You know that game we used to play when we were younger, name 3 things you would take to an island with you? I’d probably pick noodles. Noodles are the ULTIMATE comfort food. While it does take me hours to usually pick what I want to order for takeout (cue Notebook meme when Noah asks Allie what she really wants), a surefire way to my heart is noodles. While I crave Maggi 99.9% percent of the time, I sometimes also crave the perfectly chewy udon noodles I have fond memories of slurping down with some matcha in Kyoto, Japan.
This recipe most definitely came to me in a dream and I am glad that it was one of those that I happened to actually recall the next morning.
Individually, both the udon noodles and shrimp are cooked in just a few minutes and everything comes together super quickly! Once your shrimp (or veggies – more on this in the notes section below) are cooked, the magic really happens once you add in the lime juice, green onions, and ghee to top the udon noodles. I like to call it magic, but it is likely science- and to be more exact, emulsification.
Here’s what you need to know. At this point, the extra oomph that the lime juice, green onions, and ghee bring to the dish really tie it all together and give you the silky, glossy noodles of my dreams (and hopefully soon to be yours).
2 7 oz packets pre-cooked fresh udon noodles
1/2 pound of frozen or fresh large shrimp, peeled and deveined- (roughly 10-12 shrimps)
2 tablespoons of sesame oil and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil (reserved for udon once parboiled)
1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds
2 shallots, thinly sliced (roughly 1/2 cup tightly packed)
2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste (or one teaspoon of finely minced garlic and ginger each)
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 sprigs of curry leaves, stems removed
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon of cumin powder
1/2-1 teaspoon of red chili powder or cayenne
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
1 tablespoon of lime juice (juice from roughly 1/2 of a lime)
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of ghee or 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter
First, place the udon noodle cakes into a pot of boiling water. Gently separate the noodles and as soon as they come apart, transfer the noodles to a separate bowl and toss them with 1 teaspoon of sesame oil so that they don’t stick together while you finish the rest of the dish!
Then, heat your pan on medium-high heat and put your remaining 2 tablespoons of sesame oil in a large sauté pan. Once hot, add your fennel seeds and curry leaves for 30-45 seconds until they sizzle!
Add in your thinly sliced shallots and salt, then fry the shallots in the sesame oil for 8-10 minutes. Make sure the onions are no longer translucent and are deep brown in color. Avoid burning by constantly mixing them for 8-10 minutes. At this point, feel free to slightly lower the heat if you need to make sure your onions don’t burn.
Add in your ginger garlic paste and sauté for 1- 1 1/2 minutes until there is no longer a distinct garlic or ginger smell coming off of the pan.
Add in your tomato paste and your remaining spices (cumin, chili powder, pepper, and turmeric) and fry for 5-8 minutes until the oil begins to separate in the pan and the tomato paste darkens in color in the pan and is caramelized.
Lower your heat on your pan to medium heat and add in your fresh or defrosted frozen shrimp. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, or until the prawns are fully cooked and no longer pink.
At this point, turn off the heat but keep your pan on the stove. Add in your udon noodles, lime juice, ghee, and green onions into the pan. Quickly toss to coat until it’s perfectly glossy and then remove the pan off of the stove. Serve immediately!
~ Feeds 2
You can find delicious fresh udon noodles in the refrigerator of your favorite Asian grocery store! My personal favorite is H-mart! I would recommend using the one found in the refrigerator section as opposed to those in the dried noodles section.
If you are in a pinch and can’t seem to find udon noodles, I recommend using whole wheat bucatini or linguini pasta!
This dish is equally as delicious with veggies! I usually make this with broccoli florets and thinly sliced carrots since they only take 4-5 minutes to sauté in the pan during step 6.