These creamy noodle bowls are warm and comforting, packed with flavor, and so easy that they've quickly become one of our favorite weeknight staples.
Thick cut noodles are coated in a creamy kimchi sauce that takes less than 5 minutes to make then tossed with Asian marinated mushrooms, sautéed asparagus and red bell peppers. Top the whole thing off with a gorgeously runny fried egg, fresh scallions and sesame seeds.
This is one of those recipes that you can follow precisely, or use it as a way to transform whatever veggies happen to be in your refrigerator into a healthy, delicious meal. And, you can easily make it vegan by replacing the egg with tofu, beans, or just leaving it out entirely.
Hearty Noodle Bowls Packed with Fresh Asian Flavor
The recipe is inspired by two ingredients that I am completely in love with: Kimchi Mayo and Kalbi BBQ Sauce.
Kimchi Mayo is a creamy, tangy, spicy sauce made from vegan mayonnaise and kimchi hot sauce. It's one of those ingredients you don't ever want to be without because it makes all things better.
Kalbi sauce is a sweet and savory Korean BBQ sauce that's usually used as a marinade for things like short ribs. In this recipe, sliced mushrooms soak up the sauce and absorb all those delicious meaty flavors, giving these noodle bowls a satisfying meaty texture without requiring you to add any meat.
On that note, I'd like to point out that these are vegetarian noodle bowls that can easily become vegan noodle bowls.
All of the sauce ingredients are vegan, and you can easily replace the fried eggs with tofu, beans, fried vegan cheese, or with nothing at all.
How to make these Asian Noodle Bowls:
Step #1. Marinate the mushrooms.
Clean and slice some mushrooms, and then toss them in some Kalbi BBQ sauce and let them sit for at least an hour (and up to 8 hours) so they have some time to absorb all that savory goodness.
I've used cremini mushrooms here, but you can use whatever variety of mushrooms you like. Also, if you're planning on toping your noodles with tofu instead of fried eggs, you might want to toss that in the marinade as well.
Step #2. Sauté the veggies.
Cook all the veggies, including the marinated mushrooms, in a skillet set over high heat just until they are crisp tender.
This is an important point: you do not want to cook the veggies until they are mushy. Stir frequently so they cook more evenly and then give one a taste every minute or two. When they taste tender, but still have a bit of crunch, they're don.
Dump them all out into a bowl, toss them with rice vinegar, and let them soak while you prepare the rest of the dish. The vinegar brightens the flavor of the vegetables and gives them a very slight "pickled" taste that is SO GOOD with the creamy kimchi sauce.
As I mentioned earlier, feel free to use whatever vegetables you like in this dish. Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, summer squash, eggplant... it's all good.
#3. Make the Creamy Kimchi Sauce.
This is the easiest sauce on the planet to make. Here's what you do....
- Dump some minced garlic, fresh ginger, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, maple syrup, toasted sesame oil, and kimchi mayo to a bowl
Seriously. That's it. You're done.
#4. Cook the noodles.
I generally like to use either fresh, homemade pasta, or dried Bucatini noodles to make this dish. If you've had fresh pasta, I feel I don't need to offer an explanation about why they are so delicious in this recipe. Homemade pasta makes every kind of noodle dish better, end of story.
In these noodle bowls, if I'm making fresh pasta, I like to cut them into spaghetti strands that are quite thick.
If I'm not making homemade pasta, I usually reach for Bucatini noodles because the thick, straw-like noodles are great at sucking up all that delicious creamy kimchi sauce.
Other great noodle options are: egg noodles (lo mein), soba noodles, and udon noodles.
Essentially, you want thick-cut noodles that will absorb as much of the delicious sauce as possible.
Regardless of what noodles you use, it's super duper important to add enough salt to the water. If you want to season the noodles (and you do want to), you must add enough salt to the water so that the water tastes salty.
If you can't taste the salt in the water, there is no possible way the noodles will be able to absorb enough salt to be properly seasoned.
A general rule of thumb is to add 2 tablespoons of salt to 4 quarts of water. But, really, you should just taste the water. If the water tastes salty, like sea water, you're good to go. If it doesn't, add more salt until it does.
#5. Toss it the noodles and veggies with the creamy kimchi sauce
Cook the noodles until they are slightly underdone. Then drain them, put them back in the saucepan you were just using to cook them, and pour in the creamy kimchi sauce.
Drain the veggies and dump them in there too.
Set the pan over medium heat and cook and stir just long enough to heat everything through. Remove the pan from the heat, cover it, and set it aside while you fry up some eggs.
#5. Fry the eggs and assemble the noodle bowls.
Add some butter to a saucepan, set it over medium high heat, and fry some eggs just long enough to set the whites but keep the yolks nice and runny.
While the eggs are frying, fill bowls with noodles. Top them each with a fried egg, then sprinkle on some diced scallions and sesame seeds.
Dinner is served.
Where Can You Find Kimchi Mayo and Kalbi BBQ Sauce?
For the Vegetables:
- 8 oz (½ lb) cremini or white button mushrooms
- 1 cup (236ml) Kalbi BBQ sauce (*See note)
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp (14g) butter
- 1 lb (16oz) asparagus (Try to find thin spears; if thick, slice them in half, lengthwise)
- 1 ½ cups (8-10 oz) chopped red bell peppers
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ cup (59ml) unseasoned rice vinegar
For the Creamy Kimchi Sauce:
- 4 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp (14g) grated fresh ginger
- ¼ cup (59ml) soy sauce
- 2 tbsp (29ml) hoisin sauce
- 2 tbsp (29ml) maple syrup
- ¾ cup (180ml) Kimchi Mayo (*See note)
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil (or regular sesame oil)
For the Noodles:
- 1 lb dried noodles (*see note)
- 4 tbsp (56g) of butter
- 6 large eggs
- ½ cup (32g) diced scallions, white and light green parts only
- ¼ cup (35g) sesame seeds, black or brown
- Gently wipe the mushrooms with a damp paper towel to clean. Cut them into ¼ inch slices and dump them into to a bowl. Pour the Kalbi BBQ sauce over the mushrooms, stir to coat, and let them marinate in the sauce for at least 1 hour and up to 8.
- Drain the mushrooms, reserving 2 tablespoons of the marinade.
- Bend the asparagus spears, allowing them to break wherever they naturally want to. Discard the bottom portion of the spears and cut the top portion into pieces that are about 2-inches long.
- Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet set over high heat until the butter is melted. Add the mushrooms, asparagus, red peppers, and the 2 tablespoons of reserved marinade. Sprinkle the vegetables with a bit of salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until the asparagus and red pepper are crisp-tender.
- Transfert the vegetables to a bowl and pour in the rice vinegar. Stir the vegetables in the vinegar to coat and let stand while you prepare the rest of the dish.
- Add all the creamy kimchi sauce ingredients to a bowl. Stir and set aside.
- Fill a large saucpan with 4 quarts of water. (If using an 8-quart saucepan, fill about halfway.) Add 2 tablespoons of salt, set it over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the noodles, and cook until they are slightly underdone.
- Drain the noodles and add them back to the same pan you just used to cook them. Pour the creamy kimchi sauce over the noodles and toss them in the sauce to coat.
- Drain the vegetables and add them to the pasta. Set over medium-low heat and cook just until everything is heated through. Cover and remove from the heat.
- Add 2 tablespoons of butter to a large skillet and set it over medium high heat. When the butter is melted and the foam has begun to subside, crack three eggs into the skillet, being careful to not break the yolks. When the edges of the egg white look completely set, gently flip the eggs over and cook for about 20-30 seconds, just until the whites are set but the yolk is still runny.
- While the eggs cook, add a serving of pasta to three bowls. Top each with a fried egg, then sprinkle on some scallions and sesame seeds. Wipe out the skillet and repeat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, three eggs, and three servings of pasta.
Kalbi BBQ Sauce is a sweet and savory Korean marinade. The sauce can be found in most major supermarkets, or click the link below to order.
Kimchi Mayo is a combination of vegan mayonnaise and Kimchi hot sauce. The sauce can be found in most major supermarkets, or click the link below to order.
What kind of noodles should you use?
I used Bucatini noodles to make this dish because the thick, straw-like pasta are great at sucking up all that delicious creamy kimchi sauce. Other great options are: egg noodles (lo mein), soba noodles, and udon noodles. Essentially, you want thick-cut noodles that will absorb the sauce.
Of course, the best option is usually homemeade and noodles are no exception. If you'd prefer to make fresh pasta, here's my favorite homemade pasta recipe along with step-by-step photo instructions.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 409Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 204mgSodium: 1381mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 4gSugar: 11gProtein: 15g