Beef curry udon

I {heart} Japan.

Honestly, it’s pretty much my favourite place on Earth.

During our first trip there, in 2011, we read in our guidebook that the place to go for delicious curry udon (beef curry soup and udon noodles) was Hinode Udon in Kyoto. So, on a swelteringly hot September day, the hottest of our trip, after wandering around Nanzen-ji Temple and along the Philosopher’s Path, we made our way there for possibly the most wintry meal on offer in the area. Slaves to the guidebook we were, but with good reason. We were absolutely not disappointed. Being equipped with our coveralls (eating udon is a messy business) we were served with steaming hot bowls of melting beef, thick noodles, and oh-so-tasty curry soup. It was amazing. Thankfully the restaurant was air conditioned, otherwise there would have been some serious overheating going on!

In fact, Hinode Udon was so good, that on a rainy June day last year, the kids and I pitched up there again, not by accident. The weather was more suitable and the noodles just as welcome and just as delicious. And the kids really, really enjoyed the fact that I, too, had to wear a bib.

This recipe is my attempt to recreate beef curry udon at home, with added vegetables (because, you know, man cannot live on rice and meat alone, though the tourist-in-Japan’s diet would suggest otherwise). It isn’t as good as the real deal, but it will have to do until we can get back to Kyoto…

Beef curry udon

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • Groundnut oil or another unflavoured oil
  • 1 onion, sliced thickly
  • 300g beef steak, sliced into strips (sirloin is good, or use a cheaper cut and cook for longer)
  • 2 tbsp medium curry powder
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 400ml water
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 300g mixed stir-fry vegetables
  • 300g udon noodles


  1. Fry the onion and beef in a little oil until browned.
  2. Add the curry powder, cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add the coconut milk, water, honey and soy sauce. Bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes if using sirloin steak. (If using stewing steak, at this point cook for 1-1.5 hours until the steak is tender.)
  4. Add the stir-fry vegetables and the noodles. Bring back to the boil. Serve. Bibs optional but recommended.