Kitsune Udon is Udon noodles in hot Dashi soup topped with Aburaage that has been cooked in a sweet and salty sauce. Although you don’t often see Kitsune Udon in Japanese restaurants in the US, it is one of the most popular dishes and a staple menu item at Udon restaurants in Japan.
Kitsune is “fox” in Japanese, but don’t worry, we don’t use fox meat in the dish. Some people think the dish may have been named because of a folk tale that Aburaage is a fox’s favorite food. Others think it is called Kitsune because of the brown color that is similar to a fox. In fact, we often use “Kitsune Iro” (fox color) to describe a brown color in cooking.
The origin of Kitsune Udon is not very clear, but they say that it was invented sometime in the 19th century at a restaurant in Osaka. Over the next 100 years, the popularity grew and Kitsune Udon spread to the rest of Japan. In the Kansai (western Japan) area, it is sometimes pronounced “Ketsune” with an accent showing affection for this comfort dish. Kitsune Udon is one of the soul foods for Kansai people.
Aburaage, fried thin tofu, is often cooked and seasoned strongly with soy sauce and sugar, as you may know from this dish and also in Inarizushi. The well seasoned Aburaage stands out perfectly without its taste blurring into the soup.
Except for the “Kitsune,” the rest of the dish is very simple. If you like Udon, you’ll love this interesting topping. Try it!
- 2 Aburaage, rectangles cut into 2 squares (4 squares total)
- 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
- 1 Tbsp Sake
- 1 Tbsp Mirin
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 cup Dashi
- 1/4-1/2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp Soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp Mirin
- 2 Tbsp Sake
- 2 packages of frozen Udon, thawed
- 4 green onions, thinly cut
- Shichimi Togarashi (hot pepper powder)
- In boiling water, cook Aburaage for a few seconds to cut grease and drain.
- In a pot, put the rest of the ingredients for "Kitsune," heat at medium heat, and add prepared Aburaage. Cook until all the liquid is gone. Set aside.
- Heat Dashi to a boil, and add salt, Soy Sauce, Mirin, Sake.
- Add Udon to the soup and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Divide noodles and soup into bowls, place cooked Aburaage on top, and sprinkle on the chopped green onion. Add Shichimi if you like.