A Deliciously Tasty Seafood Udon Soup Recipe

As Japan is an island, its cuisine centers on the bright flavors of seafood and flavorful, strong seafood broths. Many Japanese soups are hearty enough to eat like full meals, featuring corn, edamame (young soybeans), narutomaki, fish cakes that are cousin to the North American imitation crab (or “krab”) stick, seaweed and of course, thick, chewy noodles.

This udon soup is an amazing dish, replete with a dashi broth, bright deep-fried (tempura) shrimp, and plentiful seafood like mussels, scallops, and even salmon. Most ingredients in our deliciously tasty seafood udon soup recipe can be found in a midrange to high-end grocery store these days, and those that can’t often be found there, like narutomaki, can be found in a specialty Asian grocery market.

On a chilly day in major cities in the US now, if you have the right coordinates in your GPS, you can find a ramen shop near you. This recipe takes some inspiration from seafood ramen, but includes delicious, thick and chewy soba noodles in place of the slender ramen noodles (which themselves are very unlike the fried cake ramen that most of us ate when we were in college.


  • Serves 2
  • 1 piece of konbu, roughly 8 inches long
  • 1 cup bonito shavings
  • 1 quart water
  • 3 green onions, the white parts chopped finely and the greens chopped into 1” pieces, separated from the whites
  • ¼ pound seafood of choice per diner: Mussels, scallops, or both
  • 1 cup of semidried, shelf-stable udon per diner
  • 2 prepackaged tempura shrimp per diner (prepared per instructions on the package) OR 2 fresh tempura shrimp per diner
  • 1 cup per diner of spinach OR 1/4 cup per diner wakame salad (often sold in America as “seaweed salad”)
  • ¼ cup per diner of corn
  • ¼ cup per diner of edamame
  • 1 roll narutomaki, cut into coins


  • Enameled Dutch oven
  • Bamboo steamer basket


  1. In the dutch oven, add water and konbu and bring the water to a boil. When the water has just reached a boil, take out the piece of konbu immediately. This is important: If konbu is left to steep in boiling water, it will rapidly become bitter.
  2. Pour the bonito shavings in. Do not be sparing with the bonito shavings. Reduce to a rapid simmer and continue simmering for 1-2 minutes, then kill the heat and remove the pot from the pan.
  3. Steep the bonito flakes off the heat for an additional five minutes, then strain and add additional water, pouring through the strained bonito, to bring the total amount of water in the pot back up to 1 quart. Taste for saltiness; at this point the broth should taste strongly but not overpoweringly of brine. If it’s too briny for your taste, add fresh water to dilute the saltiness of the broth.
  4. Bring the broth back up to a simmer for 5-10 minutes, add the whites of the green onions. Meanwhile, if you have mussels, sort and discard any dead mussels, otherwise prepare the scallops as you normally would. Put all live mussels into the steamer basket.
  5. Steam mussels over the dashi until they open, discard any mussels that fail to open. Place steamed mussels with seared scallops in each serving bowl.
  6. Return the broth to a boil and plunge each nest of udon into the broth until fully cooked, retrieving and placing on a paper towel to drain until all udon nests are cooked.
  7. Arrange the udon in each bowl alongside the steamed mussels and seared scallops.
  8. Pour the broth into each bowl until udon, mussels, and scallops are just covered.
  9. Add the edamame, corn, wakame salad (or spinach and wait for the spinach to wilt).
  10. Add the narutomaki and tempura shrimp to each bowl and serve with Japanese appetizers such as gyoza, soy-glazed edamame, harumaki, or miso-glazed tuna.

When You’re Done

When finished, this soup should feature a luxurious, supple broth, flavored intensely with seafood and seaweed, a full-bodied flavor with a subtle hint of brininess under the savory broth, and plentiful corn and edamame in the broth. The flavor of herb should feature strongly in the flavor profile as well, with marjoram, thyme, and optionally rosemary giving the broth their signature earthiness.

Unlike many soups, udon soup should not be frozen or refrigerated, so be sure and adjust the recipe to be proportional to diners and avoid leftovers. The noodles will absorb liquid while refrigerating and develop ice crystals if they freeze.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are udon?

Just as in Italian cuisine, there are several noodles that are regional and cuisine-specific to Japan. Udon noodles are thick, chewy wheat noodles from Japan. It is sold in fresh packs, folded over themselves, unlike ramen, which are typically much thinner and sold fried into cakes, or soba, which are made of buckwheat and the thickness of spaghetti.

Udon can be sold dried as well as fresh, but the majority of udon noodles sold in markets in the US are of the fresh variety and need to be refrigerated because of their high moisture content. Fresh udon requires very little boiling time to be done, only what’s needed to restore their suppleness.

How can I substitute for udon?

Italian pasta is not a good substitution for Japanese noodles because Italian semolina pasta has an entirely different character from Japanese soft wheat pasta. The best substitutes for Japanese udon noodles are both other Japanese noodles: Soba, a tasty and springy buckwheat noodle that also works well in soup, and ramen, the famous thin wheat noodle.

If all you have on hand is Italian noodles, we recommend bucatini, the thickest member of the spaghetti family, as it will recreate the mouthfeel and shape, if not the flavor.

What is Tempura?

Tempura is a form of Japanese deep-fried food. Tempura-fried food is dipped in a thin, paint-like batter. It is dripped from the food item briefly before dipping into panko breadcrumbs and frying. This seals it into a crispy, delicious shell.

What is katsu?

One of the most popular udon soup options is katsu udon, udon soup with a breaded pork or chicken cutlet. Katsu is popular and delicious, and usually comes with a thick, barbecue-like sauce.

What should this be served with?

For the best experience, seafood udon soup should be served with Japanese appetizers. Gyoza, very similar to Chinese steamed dumplings, are one of the most popular accompaniments to Japanese food in America. Seafood udon soup can also be served in smaller portions. Add in a main course of sushi or tempura, or as part of a bento box for lunch. The possibilities are endless.

You can also read:

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *