The ExPat Returneth

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Expat Recipe: Curry Noodle

This Curry Noodle recipe was sent to me by an expat friend, Cheryl Crowder, whom I met while living in Nagoya, Japan. Curry noodle is one of her Japanese go-to meals, although I had never eaten it before making it here in the States. We often eat Curry Rice at home and noodles soups, but not this yummy concoction. The recipe uses udon noodles, a thick, white noodle made from wheat and a common soup noodle in Japan. However, Curry Noodle is not a soup. It's actually a curry. A curry for noodles instead of rice.


It is delicious. And not hard to make. Don't let the roux fool you. I often see butter and flour and think myeh, don't want to deal. I confess to being an extremely lazy cook.

Dry Udon noodles
Boiled Udon noodles
Here's the other thing. This is truly a recipe that can be adapted for the American kitchen. I decided to make this on a whim and went to my local Kroger for ingredients. At home, I had the staples to make the sauce: curry powder, soy sauce, sake, and rice wine vinegar. My Kroger did not have hakusai cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, or Japanese peppers. I used plain old green cabbage, portobello mushrooms, and a bell pepper as substitutes  If you can't find udon noodles (my Kroger did have them in the tiny Asian section), any thick noodle will work. You should be able to find curry powder in your spice section. This is not spicy, by the way.

One other note. You may find it strange that instead of chicken stock, the recipe calls for bouillon. In Japanese and Chinese recipes, I often use bouillon dissolved in hot water. In fact, in Japan you can't find canned chicken stock easily. I use powdered bouillon or a Chinese chicken stock paste you dissolve in water, much more convenient than the canned stuff.
Adding veg to the curry soup mixture


Seasoning Sauce

2/3 c soy sauce
1/3 c vinegar
2 TB sake
1 tsp chopped garlic 
1 tsp chopped ginger
2 TB minced onion
Mix together and keep in a separate bowl

5 TB butter
7 TB flour
3 TB curry powder
the equivalent of 4 chicken bouillon cubes dissolved in 5 cups of water
2 cup milk

200 grams (1/2 lb) pork cut in small pieces or sliced thinly
1 onion, chopped
3 Japanese small green peppers (or 1 US sized pepper); in bite sized pieces
4 leaves of Chinese hakusai cabbage (I used regular green cabbage, worked fine); sliced
2 green onion; sliced
4 fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced (I used portobello)
3 packs of boiled udon noodles 

1. Set your noodles to boil. Udon noodles take about 12-13 minutes.

2. Make the seasoning sauce and set aside

Cooking the roux
adding the noodles
3. Melt butter in a pot. (I used a wok, but a stew pot or deep pan would work). Add flour and saute. Be careful not to let it brown. Add curry powder. Add the milk and mix well to get out the lumps.

4. Add the bouillon soup and stir. Add veggies and meat and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer. Continue to stir because the sauce will thicken. (I waited to add my meat until the simmer because I used thinly sliced pork and wanted it to stay tender).

5. When the veggies are softened and meat is cooked through, add the boiled noodles.

6. Add seasoning sauce, stir well, and heat through before serving.

Enjoy! My family did. Thanks to Cheryl Crowder, we've got a new go-to meal!

Feel free to send me your expat recipes to share on the Expat Returneth. If it's not too difficult for me to make, I'd love to try them!


  1. Looks delicious and easy. Can't wait to try it!

  2. Thanks Jan! I hope you enjoy. My family loved this! So glad it's in my repertoire now.

  3. I LOVE curry! My mom always brought tins and tins of curry back from Malaysia. One of my fave noodle dishes is Singapore style mein, which has curry, thin rice noodles, shrimp and chilies.

    I'm going to try your recipe. Also wondering how it would taste if you substituted the butter for coconut milk. Curries are wonderful because you can add the kitchen sink and it's still great.

    1. Let me know how the coconut milk works out. I make a Singapore style noodles with curry that's yummy, too. I used chicken, having recently discovered I'm allergic to shrimp. (How did that happen anyway?)