Pork and Cabbage Udon Noodles with Black Sesame Seeds – Savor the nuttiness of sesame and the zing of fresh ginger with a bowl of this Asian-style comfort food that doubles down on flavor!
Up until about 3 years ago I didn’t have much experience with udon noodles. I know, I’m a food blogger! I should have been on top of this… Nevertheless, I was udon-less.
My husband and I were driving our family on a four-and-a-half hour journey with a fussy baby and an energetic 5-year-old in the back seat. We were headed towards the country where we’d be spending a number of days with my in-laws. Inevitably, that would mean being stuffed with all things Pennsylvania Dutch (e.g., potatoes, corn, ground beef, and whoopie pies). Don’t get me wrong, there are some fantastic PA Dutch dishes out there. On the whole, however, it can be a bit… bland.
In Hershey, the last metropolis between Philadelphia and our final destination, we stopped for lunch at Noodles & Company. Whoopie pies aside, this place turned out to be my oasis of flavor!
Normally I’d skip the chain restaurant and go to a local joint, but we were in unfamiliar territory here. I ordered their udon noodles and they were AMAZING. It was like my last meal before embarking on a culinary journey where salt, pepper, and ketchup would be my only flavor options.
Since then I decided that udon noodles needed to be a part of my diet more than once a year. That’s why I started making this recipe for Pork and Cabbage Udon Noodles with Black Sesame Seeds.
What I love about udon dishes is that the noodles are chewy and they hold onto the flavor of whatever they’re cooked in. This recipe is sweet and savory, has the nuttiness of sesame, and the zing of ginger. Udon noodles are my Asian version of comfort food!
Pork and Cabbage Udon Noodles with Black Sesame Seeds
Savor the nuttiness of sesame and the zing of fresh ginger with this Asian-style comfort food that doubles down on flavor!
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 5 C (9-10 ounces) cabbage, sliced
- 6 scallions, sliced with the white and parts separated
- 2 tsp (about 3 cloves) garlic, minced
- 21 oz instant udon noodle*
- 1 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 Tbsp fresh minced ginger
- 1/3 C mirin (cooking rice wine)
- 1/3 C soy sauce
- 1/4 C packed light brown sugar
- 2 tsp sesame seeds
- 2 tsp black sesame seeds
- sriracha to taste
- In a large skillet heat 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the cabbage to the pan and cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the white parts of the scallions and cook for 4-5 minutes until they become tender. Place the cooked cabbage in a medium-sized bowl, cover, and set aside.
- While the cabbage is cooking whisk together the mirin, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic. Set aside.
- Next, in the same skillet you cooked the cabbage in, return the heat to medium-high. Spread the pork out over the bottom of the pan and cook undisturbed for 3-4 minutes, so as to brown the meat. Next break the pork into bite-sized pieces with a spoon and add the minced garlic to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, for 1-2 more minutes, until the pork is cooked through.
- Add the udon noodles and the cabbage back into the pan. Pour in the soy sauce mixture and cook for 2-4 minutes while stirring frequently.
- Remove from the heat and gently stir in the black sesame seeds. Garnish with the scallion greens. Serve immediately.
*If you can’t find plain instant udon noodles, just purchase the ones that come with a seasoning packet (which you can discard).
The whole family loved it! I will definitely make it again. It was a bit too sweet for us, so I might try 4 tbs brown sugar instead of a full 1/4 cup.