It’s difficult to resist a deliciously warm bowl of Kitsune Udon during the cold of winter. With its juicy and plump sweet soy sauce flavored deep-fried tofu, Chewy Udon noodles and the simple but sophisticated broth, it is a must-try Japanese noodle soup.
What is Kitsune Udon?
Kitsune Udon is a hearty udon noodle soup, topped with the flavored deep-fried tofu and rich dashi soup stock. Kitsune literary means fox. So why do the Japanese call this udon recipe “Fox udon (うどん )”? Good question 🙂
There are two main theories regarding the Japanese name for this udon noodle soup: “Kitsune Udon (fox udon)”
One theory is that the favorite food of the Shinto god “messenger fox” is said to be Aburaage (deep-fried tofu). The deep-fried tofu topping is known as “Inariage” the same type of deep-fried tofu used for Inari sushi. Also in some regions of Japan, people call this udon “Inari Udon”.
Another theory is simply that the deep-fried tofu looks like a crouching fox.
Preparing “Inari Age”
The topping “Inari age” is made from “Abura age”. Abura age is deep-fried tofu. We need to remove the excess oil by pouring boiling hot water over the aburaage. When it is cool, squeeze out the excess moisture so that the sweet soy sauce seasoning penetrates well through the aburaage.
You can buy ready-made and packaged Inari age but I find that homemade is juicier. It is easy to make with a one special Japanese kitchen gadget. It is called an “Otoshibuta“. Otoshi means drop and buta/futa is a lid. Otoshibuta rests directly on food when simmering. You can make this with parchment paper if you don’t have one.
You can get Udon noodles in many different forms; fresh, frozen and dry. Many shops stock Udon noodles outside of Japan nowadays but if you can choose, I recommend the frozen udon, specially labeled as “Sanuki”. If you live somewhere where none of them are available, you can make your own Udon using my recipe. It’s fun to make!
Kitsune Udon Dashi soup
This is such a simple dish, therefore, making dashi soup for Kitsune udon is very important. Make dashi from scratch if you have the right ingredients. You need Dried Bonito Flakes (katsuobushi) and kelp (Kombu ). See how to make dashi, and you can use this dashi for many other Japanese dishes. You need 2 cups for Kitsune Udon.
Can we make Kitsune Udon completely plant-based?
Yes, you can by making dashi stock with shiitake mushrooms. I usually make dashi soup bonito flake and kelp, but why not try to make it from shiitake mushrooms? It will add a distinctive dry shiitake mushroom aroma. It is also possible to substitute the shiitake mushrooms with naruto to make dashi.
One last tip to make your delicious kitsune udon is to sprinkle on Shichimi Togarashi just before you eat the kitsune udon. Shichimi Togarashi is a chilli powder blended with seven spices such as sesame seeds, Japanese pepper, citrus peel, etc. You only need a little bit but it makes a huge difference in taste.
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- a pot
- a saucepan
- Santoku knife
- cutting board
- 2 Abraage deep fried tofu *1
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 Udon *2
- 8 cups water
- 2 cups Dashi stock *3
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp mirin
- 4 slices Naruto fish cake
- 1 tbsp chopped scallions
- pinch of Shichimi togarashi (optional)
- Place deep fried tofu on a sieve in a sink and pour boiling hot water over the deep fried tofu.
- After it cools down to the temperature that you can touch, squeeze out excess moisture with your hands.
- Cut them in half diagonally.
- Place 3/4 cup of water, soy sauce and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Bring it to boil and add prepared deep fried tofu.
- Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and set it aside. Leave deep fried tofu in the sauce.
- Start 8 cups of water in a large pot to boil over high heat.
- While the water comes to the boil, start to prepare the soup in a saucepan.
- Add dashi, soy sauce and mirin in a sauce pan and bring it to simmer. Turn the heat off and set aside.
- When the water boils, add frozen udon noodles. Cook Udon noodles for 1 minute and drain the cooking water.
- Serve the udon noodle into a noodle bowl, top with inari age (seasoned deep-fried tofu) and naruto.
- Garnish with chopped scallions to serve. Sprinkle shichimi togarashi as you like.