Play Me a Recipe

Stir-Fried Udon With Bacon, Parmesan & Gochujang

July 12, 2021
5 Stars
Photo by Ty Mecham. Food stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop stylist: Amanda Widis.
Author Notes

No one can resist a chubby udon noodle, and this recipe is no different. I've already shared my love for frozen udon bricks, which I always have at the ready in the freezer. You're never far from a quick meal when these pre-cooked noodles are around, as they need less than a minute in a hot water bath before being resuscitated to chewy goodness.

This recipe for spicy udon noodles is how I like to off-road family-favorite carbonara (which I acknowledge this dish certainly is not!) when I'm in the mood for something with a kick. The dish takes inspiration from the Korean pantry, Japanese-style wafu pasta, and the saucy technique from beloved Roman carbonara. As with all stir-fry recipes, the key to success here is to have all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go as it all comes together very quickly.

First, bacon chunks, chopped scallions, and garlic get sautéed before meeting gochujang and udon noodles. Gochujang is in a class of its own in terms of flavor. While it lends spice and heat, there's also an inherent smokiness, slight sweetness, and umami that is highly addictive. Outside of Korean cuisine, I like to experiment with gochujang in recipes that might call for tomato paste to help give a nuanced layer of heat in the background. By all means, add a bit more in this recipe if you prefer it more spicy.

The whole thing gets even better after being combined with eggs and Parmesan, helping to mute some of the heat and give the noodles a silky richness. The heat from the noodles will be just enough to emulsify the cheese and egg yolk mixture, creating a beautiful, thick sauce that you can loosen a bit with the addition of the udon cooking water.

These chubby, silky noodles are just the ticket for zapping you out of your weeknight dinner doldrums.


Looking for more customizable noodle recipes for an easy weeknight meal? Check out this episode of Play Me a Recipe, where Peter J. Kim makes instant ramen carbonara.

Helpful tools for this recipe:
- Five Two Essential Knives
- Food52 x Rosti Mixing Bowl
- Ekobo Bamboo Colander

Hana Asbrink

Watch This Recipe
Stir-Fried Udon With Bacon, Parmesan & Gochujang
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Serves 2
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 2 slices of thick-cut bacon, sliced into 1/4-inch strips or lardons
  • 3 to 4 scallions, thinly sliced (reserve 1 tablespoon scallion greens for garnish)
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
  • 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang
  • 2 blocks frozen udon noodles
  • 1/2 cup reserved udon cooking water (you will not be using this all)
  • 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 pinch kosher salt (optional) and coarsely ground black pepper (not optional), plus more to taste
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Bring a medium pot filled with water to boil for the udon.
  2. In a skillet, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add the bacon, scallions, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Let the bacon fat render slowly and saute all until golden brown, about 5 to 6 minutes. Monitor the heat and lower it if it browns too quickly.
  3. In the meantime, in a medium or large mixing bowl, add the egg yolks. Add the cheese, pinch of salt and coarsely ground pepper (at least 8 to 10 turns). It will look like a paste at this point, but the udon cooking water will loosen it up shortly. Set aside.
  4. Lower the skillet’s heat to low. Add the soy sauce and gochujang and "fry" in the bacon's oil. Coat the bacon mixture with the gochujang.
  5. Cook udon noodles according to package instructions (usually 45 to 60 seconds). They are already cooked, so you are just warming them through and gently releasing them from their caked state with tongs or chopsticks. It’s important not to overcook them. Reserve about ½ cup of udon cooking water. Drain in a colander and add the udon noodles to the pan (alternately, you can also use a spider strainer to lift up and drain the udon noodles from the pot and into the skillet—it’s okay to have a bit of the residual water clinging on). Toss until well-combined and udon noodles are coated in the gochujang-bacon sauce. Turn off the heat.
  6. To the mixing bowl with the egg-cheese mixture, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the reserved udon cooking water and mix to form a slightly looser paste. Add the udon noodles and toss until well- combined (you can also add the egg-cheese mixture to the pan that’s off the heat, being careful not to curdle or scramble the eggs). Drizzle in a bit of sesame oil. Season with salt (optional) and pepper (not optional), to your taste. Give it another toss before plating. Top with reserved scallion greens and more coarsely ground pepper, if you’d like. Serve immediately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • kikimm
    kikimm
  • courttan
    courttan
  • Alexis deBoschnek
    Alexis deBoschnek
  • Mel Mark
    Mel Mark
  • Amy Hastings
    Amy Hastings
Hana is a food writer/editor based in New York.

40 Reviews

caroline February 4, 2022
this is beyond fabulous. So quick and easy and so very flavoursome. You have inspired me to go on and make several variations- adding salted blackbeans,or hoisin, substituting dried shrimp for the bacon,different types of pasta and noodles- all wonderful. Thank you very much for sharing your delicious recipes
 
kikimm January 16, 2022
Shockingly good. Humble ingredients that punch above their weight. Already want to make this again. Thanks!
 
Darian January 13, 2022
The whole family LOVED this dish. I doubled for 4 servings and it turned out perfectly. I will definitely be adding to our regular rotation.
 
Shree December 30, 2021
This was insanely good. Instead of using the neutral oil the recipe calls for, I went rogue and melted a dollop of mascarpone before adding the bacon, garlic, and scallions. Highly recommend periodically adding that into your rotation of this recipe to add even more unctuousness to the sauce.
 
Luv2Cook December 27, 2021
Where would I find udon noodles?
 
Marian December 27, 2021
Most grocery stores have udon noodles in the Asian section. I have not found the frozen blocks of udon, but I have used "Kame" brand, which are already cooked, vacuum-packed and just need to be lightly heated before using.
 
courttan December 28, 2021
You could also try a few asian grocer websites: https://umamicart.com/
 
Luv2Cook December 28, 2021
Thank you for the suggestion. Unfortunately the website does not deliver in Colorado.
 
Luv2Cook December 28, 2021
Thank you.
 
Brad September 17, 2021
I love this recipe. Is there any way of using large shrimp for Tiger prawns with the bacon mixture. What do you think
 
courttan June 20, 2021
Is it possible to make this recipe too much? So, so good!
 
CherylB June 7, 2021
Yum! This dish is so easy and satisfying. A great fusion of italian and korean. I used 10oz. dry udon as I can't find frozen in my local grocery store.
 
jeliao March 29, 2021
Hana's recipes always hit the spot. This udon is so incredibly delicious, I think I'll make it every week since it was simple to put together. It's creamy and decadent—everything you could possibly want in a noodle dish. If you haven't tried her sushi bake yet, I highly recommend it as well!
 
Yoree March 16, 2021
Delicious and dangerously addictive! We can't eat this often enough. Thanks Hana!
 
Alexis D. March 10, 2021
I've been dreaming about this dish since I made it the first time. I think I'd be happy eating this for the rest of my life. 10/10
 
Kayoko21 March 3, 2021
I can’t get enough of this dish. I’ve made this recipe 4x since seeing this post. So delicious!
 
Mel M. February 24, 2021
Is there anything I can sub for the bacon? I don’t eat pork but love the sound of this dish!!
 
Author Comment
Hana A. February 25, 2021
Hi Mel - Thanks so much for your interest! I've had some vegetarian/vegan friends have good luck with shiitakes (I think both dried and fresh could work), as well as as smoked tempeh. Also vegan cheese, if that's up your alley. Good luck and enjoy! :)
 
Mel M. February 25, 2021
Awesome thanks for responding!! I will definitely try with shiitakes or maybe some other kind of meat! So so excited to try this!
 
StreetSong January 9, 2022
I'm going to try to veganize this for our household. Challenging, but it looks too good to not give it a try!
 
Alexandraslp8 February 20, 2021
This was absolutely delicious and so easy to throw together for a quick dinner. Love the silkiness of the sauce and the beautiful combination of flavors. What a great marriage of cuisines! Thanks for this recipe— I always have frozen udon noodles on hand and this will be my new favorite way to use them!
 
savkthom February 19, 2021
I made this twice this past week, it was that good. Definitely an occasion to break out the good parmesan and go heavy on the freshly ground pepper. I did not have the frozen udon bricks, but cooking the noodles from dried turned out just as well.
 
austindoughs February 11, 2021
I looove this dish! A beautiful collaboration of gochujang, green onion, egg, and parm. The udon noodles hold the sauce beautifully. My roommates all needed to know this recipe so that they could make it themselves...I hope to fold this into my regularly made dishes
 
Ladbroke February 4, 2021
This was delicious! I was a little worried as could only find vacuum packed udon noodles near me (I’m in London and we’re all currently locked down so it’s all about the neighbourhood) but they worked fine, This dish went down a treat on a rainy cold and grey Thursday lunchtime. Thanks for this and look forward to trying more!
 
Amy H. January 30, 2021
This recipe is going to be part of our regular rotation. Creamy, spicy, and perfect for these cold winter nights!
 
Marian January 29, 2021
This recipe was delicious, and easy to make. Perfect for a cold winter evening's dinner!
 
Inky January 27, 2021
Made this tonight and so good! Such a great weeknight meal as this recipe uses ingredients I always have on hand and super easy to make! The udon is delicious up to mixing it with the gochujang sauce but it definitely kicks it up a notch with the carbonara-ish mixture. Genius combination! Don't skimp on the pepper!