Short rib beef udon – Caroline’s Cooking
This short rib beef udon uses a variation on a classic Japanese dashi-based broth to slow braise the beef, giving an incredibly flavorful base for this beef noodle dish. Comforting and delicious. This post may contain affiliate links, where we earn from qualifying purchases. See more details in the policy page. When the weather becomes […]

This short rib beef udon uses a variation on a classic Japanese dashi-based broth to slow braise the beef, giving an incredibly flavorful base for this beef noodle dish. Comforting and delicious.

short rib beef udon overhead shot

This post may contain affiliate links, where we earn from qualifying purchases. See more details in the policy page.

When the weather becomes colder, we definitely love the excuse to indulge in some comfort food. Many involve cooking low and slow, with meals like youvetsi and braised lamb shanks current favorites. 

As we’ve been exploring the menu of some local restaurants, we were drawn to a short rib udon noodle dish at a nearby Japanese cafe. It was a delicious meal, and I was determined to try to make a version of home. 

partial view of short rib beef udon

After a bit of playing around, and drawing on both a more classic beef udon (like this from Just One Cookbook) and this udon with short rib from Culinary Frank, we were so pleased with the result.

This is typical ‘brown food’ where it doesn’t look that exciting. Dull might even be generous. But that boring color hides lots of flavor, with tender beef, slightly chewy noodles and one wonderfully flavorful broth.

udon noodles in bowl

What are udon noodles?

Udon noodles are from Japan and are used in a broad variety of dishes. They are made simply from wheat flour, water and salt and have a slightly chewy texture. Typically, udon are relatively thick though the size and shape can vary from one region to another.

The exact origins of udon are a little unclear, with a few differing stories, but most involve the idea at least coming from China many centuries ago. Nowadays, though, udon, like soba made with buckwheat, are most definitely a key part of Japanese cuisine.

You’ll find udon in dishes as broad-ranging as soups, salads and stir fry. Generally, they are served hot in winter and cold in summer. Soups are definitely one of the most popular, though, and I can understand why.

browning short ribs

Udon soup variations

Most udon soups involve a dashi-based broth flavored with soy sauce and mirin (rice wine). The exact ingredients can vary, particularly that in Eastern Japan, they tend to use a dark soy, while in Western Japan, they use a light soy.

You then add your cooked noodles to the broth and top as you prefer. Often the toppings are quickly cooked, such as tempura or fried tofu. Some even just cook in the broth, like wakame seaweed or egg. 

simmering short ribs in broth

This dish is a little different from this ‘classic’ way of making a noodle soup as you cook the short ribs in the broth base. They need a long braise to get nice and tender, and the broth works perfectly. At the same time, the short ribs give a wonderful rich flavor to the broth. 

While the ginger and garlic may not be typical in a lot of udon soups, I think they work really well here to add a little freshness. The beef adds a wonderful flavor, but risks being a little heavy which the ginger in particular counters.

skimming fat from short rib broth

Steps to make this dish

As I say, this dish is a little more involved and takes a bit longer than some other udon soups, but it is still relatively easy and mainly hands-off. 

  • First make the dashi base – you can use dashi powder, but choose a good one. It’s also easy and quick from scratch – I made it just as I did for chawanmushi
  • Meanwhile, sprinkle salt and pepper all over the short ribs.
  • Get some oil nice and hot then brown the short ribs all over. Don’t skip this step as the searing helps add a layer of flavor. 
  • Add the soy sauce, mirin, ginger and garlic. Let them cook a minute to get a little sticky.
  • Then, add the dashi and leave to simmer for two hours. This will let the short ribs become nice and tender.
  • Ideally, you then want to let the broth cool slightly. Even a short while is better than nothing. This lets all the fat rise to the top as you want to skim the fat off to save it being part of your soup. It’s OK if you don’t get all of it, but get as much as you can.
  • Remove the meat from the bones and shred it up. Add this back to the broth and remove the bones and any fat or other non-meat pieces.
  • Cook the udon separately – this is partly as, like pasta, they can make the water quite starchy. Ideally, you want fresh udon but the packets of ready-to-use or frozen are also fine. 
  • Add the cooked udon to the broth and warm through, if needed, then serve.
shredding short rib meat from bones

Can you prepare this ahead of time?

While you are best to cook the noodles fresh (and they take mere minutes), you can cook the broth ahead of time. I’d suggest you remove the meat from the bones first, both as it will be easier while still warm and to have less to do later. Then, either chill in the fridge for a day or two or freeze.

The chilling/freezing actually makes it easier to remove the fat from the broth as it will harden. Just scrape it off before you re-heat the broth.

As I said, this is a dish that might not win any prizes for prettiness, but it certainly doesn’t disappoint in flavor. This short rib beef udon is packed with flavor, comforting and just what a cold day needs.

bowl of short rib beef udon

Try these other comforting soups and stews:

  • Bo kho (Vietnamese beef stew, with the beef braised in coconut water with lemongrass and other delicious flavors)
  • Fesenjan (Persian chicken stew with walnuts and pomegranate – this dish is rich, but packed with delicious flavor)
  • Beef bourguignon (the classic French stew, with red wine, mushrooms and bacon)
  • Tortellini in brodo (a wonderful Italian dish of meat and cheese filled pasta in broth – making the pasta takes a little time but so worthwhile)
  • Plus find more Japanese recipes and winter recipes in the archives.

Short rib beef udon

This comforting dish of slow-braised beef in a delicious broth is perfect for a cold day.

Prep Time10 mins

Cook Time2 hrs 15 mins

Total Time2 hrs 25 mins

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: Japanese

Keyword: beef udon, braised short ribs, udon soup

Servings: 4 -5

Calories: 707kcal

Author: Caroline’s Cooking

Ingredients

For rest of dish

  • 2 lb beef short ribs 900g (or slightly more/less)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce 60ml
  • 1/4 cup mirin rice wine 60ml (or cooking sake)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic finely chopped
  • 14 oz udon noodles 400g, 2 portions fresh or 'ready to eat'

Instructions

To make dashi stock

  • Start by making the dashi by making cuts into the piece of kombu kelp and placing it in a small pot/pan with the water. Warm over a medium-low heat to slowly bring it to a simmer (it will take probably 10 minutes). Remove foam from top as it appears. Once it simmers, remove the kombu then add the bonito flakes. Bring back to a simmer, cook for 30 seconds then remove from the heat. Let the bonito flakes settle to the bottom then strain. (You can skip if using instant dashi/ready made but use good quality.)

To prepare beef and broth

  • While the dashi is cooking, pat dry the short ribs as needed then sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Heat the oil over a medium-high heat in a pot/pan with a lid large enough to hold the ribs in one layer relatively snuggly.

  • Brown the short ribs all over well so they get a good level of browning. Make sure you give them time to brown before turning and increase heat if needed to get a good sear.

  • Once browned all over, add the soy, mirin, ginger and garlic to the pan with the ribs. Turn the meat to coat in the mixture. Add the strained dashi stock, cover and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat if needed to keep it at a low simmer and allow to cook for around 2 hours until meat is tender and will shred easily when pulled from the bones. Turn off the heat.

  • You can either shred the meat from the bones in the pot, or more easily, take them from the pot and shred on a board/plate. Remove the bones and excess fat and sinew.

  • Let the broth cool and settle as you are shredding the meat, or ideally a bit longer to allow the fat to rise to the surface. Skim off most of the fat from the top and discard. Return the shredded beef to the broth and warm through.

To finish beef udon

  • Cook the udon noodles according to packet instructions – typically boil briefly in boiling water, drain and rinse. Add some noodles to the bottom of each bowl for serving then top with the broth, making sure you get a good balance of the beef and broth in each.

Notes

You can make the beef broth ahead of time and chill in the fridge a day or two or freeze until needed. If you do so, it will be easier to remove the fat as it will harden up, allowing you to scrape it off. When ready to use, warm the broth through to a simmer, and then proceed to cook the udon noodles as above. Take care to dispose of the fat from the broth properly – I find it best to put any liquid fat in a container, allow it to harden then scoop up with kitchen paper and put in bin. Don’t pour it down the drain as it can harden and clog. 

Nutrition

Calories: 707kcal | Carbohydrates: 81g | Protein: 49g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 2533mg | Potassium: 632mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 4mg

See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline’s Cooking Amazon store

Remember to pin for later!

This short rib beef udon uses a dashi-based broth to slow braise the beef, giving an incredibly flavorful base for this beef noodle soup. With some soy, mirin and ginger, the flavors are well balanced and with a lovely depth. It's comforting and so delicious! #udon #shortrib #beef

Sharing is caring!



Whether you regularly whip up Michelin-worthy meals at the drop of a hat or your cooking skills are best described as “fine, ” you can always benefit from the helpful little tricks of others. Here, 14 of our friends’, families’ and coworkers’ most-used cooking tips.

There’s a time and a place to whip out that complicated coq au vin recipe you’ve been dying to try. A dinner party isn’t that time. With a new recipe, you’ll likely be chained to the kitchen the whole time, plus, when you’re trying something for the first time, there’s always the possibility that it could go horribly wrong. When cooking for a group, we always err on the side of tried-and-true crowd-pleasers.

You do hours of prep work on an intricate dish, only to be totally disappointed once you taste the terminal product. Bummer. Instead of putting in all that effort only to be disappointed, taste while you cook. That way, you’ll realize sooner that the dish isn’t tasting how you’d like it to, and you can make all kinds of last-ditch exercices to save it. This doesn’t just work for bad-to-OK meals. Tasting midway through and realizing how perfect a dash of cayenne or a squirt of lemon juice would be can take a great dinner to legendary status.

Plating pasta means tossing some onto a plate and finishing it with a nice dollop of sauce right on the middle, right ? Wrong. Here’s how to take your carbs to the next level : On the stove there should be two pans, one with pasta and one with sauce. Cook the pasta to al dente and transfer it into the sauce. Then, add a little bit of pasta water ( literally just the starchy water the pasta has been cooking in ), which will help the sauce cling to the pasta while also keeping it the right consistency. Perfection.

In the pursuit of the perfect steak, you have to be OK with your kitchen getting a little smoky. That’s because, to get the mouthwatering sear we’re all after, the meat has to be dry and the pan should be pretty damn close to smoking hot. Trust us, it’s worth a few seconds of a blaring alarm.

Most foods are ruined by too much salt. Steak is different. When it comes to seasoning your meat ( before you cook it ), more is more. Use a generous amount of coarse Kosher salt—more than you think you need. Since most cuts of steak are pretty thick, even though you’re using a lot of salt, it’s still only covering the surface.

This one isn’t too complicated. Whether you’re making avocado toast, pizza, fried rice or a burger, the addition of a fried egg on top will not hurt your feelings. Trust us.

This one seems like a no-brainer, but we’ve definitely found ourselves in a situation where we assumed we knew all of the ingredients that went into chocolate chip cookies only to find out that we had about half the required amount of brown sugar. Ugh. tera avoid a mid-cooking grocery-store trip, read the recipe from front to back—carefully—before you start.

Prepping grains in mass quantities is less about taste than convenience. Rice, quinoa and even oatmeal last about a week in the fridge after being cooked. When we’re prepping any one of those, we double up our measurements and store the leftovers, which are then impossibly easy to use up throughout the week. Too tired to make dinner ? Heat up some leftover rice from the fridge and toss an egg on top ( remember ? ). Couldn’t be simpler.

So you fried up a pound of bacon for an indulgent ( read : delicious ) brunch. Great, just make sure you don’t throw out the grease in the pan. Instead, save it in the refrigerator or freezer ( it technically lasts for up to a year, but should be used sooner than that to take full advantage of its flavor ). Then, anytime you’re cooking something you typically prepare in oil, try cooking it in the bacon grease instead. You’ll never want to eat Brussels sprouts the old way again.

You’ve probably heard that whenever a dish is lacking a little something-something, the best thing to do is toss in some salt. But, we have it on good authority that salt isn’t always the answer. When you’re tasting a dish at the end and you think it needs a little oomph, often it just needs a splash of acid ( like lemon juice ) to round out the flavor.

You know the difference between a paring knife and a fillet knife, but do you know how to take care of them ? Or, more importantly, how to use them ? A set of good knives can be the difference between a stressful cooking experience and a great one. First, practice your knife skills. Look up tutorials on YouTube and practice chopping, slicing and julienne-ing. It’s amazing what you can do with your cook time when your prep time is shortened with solid knife skills. Then, once you’ve got your skills down pat, learn how to take care of your set. No one ever achieved kitchen greatness with a dull chef’s knife.

The key to tender, flavorful barbecue and roasts ? Cooking it on a low temperature for a long time. The same doesn’t go for roasting veggies. For crispy, perfectly cooked butternut squash, Brussels sprouts and more, remember the magic number : 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Any lower, and you risk pulling a pan of blah carrots out of the oven. It might seem high, but to get the nice roasted flavor, you need high heat. And while we’re on the subject, stop crowding your veggies in the pan, which will also make them soggy.

You know how just about every cookie recipe suggests that you chill your dough in the refrigerator for at least a few hours, but oftentimes you don’t listen because you just want cookies now ? ! ( Same. ) Unfortunately, this step actually does make a difference. In addition to limiting how much the dough spreads while baking, chilling your dough intensifies the flavors and produces that perfect chewy, crispy texture we know and love.

It won’t do your breath any favors, but never ( ever ) scrimp on garlic. In fact, we typically double the amount a recipe calls for. Apologies to anyone who was planning on kissing us.

SHOP NOW

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *