This recipe is so easy to make, and you will never want to buy vegan sauces from the store again. If you haven't made cashew sauce before, then you have to try out this recipe.
Let's talk about the main ingredients for our recipe.
Udon is a type of thick noodle made from wheat flour, and it can be found primarily in Japanese and Korean dishes. There are many ways to eat udon. You can eat them hot, cold, in broth, or with sauce.There's even a Vietnamese variation made from tapioca starch called bánh canh which is eaten as a noodle soup
Kimchi is a staple in Korean cuisine. It's often served as banchan (side dish) along with a main course. There are many variations of kimchi, but the one you'll most often see is kimchi made from napa cabbage. The process of fermentation brings out a complex flavor profile that is perfect for cutting through a creamy sauce. I used store-bought vegan kimchi from H-Mart. Make sure to look for a label that says "vegan" or "vegetarian" because a lot of times it will contain fish sauce or fermented shrimp. If you want to make your own vegan kimchi at home, Maangchi has a great recipe on her site.
The cashews in this recipe create the base for our creamy sauce. No expensive vegan cheeses here (but you are certainly welcome to add them in. We will be getting the cheesy flavor from nutritional yeast and white miso paste.
It's a quick recipe to put together, so let's dive right in.
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15-Minute Creamy Kimchi Udon
Cashew Sauce Ingredients
1 cup raw unsalted cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
1/2 tbsp white miso paste
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1 cup water + extra
Kimchi Udon Ingredients
4 bundles udon (1000g), soaked in hot water for 4-5 minutes if frozen
2 tbsp vegan butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups vegan kimchi
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tbsp sugar
Other veggies or proteins (mushrooms, vegan sausage)
Toppings & Finishes
ground black pepper
red pepper flakes
additional nutritional yeast
Combine all cashew sauce ingredients in blender, and blend on high speed until mixture is completely smooth. Add additional water as needed (1/4 cup at a time) to get desired consistency. Sauce should be smooth and easy to pour (but not too watery).
In medium-sized pan, add vegan butter and turn stove onto medium high heat. Melt butter.
Once butter is melted and pan is hot, add minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes or until it's aromatic.
Add kimchi and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until kimchi is softened. Add sugar and sesame oil to the kimchi.
Add any additional veggies proteins you'd like.
Pour in cashew sauce and stir well to combine with kimchi. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until sauce slightly bubbles. Make sure to stir occasionally so sauce doesn't burn.
Add udon to pan and combine with sauce. Turn heat down to medium low and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until udon is completely heated and incorporated.
Turn off heat and add any toppings that you'd like.
If cashew sauce is grainy, keep blending. It needs more time to break up. If it's still too grainy or dry, add more water.
I added no additional salt because the miso and kimchi are salty enough.
Also, if you haven't already, I highly recommend investing in a Vitamix blender. You can make this recipe (and so many others) in a shorter amount of time. If you're looking for a more budget-friendly blender, I recommend one from Ninja.