The best homemade curry udon made completely from scratch with 100% plant-based ingredients. Packed with fiber, protein, and chewy noodles for a healthy & comforting Japanese classic.
If you’ve never had curry udon before, it’s basically the best of both worlds — chewy udon noodles meet a deliciously rich Japanese curry broth. It’s basically Japanese curry rice, but with a soup-like curry perfect for soaking noodles in. I’m a huge soup noodle fan, and this is hands-down my favorite way to enjoy noodles (although this spicy miso ramen is a close runner-up). And probably my favorite way to enjoy curry. (But if you’re in the mood for rice, this Japanese Curry or Jackfruit Curry are great options too).
While this may look like a lot of ingredients, don’t be intimidated! There are 11 necessary ingredients, and the rest of the add-ins (i.e. veggies and protein) are up to you:
- Olive Oil
- All Purpose Flour
- S&B Curry Powder
- Vegetable Broth: I keep a jar of veg bouillon in my fridge that I can just mix with some water when I need veg broth (cuts back on packaging too!), but you can also make your own at home and adjust salt to taste
- Tomato Sauce
- Japanese Worcestershire Sauce
- Udon Noodles: use dry udon (usually a bit thinner) or thick fresh udon (can also be found at most Asian grocery stores)
These are the basic ingredients you need to make the curry sauce, and now you can throw in any additional veggies/protein that you want! I like using carrots, celery, zucchini, mushrooms, and tofu or soy curls, but you can also add potatoes, eggplant, tofu katsu, or anything else you think would taste good 🙂
Tips & Tricks for Making Curry Udon from Scratch
- Make sure to stir the roux constantly and don’t turn the heat up too high (medium low heat is best) as roux burns very easily. This is a time-consuming step but essential to build the rich flavor of the curry.
- The roux changes color as it cooks, from white to blond to brown. Darker roux has better flavor but doesn’t have as much thickening power. For Japanese curry, cook the roux to a light brown color (typically 15-20 minutes of cook time).
- The roux will be quite runny when you take it off the heat, but it firms up as it cools.
- While I usually just add the roux into the pot and let the heat dissolve it, if you want to ensure even blending of the roux you can take some of the liquid from the pot out into a bowl and mix the roux into the liquid, then add the roux mixture back to the pot.
- This recipe makes a fairly thick curry (it thickens as it cools), so feel free to add more vegetable broth if you want a soupier curry.
- Be careful not to overcook the veggies or they will melt into the curry. As a general rule, add in veggies in order of their cooking times: for example, add onions, carrots, celery, and potatoes first, and once they’re tender add in zucchini and mushrooms. Add leafy greens like kale and spinach at the end. Tofu can be added at the end as-is, or you can pan fry tofu cubes/slices and top the curry with them.
If you like a little extra spice, you can top your curry udon with shichimi togarashi, a Japanese chili pepper blend.
For optimal results, I recommend following the recipe as written, but I understand that some of you may not have access to certain ingredients or have specific dietary restrictions. These are my suggestions if you need to substitute anything, but please report back with any other changes you try!
- Olive Oil: This can be replaced with vegetable oil, refined coconut oil, or vegan butter.
- All Purpose Flour: If gluten-free, this gluten-free all purpose flour works wonderfully. I do not recommend whole wheat flour as it will alter the flavor.
- Curry Powder: I highly recommend S&B curry powder for the most authentic flavor, but if you can’t find it then replace with your favorite curry powder.
- Vegetable Broth: You can replace with water but add salt, about 1/4 – 1/2 tsp to taste.
- Applesauce: If you don’t have pre-made applesauce, you can grate an apple into the curry, or add 1-2 tbsp of sugar, adjust to taste.
- Tomato Sauce: Replace with ketchup (will be slightly sweeter) or 1/2 the amount of tomato paste.
- Japanese Worcestershire Sauce: If you can’t find Japanese Worcestershire sauce, you can try subbing with a vegan Worcestershire sauce and adding more sugar to achieve the right sweetness.
- Udon Noodles: For gluten-free replace with rice noodles or any other noodles of choice. Soba and ramen noodles also work well in this curry.
Check out these other delicious curry dishes!
If you try out this Vegan Curry Udon, don’t forget to tag me in your photos on instagram @ellielikes.cooking and/or leave a comment down below and let me know how you liked it! It always makes my day to see you recreate my recipes 🙂 Happy cooking!
Vegan Curry Udon
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp curry powder
- ½ onion sliced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tbsp ginger minced
- 2 carrots roughly chopped
- 2 celery stalks roughly chopped
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- ½ cup applesauce
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp Japanese Worcestershire sauce
- 1 zucchini sliced 1" thick
- 4 oz mushrooms quartered
- 14 oz block of tofu cubed
- 4 servings udon noodles
- shichimi togarashi optional for garnish
- Heat oil in a pan over medium low heat. When hot, add in flour and stir constantly until it turns light brown, about 15-20 minutes.
- Once brown, add in curry powder and mix briefly, about 30 seconds. Take off from the heat and set aside the roux.
- Add garlic, ginger, onions, carrots, and celery to a large pot with oil or a splash of water. Cook until onions turn translucent.
- Add veg broth, applesauce, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, add roux, then lower heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally to dissolve the roux.
- Add zucchini and mushrooms and continue to cook until tender.
- In the meantime, prepare the udon noodles according to the package instructions. Rinse and drain, then set aside.
- Make sure the roux has completely dissolved in the soup, then add tofu and gently mix. Turn off heat.
- Divide noodles into bowls and spoon curry mixture over top. Sprinkle with shichimi togarashi for a spicier flavor. Enjoy!
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