use half the amount of broccoli
Saute 8 oz thinly sliced shiitakes for 5 minutes
Saute a thinly sliced red bell pepper for 5 minutes

Bok Choy
Use 2 lbs bok choy in place of the broccoli
Saute the bok choy stems for 5 minutes
Add the leaves and saute 3 minutes more

In addition to the veggies, saute diced extra firm tofu with a pinch of salt and pepper and add it to the noodles.

8 oz dry round udon noodles
Olive oil for sauteeing (I use a spray bottle of oil)
1 pound broccoli florettes (6 cups)
Medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
Big pinch red pepper flakes
2 cups vegetable broth mixed with 2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons curry powder (see note)
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup light coconut milk
4 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

You can also garnish with any of the following if you like:
Chopped fresh cilantro
Thinly sliced scallion or green onion
Basil chiffonade (or Thai basil if you can find it)

First boil water for the udon. Cook udon according to package directions. Once cooked, drain and rinse with cold water and set aside.

Meanwhile, preheat a large pan over medium heat. Saute broccoli in a few sprays of oil and a pinch of salt for about 7 minutes. Keep covered while cooking, lifting the lid just to stir a few times. In the meantime, prep everything else.

When broccoli is done, remove from pan and set aside. Next saute onions in a bit of oil, with a pinch of salt for about 3 minutes. You want them to retain some crunch. Remove from pan (transfer to the same bowl as broccoli to cut down on dishes). Now you’ll make the sauce in the same pan.

Saute the garlic and ginger in a little oil for about 1 minute. Mix in the red pepper flakes. Add the vegetable broth/cornstarch, the curry powder and soy sauce. Cover pan and bring to a boil. Let thicken a bit, for about 3 minutes. Mix in coconut milk and turn off the heat.

Add noodles to the pan and mix to coat. Then fold in the broccoli and onions. Divide between bowls and top with garnishes (if using) and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

  • January 10, 2011 at 8:56 pm: Tané Tachyon

    Looks great! In addition to being well-stocked with shoes I have the Penzeys 8-jar curry box — http://www.penzeys.com/scstore/giftboxes/new/indianCurries8jar.html — and use the hot curry blend in particular in a lot of things, but have never tried it in a soup like that that I normally would put miso in. I’ll have to try it.

  • January 10, 2011 at 9:21 pm: 3 Pac

    Super quick and delish! If you love Udon noodles then you have to try this.

  • January 10, 2011 at 9:42 pm: FoodFeud

    Haha! It’s never easy to find a term to describe “ethnic” food. I LOVE CURRY and this looks badazz

  • January 10, 2011 at 9:45 pm: The Therapist in the Kitchen

    I just love udon. And this includes tasty and super healthy broccoli. Thanks for the great recipe.

  • January 10, 2011 at 10:11 pm: JenniferK

    Darn. I just had udon with broccoli and Earth Balance for lunch. Which I would have made this as it looks so much better. I’ll have to try it for lunch tomorrow. Can’t wait. Thanks for the recipe.

  • January 10, 2011 at 10:22 pm: Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day

    What a beautiful picture!

  • January 11, 2011 at 2:29 am: Chris

    Another yummy dish for us to try…ily

  • January 11, 2011 at 12:38 pm: Yi @ YiReservation

    The noodles look so delicious. I am sure I’ll try it out soon.

  • January 11, 2011 at 12:44 pm: Jessica's Dinner Party

    I love how this recipe can be so versatile!

  • January 11, 2011 at 5:04 pm: Heather

    This look phenomenal–just perfect for an easy weeknight meal! :)

  • January 11, 2011 at 6:03 pm: Julia (The Veggie Side)

    This looks really good! I wonder how it would taste with Soba noodles. (they are my fave!)

  • January 11, 2011 at 11:28 pm: Laura Herrin

    got halfway through and realized no coconut milk…
    just added some more veggie broth and voila!

  • January 12, 2011 at 2:50 am: Laura in Taos

    This came out great- used whole wheat angel hair (really trying to avoid white pasta), broccoli, baby bok choy and shitakes. Yum!!

  • January 13, 2011 at 1:31 pm: April

    I made this for dinner last night and it turned out amazing! Garnished with scallions and cilantro, talk about WOW! Thanks, Isa!

  • January 13, 2011 at 11:06 pm: Laura

    love, love, love! i can’t wait to make this. saved it to my online cookbook (http://cookmarked.com). i bet my broccoli-hating, curry-loving beau will enjoy this too!

  • January 14, 2011 at 12:45 am: Kara

    Great- added carrots and put it over millet. Thanks!

  • January 14, 2011 at 1:47 pm: Zee

    Looks Delish!

  • January 15, 2011 at 4:52 pm: erinwyso


  • January 15, 2011 at 9:48 pm: Rachel Assuncao

    I just discovered your blog (looking for a vegan soy-free sloppy joe recipe) and I have to say that I am completely inspired. Everything I’ve read looks incredibly delicious and I just don’t know where to start cooking! Thank you for the work you are doing!

  • January 16, 2011 at 3:16 am: marko

    godDAMN that’s good noodles. did half broccoli half mushrooms. and added some chili garlic sauce.

  • January 16, 2011 at 7:30 pm: BlessedMama

    Sounds like a kitchen-friendly dish and one that’s tasty too! I love the suggestions in your variations. Veggies just seem to always taste so good when they’re thrown in an Asian dish.

  • January 17, 2011 at 7:38 pm: nisi

    For a twist on the ethnic/racist isle – I was at the Oriental food market near my folks’ and they have an ethnic isle too – it was full of pasta and tomato sauce.

    • January 18, 2011 at 3:19 am: IsaChandra

      Yeah it’s always a surprise what you find in the ethnic aisle! The weirdest is when there’s Goya black beans in the ethnic aisle but other black beans in the beans aisle. Uhhh….

  • January 18, 2011 at 3:09 am: Jordan

    This is awesome! I made it tonight with some extra broccoli, and soba noodles in place of the udon. It was awesome. I usually do a version of the ol’ soba noodles ‘n greens with sesame oil and garlic, but this was welcome change of pace… and I have plenty of leftovers.

  • January 20, 2011 at 2:00 am: kristin @ foodfash

    haha! love the racist aisle comment. coincidentally, i also love curry. glad to find your site!

  • January 24, 2011 at 9:15 pm: Rada

    Great recipe! Made it with bok choy and shiitake mushrooms, thak you for the creative idea!

  • January 31, 2011 at 7:56 pm: Subliminalpanda

    Can someone help me here? I made this last week, and my sauce was a little soupy–it never really got thick. What consistency should the sauce be–like a gravy? What could I do to make it more thick?

  • February 26, 2011 at 4:40 pm: Tim

    Just finished eating this dish. Yum! I used a flat spaghetti type noodle instead of Udon and as a vegetarian I can recommend Parmesan cheese. Great match.

    Use thick coconut milk and/or let it thicken longer.

  • March 2, 2011 at 2:32 am: keisha

    delicious! made this with a few modifications (based on what i could find in the supermarket). the consistency of the sauce was great and everything mixed together perfectly. i’m going to try to find a more complex curry mix though–i just used hot madras curry powder. i’ll have to go to a better grocery store and experiment with some different kinds.

  • March 3, 2011 at 8:43 pm: Slow Fashioned

    Good recipe. I just made it for lunch today! I added some red and yellow bell peppers (because they needed to be eaten) and it tasted great! I like how ‘light’ tasting this is compared to an ultra-thick Thai coconut curry.

  • March 4, 2011 at 3:17 pm: Lynn Anderson

    Sooo happy to stumble upon a chefie that loves curries as much as I do. (I’ll make you) love me, Curry!

  • April 5, 2011 at 9:37 pm: Harriette Halepis

    This was delicious! I made it for dinner tonight, and I added chopped cashews – yum!

  • April 20, 2011 at 12:30 am: Michelle

    So so good my 3 yo who’s very picky ate 2 servings of the noodles.
    Big hit

  • April 23, 2011 at 8:05 pm: olivia

    Just made it with some substitutions based on what was in the kitchen, but it was fantastic! I only used 1 1/2 cups water + vegetable bullion because almost every sauce recipe I have ever had to thicken never does. The 1 1/2 came out perfectly for me, it coated but wasn’t thick or sticky. Had to sub almond milk for the coconut (none in the kitchen) but it still had a great flavor!

  • May 6, 2011 at 6:38 am: Danny

    This was good too, thanks for the recipe !!

  • May 9, 2011 at 1:22 am: Kitten

    I suppose it’s time for me to chime in and say that this is one of my most favorite and delicious meals. I eat this regularly, and in several incarnations–using rice and lentils, with different noodles or various vegetables, in massive quantities to share, etc. I made what seemed to be way too many noodles for game night with my friends and all was well, since we gobbled it up. I’m so stoked I came across this dish. Makes great leftovers, too!

  • June 20, 2011 at 11:42 pm: MD

    This is an EXCELLENT recipe. I made it with bok choy instead of broccoli, because that’s what I had in the fridge. I also added mushrooms. The broth is absolutely delicious. Thank you for this recipe!

  • July 23, 2011 at 2:59 pm: rita

    Just made this last night – the shitake and red pepper variation . excellent! added some mae ploy red curry past to the broth. I will definitely make this again. Thanks!

  • October 10, 2011 at 11:18 pm: Sarah

    I am a new vegan and also fairly new to cooking. I decided to try this reciepe because I love asian food and it looked pretty easy. I just finished eating it and I LOVE it! It is really easy to make and tastes wonderful. I will definately be making this dish again. Thanks!

  • November 8, 2011 at 9:56 pm: Taylor

    This shall be my birthday dinner :)

  • November 9, 2011 at 1:42 am: Kathy

    OMG this was wonderful… A new hit on our menu!

  • January 26, 2012 at 2:07 pm: Kristin

    This was an absolutely delicious dish! I made it for my husband last night, and he wants me to make it again tonight, with enough for lunches tomorrow!! I’m so happy! Thank you for the food :D

  • January 29, 2012 at 11:01 pm: Aud

    can i make this with red curry paste instead?

  • May 10, 2012 at 2:53 am: Vegan in Vegas

    We just licked our bowls clean, Isa. That was a spectacular recipe. Dare I say, it had ‘buttery’ notes? Seriously, the noodles and broccoli were both cradled in that light coconut sauce, softly complimenting each other….and then, my bowl was empty and asking for more. Thank you.

  • May 28, 2012 at 5:12 pm: Amber

    Bought some stuff to make curried udon noodles for the first time for a different recipe, then went to read the comments of people saying it was bland. Did another search for curried udon noodles and came across this gem, and holy sh!t was I pleasantly surprised!! FINALLY a curry sauce with flavour that doesn’t suck! So used to making different curry sauces and having them come out “ok” but this was amazing. Thank you so much for my new staple. MMMMM!

  • June 20, 2012 at 2:45 pm: Marcus

    Really cool recipe, will try it, thanks. Cool pic btw.

  • October 20, 2012 at 2:22 am: laura

    seriously, everything i try on this site IS SO GOOD. i substituted the broccoli for bok choy and snow peas and also added some tofu. i prefaced this (while cooking it) with “this is going to suck, not everything i make is going to be good!” so the man would not be too surprised, because i really am due for a hugely gross dinner experiment. well, this wasn’t it.

    thanks, this was so good and it’s currently in my stomach. my kitchen looks like it exploded… but whatever! i’m cooking it again, it was so good. how do you come up with this magic?

  • November 15, 2012 at 7:47 pm: Jennie Amias

    This is SO GOOD! I don’t think the photo does justice to exactly how slurpalicious this dish truly is! I made it in preparation for Hurricane Sandy. We lost power and on one of the particularly cold mornings it was lovely to be able to warm up the leftovers and serve it as a perfect hot breakfast for the whole family. Thank you for your amazing and inspiring recipes!

  • December 13, 2012 at 12:38 am: Carly

    Oh my goodness this was delicious! I was craving curry udon and considering buying takeaway, but this recipe was so quick and easy and I could make it without visiting the shops (had to sub in sweet potato vermicelli)!!

    I made it a little more traditional with carrot and potato chunks because that’s what I was craving mmmmm Thanks so much!!

  • December 21, 2012 at 12:41 pm: edina jackson

    looks amazing! I am going to try this out this week! Love love love curry!

  • February 4, 2013 at 6:55 pm: Bogna

    This is spectacular! Was quite a hassle for me to find udon back in my home town, where I went for Xmas… but it was worth it!

  • February 5, 2013 at 12:35 am: Stephanie Jordan

    I love the recipe. I’ve just started cooking a little healthier. I bought fresh noodles so I think I overlooked. The tofu was pressed and sautéed so it was good. My husband hated it but I can’t help that Ill definitely make it again. Maybe with wheat noodles and no tofu.. Great recipe though and very filling.

  • February 6, 2013 at 1:40 am: rosstheboss

    made once, was great. Can’t wait to make it again

    i had to cut out the noodles because im diabetic and cant eat pasta :( also i added an extra tsp of cornstarch to the sauce, i like a thicker sauce, and only two was alittle runny

  • April 28, 2013 at 8:05 am: Grace

    Delicious with rice vermicelli, and unexpectedly creamy for something made with light coconut milk! A hybrid between this and the lemongrass noodle bowl (this using the broth from that recipe, and maybe with the shiitake and capsicum variation of this recipe, with tofu instead of the broccoli) would be really cool.

  • May 26, 2013 at 11:01 pm: Liz Moudy

    Just made this with bok choy!!

    Substitutions I had to make:
    -Had no light coconut milk so instead used So Delicious cultured coconut milk (It’s my new addiction and the only thing I had in stock!!)
    -Didn’t have any cornstarch or other thickener, so used a little less broth and added amaranth flour (again, the only thing close I had on hand..)

    I know the cultured coconut probably altered the flavor quite a bit but wow!! So so good. Will definitely be doing this again.

    Love all PPK recipes :) :)

  • May 29, 2013 at 12:29 pm: Jen

    Speaking of your thing for curry powder, I just wanted to let you know that you’re the reason I own Chinese 5 Spice and it is the secret ingredient in one of my tastiest recipes!

  • October 3, 2013 at 6:39 pm: maya

    This was delicious ! My boyfriend told me, between two slurps of noodles, that he is so lucky because he feels he eats restaurant dishes everyday… And that’s all thanks to you, Isa !

    Making the veggie burgers from Vegan With a Vengeance tonight… :)

  • November 25, 2013 at 3:56 am: Joanna

    I love nearly every recipe on this site but this was just ok for me. I will omit the soy sauce next time, it gave my curry a muddy effect. Don’t get me wrong, I ate two (ugh fine three) bowls full but I enjoyed the other curry dishes in this site better.

  • December 7, 2013 at 11:10 pm: Tiffany

    Wow this was delish. I wanted something quick and cheap to make and boy did this do the trick. I had to substitute the udon for chow mein and added tofu and it taste perfect. Can’t wait to try more recipes and buy a book. Trying to get my friends to understand veganism isn’t all mush. My sister and I literally devoured this.

  • April 6, 2014 at 9:00 pm: BB

    This recipe is BADASS Awesome!!!!

  • May 27, 2014 at 7:35 pm: Anna

    Just simple and great! I love curries and I love udon noodles! The idea with cornstarch is very interesting and Iß,looking forward to try this!

  • June 25, 2014 at 8:52 pm: Mrs Veg

    Wow. I chose this because I wanted something easy to do with broccoli and wow. It is really simple to make but so incredibly tasty and satisfying. Highly recommended.

  • September 21, 2014 at 12:29 am: social media monitoring software

    Wow that was strange. I just wrote an really long comment but
    after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr…

    well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say
    excellent blog!

  • September 29, 2014 at 3:48 am: Steve Lassoff

    This sounds amazing! We will share on Pinterest.

  • November 2, 2014 at 11:32 pm: Kris

    Delicious!! Didn’t have coconut milk, and still wonderful.

  • January 8, 2015 at 8:18 pm: Trisha Clements

    Just made this today (Jan, 2015) and it was awesome! A bit spicy but no problem for me. A little vinegar tasting, maybe add a spoonful of honey? Will have to try again soon and try that!

  • January 28, 2015 at 5:56 pm: Rita

    I don’t know why I waited so long to make this… this was so yummy and came together super fast! My boyfriend already had his dinner (hot dogs; his choice), but took a bowl anyway and proclaimed that I was the best cook ever! Awww! I’m not, I’m just very good at following directions! Great recipe, Isa! I’ll be making this on a regular basis from now on. :)

  • September 14, 2016 at 1:14 pm: Louise

    Five years on I still make this for my family at least every two weeks. Love this recipe and my 3 and 6 year old do too. It’s so great to sit down to a sophisticated, tasty, nutritious meal with hubby and the kids. The only modification is that I leave the red onion, cilantro and chill flakes off the kids meal and add onto ours at the table. Love love love thank you Isa.