Over the years, I have grown quite fond of gyudon. Thinly sliced fatty beef and onions cooked in a soy sauce mixture. I find it to be almost like comfort food.
Truth be told, I was not that impressed with the gyudon at Yoshinoya (I really like their sesame chicken wings though, but that will be for another post). I actually fell in love with this dish in college. The Mitsuwa Market in Costa Mesa had an awesome food court. I cannot speak for it now, since it has been almost 7 years since I have been back there, but if memory serves me right, it was amazing.
I would get 1 of 3 things at the food court. The number one thing I would get was the Katsu Curry at Miyabi-Tei. The second was the crab au gratin at Maestro, The third was the mini beef bowl at Sanuki Sandou Udon, which apparently closed down. The mini beef bowl (gyudon) was $3.00 and was delicious. Salty beef and onions with rice AND they did not put the pickled ginger on it.
After college, I moved back home and the gyudon was too far to get. Then I discovered Ajinomoto’s frozen packet of beef and onion. For instant gyudon, I think this is the best I have had. Even my dad, who only likes chinese food, really like it, I no longer needed to go to Irvine to get it. Sadly, when there were no sales this packet was $4, and though I liked it, I didn’t want to shell out that money for an instant frozen meal.
In my head, I knew this dish must be really easy to make, but I never made it. Until now. As I said in my last post, I have been trying to plan all my meals around the weekly sales. One of the sales was at Lucky and they had a buy 5 for $25 on their meat selection. One of the meats I chose was a slab of flank that I divided into 4 portions.
This week, as I was clearing out the freezer, I saw that I had not yet cooked one of my splurge buys – Shirakiku Sanukiya Udon. As I was contemplating what I wanted to do with these noodles, I spotted the last flank and then decided that I would make gyudon, but with udon instead of rice. gyuUDON.
I went searching for some recipes and I was in between the one from No Recipes and the one from RasaMalaysia. I went with No Recipes gyudon because he had less steps. I did tweak the seasoning a bit to fit my taste buds.
1/2 tsp. oil
1/2 onion, sliced (thin is best)
~1/2 lb. beef flank, sliced thinly across the grain (easier to slice when it is slightly frozen)
2 Tbs mirin
2 Tbs sake
1 Tbs + 1 tsp soy sauce
pinch of salt (to taste)
sprinkle of Ajinomoto’s Hon Dashi powder (to taste)
2 packs of Shirakiku Sanukiya Udon (or any brand of noodle you prefer)
sliced green onions for garnish (optional)
I basically followed the steps laid out in the No Recipes Gyudon instructions, but changed is as follows:
(1) In a small bowl, combine the mirin, sake, and soy sauce.
(2) Boil water in a pot and cook 2 packs of Udon – drain and separate into 2 or 3 bowls (depending on how much you eat)
(3) Heat oil in the pan. When hot, add in sliced onions and cook over medium-high heat until soft and brown, but not caramelized (I did not cook it to this point, but I think it would have been better if I did)
(4) Add the beef to the pan and brown. Reduce heat to medium low heat.
(5) Add the sauce mixture and simmer until most of the liquid is gone. Add dashi and salt to taste.
(6) Serve equal portions of the beef, onions, and sauce over the udon noodles and top with sliced green onions and a sprinkle of shichimi pepper.
I liked how it came out and the BF really enjoyed it. Next time I make it, I am cooking the onions longer and getting the thin, fatty shabu shabu beef. I hope if anyone else tries this recipe, they will like it as well.