How to make Yakisoba, or Japanese Fried Noodles.
Yakisoba are sweet, savoury fried noodles that are a staple at Japanese teppanyaki restaurants. ‘Yaki’ means fried, while ‘soba‘ refers to the noodles. Yakisoba might be one of the most popular street food in Japan, right up there with Okonomiyaki and Takoyaki.
What type of Noodle to use for Yakisoba?
Traditionally you want to use, well Japanese Soba noodles, you can also use Udon noodles. Plot twist though, you can use literally any type of noodle you have on hand… including pastas!
My minimart ran out of ready made soba noodles, so I’m using these yellow wheat noodles that are a common Asian staple. I found it even more yummy, because the slightly chewier yellow noodles grab at the sauces and flavours a lot more. Depending on the instructions on your noodle packets, you might need to cook them or run boiling water through.
How to make Yakisoba sauce?
At the core of good yakisoba is the seasoning sauce, which is a distinctive blend of tangy, sweet and savoury. Fortunately, making your own yakisoba sauce at home is extremely easy! The sauces requires are pantry staples iin the Asian – perhaps even Western – kitchen.
Oyster Sauce: This adds salt and that all-important umami.
Tomato Ketchup: This adds that delicious tang to the dish.
Honey: This is the sweetness in the sauce. You can also use mirin. If you have neither, sugar will work.
Worcestershire sauce: This gives that distinctive barbecue sauce tang and flavour for Yakisoba. Alternatively, you can use Maggi Seasoning Sauce, which tastes like a mixture of soy sauce and worcestershire sauce so it works perfectly for Yakisoba. I used Maggi seasoning sauce, since I use it a lot more than worcestershire sauce. If you have the bottled Bull-dog brand of Tonkatsu sauce, you would get an even closer flavour to what you get on the streets of Japan! If you have barbecue sauce, you can use that as well.
Depending on the sauces you use, make sure you adjust the amounts accordingly. Premix the sauces before cooking, and give it a taste test. It should already be tasty at this stage.
What Protein to use?
Typically pork belly is used in Japan, feel free to use that here. I used beef shabu shabu slices instead here. I find protein that renders some fat go great with this, but you can essentially use any type of protein you like. In fact, my favourite Yakisoba to order when I’m in Japan are Seafood Yakisoba.
Other proteins you can use include prawns, bacon and chicken thighs. If you’re vegetarian, use mushrooms and tofu!
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Yakisoba || Japanese Fried NoodlesCourse: Eats, Recipes
250 grams soba noodles
1 onion, sliced
1 clove of Garlic, minced
100 grams Shabu Shabu Beef slices
Cabbage or Lettuce
Vegetable Oil for frying
- Yakisoba Sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce or Maggi seasoning sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoons tablespoon honey or sugar
1 teaspoons white pepper
2-3 tbsps Water
Japanese Mayonnaise (I used Kewpie brand)
- Other garnishing that you can use:
Aonori or Roasted Seaweed
Benishoga or Pickled Ginger
- Prepare the Yakisoba sauce beforehand. You can taste the sauce and see if it’s to your liking. Sauce should be sweet, tangy and savoury. Add a couple tablespoons of water so it is not too thick.
- Blanch noodles, or prepare according to packet instructions.
- In a pan, heat up some oil. If you’re using hard vegetables like carrots, add that in first. Otherwise, toss in garlic and onions. Saute until fragrant.
- Add in the beef slices next. Add cabbage or lettuce leaves at this stage so it wilts and softens.
- Once beef slices are 90% cooked (it will be quick), add noodles. Pour Yakisoba sauce and toss to coat the noodles.
- When the meat is fully cooked, turn off the heat. Scramble some eggs in a bowl, and pour it over the noodles. Stirring in the eggs when the heat is turned off will result in a creamier, custardy egg, rather than fried scrambled eggs.
- Plate, and garnish with Japanese mayo and furikake, or your garnishing of choice.