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There's nothing like the chewy texture of thick udon noodles. They're the perfect vehicle for spicy sauces and are so delicious stir-fried with flavorful strips of venison and fresh veggies. Keep reading if you want to learn how to make delicious venison stir fry!
How do you stir fry venison without drying it out?
Venison, along with most wild game meat, is very lean. Without fat to protect the meat, it can dry out very easily. Make sure you cook the strips of meat for only a couple minutes per side and it will stay perfectly tender and moist. I like to add sauce soon after flipping or stirring the meat to help lock in moisture and add flavor. It also helps if you cook most of the other ingredients first before cooking the meat. The closer you cook the meat to the time you want to serve it, the better. Follow these tips and you'll have perfect stir-fried venison every time!
What are udon noodles?
Udon noodles are Japanese noodles made from wheat flour. They are often used in broth-based dishes but are also great as a base for stir fry. When you're looking for udon noodles, the best ones are in the refrigerated section. But if you don't have those available to you, try to find packaged noodles that are already hydrated. They cook up much faster than the dried noodles and have a better texture. These noodles are usually easy to find in grocery stores but you can also order them from Amazon.
What vegetables do you use for stir fry?
You can use just about any vegetable you want to make stir fry! Stir fry seems to multiply when you use too many types of vegetables. Don't get me wrong, I love my veggies. But I don't want to eat the same meal all week so I try to stick to 2-4 vegetables for stir fry. I almost always use shredded cabbage because I like how it cooks quickly and nestles in among the other ingredients. Mushrooms are a great addition for that umami flavor. Other great additions include snow peas, bell peppers, shredded carrots, broccoli, and bean sprouts.
For this particular recipe, I used shiitake mushrooms and savoy cabbage. No matter what vegetables you choose, try to use fresh whenever possible. Fresh vegetables will give your stir fry amazing flavor and much better texture than frozen or canned vegetables. Frozen and canned vegetables definitely still have their place, but not in stir fry! Tip: prepare your ingredients up to 1 day in advance and store them in glass snapware containers. Having everything prepared ahead of time makes cooking a breeze!
How do you make homemade stir fry sauce?
There are a lot of options for store-bought stir fry sauces but I like to make my own for a fresher flavor. Start with soy sauce and/or a soy sauce-based sauce like oyster sauce. Add something spicy like sambal oelek or another spicy Asian sauce (optional). Add in some rice vinegar for acidity. Fresh aromatics like garlic and ginger will help the flavor of your sauce pop! Depending on how sweet you like your stir fry sauce, you may or may not want to add in a bit of sugar. But make sure you taste it before adding too much! Don't worry about seasoning it with salt. There's plenty in the soy sauce and other ingredients. Mix it all together and it's ready to go!
Putting it all together:
If you were to ask me to share one tip on making stir fry, it would be this: cook all your ingredients separately and then mix them together before serving. If you add too many ingredients to the pan at once, they'll get steamed or boiled instead of stir fried. Also, different ingredients cook at different rates so it's important to cook them separately to avoid over or under-cooking an ingredient. Start by cooking the vegetables individually and add in a bit of sauce when they're almost done cooking. Don't add it too soon or it can burn!
Next, cook your meat. Cooking the meat closer to when you plan to serve it helps keep it moist and tender. You can also add some sauce when the meat is almost done cooking. Save the noodles for last so they don't get mushy. Noodles can vary widely in preparation instructions so always follow the package directions. Add in a little more sauce and carefully stir to coat the noodles. Add your other ingredients back in and a little more sauce. Toss everything together and let it cook for another minute or two, just enough to heat everything back up. Top with something fresh like green onions and Thai basil and enjoy!
Spicy Venison Stir Fry with Udon Noodles
- 1 lb venison top round (or other roast cut)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 packages udon noodles (7.1 oz each)
- 7 oz fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps thinly sliced
- ½ small savoy cabbage, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
- ¾ cup thinly sliced green onions
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoon Thai basil, cut into ribbons
- 2 tablespoon canola oil
- 3 tablespoon soy sauce
- 5 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoon sambal oelek
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Combine all sauce ingredients and set aside until ready to use.
- If using a top round roast, cut it in half lengthwise, then slice thinly. Slices should be approximately ⅛" thick. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside until ready to use.
- Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mushrooms will release some liquid after a couple of minutes and the liquid reabsorbs into the mushrooms as they finish cooking. No oil needed! Add 2 tablespoon green onions and 2 tablespoon sauce. Stir to combine and cook 1 more minute. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium and add 1 tablespoon oil to pan. Swirl to coat the pan and add cabbage. Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in 2 tablespoon green onions and 2 tablespoon sauce. Cook an additional 1 minute. Add cooked cabbage to mushrooms and set aside.
- Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan. Swirl to coat the pan. Add seasoned venison to pan in a single layer. Cook for 2 minutes then stir or flip the meat. Cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add in 2 tablespoon green onions and 2 tablespoon sauce. Stir to coat. Add in mushrooms, cabbage, and ½ cup basil. Stir to combine. Remove mixture from pan and set aside.
- Use skillet to cook noodles according to package directions. Once liquid has been absorbed, add in 3 tablespoon green onions and remaining sauce. Stir carefully to coat noodles. Add in meat and vegetable mixture and stir carefully to combine. Cook an additional 1-2 minutes to reheat mixture.
- Divide noodles evenly among bowls and top with remaining green onions and basil. Enjoy!
- If you like extra saucy noodles, double the sauce recipe.