Yakisoba

Yakisoba is soba noodles cooked together with meat, vegetables and a sweet and tangy sauce. It’s a tasty and hearty meal, popular with adults and children alike.  Yakisoba sauce is dark brown and gives the noodles a brown coloring.

Yakisoba is a well known dish in Japan.  The name comes from two words – Yaki” , which means “to temper” or “ to cook over high heat”, and “soba”, which are buckwheat noodles, a very common type of noodle eaten in Japan.

Although similar to Chinese Lo Mein, the sauce gives Yakisoba a unique taste.  Many restaurants in Japan have a hot plate built into the table where you can make your own!

There are many ways to prepare yakisoba.  I learned one a few years back when I went with my family on a trip to Okinawa.  We were staying at a rental house on the beach.  One night we ordered a family barbecue dinner to be delivered to the house.  To my surprise, they brought a metal tray and laid it over the charcoal grille and they also brought a huge bowl of meat, a huge bowl of raw vegetables, and a huge bowl of cooked noodles.  They also brought a container of oil and a container of sauce.  And so we cooked yakisoba over a charcoal fire.    And it was excellent.

Children in Japan love yakisoba.  The sauce is somewhat sweet and salty, so children in Japan add it to their noodles the same way that children in other countries add ketchup to their food.

Yakisoba

Yakisoba is Japanese Soba noodles with meat and vegetables fried over very high heat, on a stove or on a hot plate.  Thin slices of pork belly are normally used, but other types of meats, including seafood, can be substituted.  Cabbage, carrot and onion are the vegetables of choice but other vegetables such as bean sprouts, corn, and mushrooms can be added as well.

PREP COOKING YIELD
15 mins Serves 6
PREP
COOKING 15 mins
YIELD Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb thin sliced pork belly (225g)
  • 2/3 lb cooked soba noodles (300g)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 head of cabbage, chopped
  • 2 TBSP rice bran oil (or other cooking oil)
  • 3/8 cup of yakisoba sauce (90ml)

Instructions:

  • In a large frypan or work, sauté pork in the cooking oil over high heat until browned

  • Add the onion and continue to sauté for two minutes

  • Add the carrot and cabbage.  Fry over high heat stirring constantly for 5 minutes until vegetables are completely cooked through and the cabbage is softened.

  • Move the meat and vegetables to one side.  Add the noodles to the other side of the pan.  If necessary, add 1/2 cup of water to the noodles to re-moisten them.

  • Separate the noodles using chopsticks or a wooden spoon.

  • Once separated, add the yakisoba sauce on top of the noodles.  Grandually mix in the vegetables and continue to fry while constantly mixing for another 2 minutes until all ingredients are completely distributed and the noodles are light brown throughout.

  • Remove from heat.  Plate and serve with yakisoba sauce on the side, which can be added for individual preference.

 

Notes:

  • Do not use dry pasta for this recipe.  Most Asian groceries sell ready to cook yakisoba noodles in the refrigerated section.  These noodles are what I normally use.  When adding to the frypan, add 1/4 cup water per 1/3 lb noodles to help reconstitute them.  If you choose to use dry pasta then prepare it in accordance with the instructions on the package just before making this recipe.  The noodles will have to go into the fry pan as soon as possible after boiling to prevent sticking.
  • You can add more sauce while cooking if you prefer a stronger flavor.  Serve this dish with plenty of sauce on the side so that guests can add additional sauce to the yakisoba if they prefer.

 

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