Yakisoba Recipe – Japanese Fried Noodles

Yakisoba is a favorite summer food in Japan.  Essentially a conglomeration of fried noodle, vegetable, and meat it is often found at festivals (matsuri) and beach barbecues.   Students also often make this dish during ensoku since they can simply fry their food over a large pan (teppan) and open fire. [A bit of a Japanese lesson- Ever wonder what teppanyaki is?  teppan is pan, yaki is to fry or bake].

Ingredients

  • Cooked noodles – soba noodles usually come pre-cooked in packages like the package of Kumejima Soba to the right.  Soba is usually in hiragana so look for そば。You can also use aldente spaghetti or your favorite pasta, though the thickness of soba works best with this kind of cooking.  1 bag or about 3 servings of spaghetti
  • Vegetables – 1 onion (tamanegi), 1/4 cabbage (hakusai) napa or regular, 1 carrot (ninjin), 1 bell pepper (piman), 1 leek (negi) optional
  • Meat – thinly sliced beef or pork, about 200g
  • Oil – or nonstick spray
  • Seasoning – garlic, salt, pepper,
  • Sauce – Yakisoba is finished with a slightly sweet/sour brown sauce.  You can find yakisoba sauce at your local asian store or isle.  If you want to make your own, the most basic versions contain a combination of soy, mirin, brown sugar, rice vinegar, cooking sake, ginger, and more (I suggest you just buy a pre-made sauce for this one).

 Recipe

Start off with preparing your vegetables.  You want small pieces so they cook quickly at high temperature without retaining too much water.  I chose napa cabbage over the usual.  You’ll probably want to slice your cabbage a bit smaller than what I did for my video.  You should also prep your meat and noodles.  If you bought soba noodles, just open the bag.

The best way to do yakisoba is over a large teppan grill.  If you have a large electric skillet it can do as well.  I don’t have either, so I use a large fry pan.  Start off with a little vegetable oil (I used olive oil here) and turn heat to high.  You want to cook fast to keep the cabbage and other vegetables from releasing water and boiling.  This is one major reason yakisoba is popular at bbqs where the temperature can be harder to control.

Let the cabbage cook for a few minutes then add your other vegetables.  I like my carrots firm, but if you want them softer add them with the cabbage.  Add salt, pepper, and garlic.  I used fresh garlic, about 1/4 clove.  Cook until the cabbage begins to wilt.  Push the vegetables to the side and add the noodles.  Let them cook on their own for about 3-4 minutes, then stir into the vegetables.  Do the same with the meat.

Let everything cook for about 5 minutes, stirring enough to ensure nothing burns.  When the meat is completely brown, turn the heat down to medium.  Add about 1/5 bottle of yakisoba sauce (about 1/4 cup), just enough to coat the noodles.  Stir about a minute.  Remove from heat and serve.  Makes about 3 servings.