Kitsune Udon is a Japanese noodle soup in dashi broth, topped with seasoned fried tofu, pink-swirl narutomaki fish cake, and scallions. This hearty udon soup is one of the most popular, classic Japanese noodle dishes.

A dark bowl containing Kitsune Udon Noodle Soup.

You are watching: What Is Udon Noodle Soup

If you’re looking for the ultimate Japanese comfort dish that can lift up your mood any time of year, I can’t recommend enough cooking this bowl of Kitsune Udon (Noodle Soup) (きつねうどん).

The rich broth, the chewy noodles, and the fried tofu – everything comes together so nicely that you just want to hold your face above the bowl and let the aroma envelop you. It’s so simple and quick to make, so there is no excuse not to try it!

What is Kitsune Udon?

Kitsune literary means ‘fox’ in Japanese. Why do we call the dish ‘fox udon’? There are a few theories about the origin of the name.

One theory says aburaage (deep-fried tofu pouch) often appears as a fox’s favorite food in Japanese folktales, so people started to call the udon noodle soup topped with tofu pouch as “kitsune udon.”

Another theory is that people call aburaage by “kitsune” because the color of the deep-fried tofu pouch is like the color of a fox. I think this makes the most sense since we often say in Japanese recipes “cook till fox color” to figuratively describe “cook till golden brown”.

So what is kitsune udon? It’s made of chewy thick udon noodles, clear dashi broth, and aburaage seasoned well with soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. Kitsune udon is served as a hot noodle soup, but in the steamy summer months, it is also served chilled with a few spoonfuls of dashi based sauce poured over.

Watch How to Make Kitsune Udon

Kitsune Udon is a Japanese noodle soup in dashi broth, topped with seasoned fried tofu, pink-swirl narutomaki fish cake, and scallions. This hearty udon soup is one of the most popular, classic Japanese noodle dishes.

3 Key Ingredients for Kitsune Udon

To make the perfect bowl of kitsune udon, you need high-quality ingredients, starting with these three: dashi, udon noodles, and aburaage.

1. Dashi Broth

5 different types of dashi in a jar and their ingredients.

Refer: How To Make Pizza Like Dominos | Coral's Blog – Food Blog – Cooking Guide

I can’t stress enough about having good quality dashi. The dashi broth gives the noodle soup that rich, umami flavor that will have you sipping up the last drops.

Dashi is so important, which is why I have previously shared three ways to make dashi – using dashi powder or a dashi packet and making dashi from scratch.

For this kitsune udon recipe, I only recommend making dashi using a dashi packet or making it from scratch. Making it with dashi powder doesn’t have the depth needed to make a flavorful enough broth. Please don’t get intimidated with making dashi from scratch. It really doesn’t take a lot of time compared to using dashi powder. Spend the extra 20 minutes to make a super tasty broth – trust me, it’s worth your time, and it’s easy to make!

I recommend making Awase Dashi (kombu + katsuobushi/bonito flakes) or Katsuo Dashi (just bonito flakes) for udon noodle soup broth.

For vegetarian/vegan dashi, use Kombu Dashi.

2. Udon Noodles

Udon Noodles (Frozen and Dry) | Easy Japanese Recipes at coral-beachresortsharjah.com

Udon noodles are getting very popular outside of Japan, so you can easily purchase the noodles in regular grocery stores in the U.S. However, many products are not very good. The noodles don’t have the right texture and tend to break into pieces.

If your local Japanese or Asian grocery stores carry frozen udon noodles or packaged udon noodles that say “Sanuki”, try one of those options. They are chewier and not doughy/floury, and won’t break easily.

3. Packaged vs. Homemade Aburaage

Inari Age (Seasoned Deep Fried Tofu Pocket) | Easy Japanese Recipes at coral-beachresortsharjah.com

Living outside of Japan, I know that raw ingredients can be harder to find than prepackaged foods.

Inari Age (seasoned deep-fried tofu pouch) is made of Aburaage (deep-fried tofu pouch). When you want to make homemade Inari Age, you need Aburaage, but it’s really difficult to find unless you have a well-stocked Japanese grocery store.

Refer: How To Make Orange Oil At Home | Coral's Blog – Food Blog – Cooking Guide

Inari Age (Seasoned Deep-Fried Tofu Pouch) | Easy Japanese Recipes at coral-beachresortsharjah.com

Packaged Inari Age is widely-available even in Asian grocery stores as they are used for making the popular Inari Sushi.

If you are the lucky one who can find aburaage, try making Homemade Inariage! It’s preservative-free and really delicious!

Vegetarian/Vegan-Friendly Kitsune Udon

There is a misconception that dashi is not vegetarian/vegan; however, that’s not completely true. Most well-known dashi is made with bonito flakes and kombu, but in our daily Japanese cooking, we also use Kombu Dashi, which is 100% vegetarian/vegan.

To make vegetarian/vegan kitsune udon, make kombu dashi and skip those spiral fish cakes as a garnish. And as simple as that, you have vegetarian/vegan kitsune udon!

A dark bowl containing Kitsune Udon Noodle Soup.

Did You Watch Netflix “Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories” Season 2?

You can find this Kitsune Udon dish featured on the popular Netflix® – Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories (Season 2, Episode 7).

Netflix® Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories - Season 2 Recipes | Easy Japanese Recipes at coral-beachresortsharjah.com
Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories© TBS Television

In the show, the master prepares a bowl of Kitsune Udon with a large homemade Inari Age. It’s such a humble dish, yet so comforting and satisfying.

Other Hot Udon Noodle Soup Recipes

  • Niku Udon (Beef Udon)
  • Miso Nikomi Udon
  • Nabeyaki Udon
  • Curry Udon

A dark bowl containing Kitsune Udon Noodle Soup. Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.

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Editor’s Note: The post was originally published on May 25, 2011. Pictures were updated in November 2017. The new video was added in April 2018. The post has been updated in May 2020.

Refer: How To Smoke Boneless Pork Ribs | Coral's Blog – Food Blog – Cooking Guide

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