Sauteed noodles with vegetables and pork seasoned with a sweet and sour sauce. Yakisoba is a classic of Japanese street food, especially in this period with the arrival of summer Matsuri.
I had never heard of this dish before coming to Japan, but after having tasted it for the first time, I understand what I have missed since now.
If the name Yakisoba doesn’t remember you anything, try to imagine an abundant steaming dish of Noodles, rich in vegetables, few pieces of pork, all covered with a sweet-and-sour sauce with a dark color and syrupy texture.
You can consider it a bit like Ramen’s nephew. Younger, sparkling and super colorful. Yakisoba is great street food, very popular, especially during the Summer Matsuri.
It is exactly with the arrival of summer that you can start to see stalls set up with large hot plates (definitely dangerous) where behind experienced cooks, make the Noodles jump in front of your eyes with enviable speed and precision.
But not only! Unlike Ramen, which requires time and patience in the preparation (I refer mainly to the soup with it’s long and complex), Yakisoba is a dish that perfectly suits our home cooking, especially in terms of cooking times and ease of the ingredients used. From north to south, it is appreciated throughout the country, but unlike what is thought, its origin is not linked to the city of street food: Osaka.
Many give his primacy to Yokote, a town in Akita Prefecture (North of Japan), others in Asakusa, Tokyo district, others in Fujinomiya (Shizuoka Prefecture). What is certain is that their appearance dates back to the period after the Second World War, and since then they have become part of the country’s gastronomy.
Yakisoba without Soba
The word Yakisoba can deceive us.
While the term “Yaki” refers to the cooking style (it means “grill”), the word “Soba” does not refer to the famous Noodles.
In Japanese, the term “Soba” is often used to indicate different types of Noodles and not necessarily only those of dark color prepared with buckwheat. The Yakisoba involve the use of Mushi Chukamen (蒸 し 中華 麺), a dough made of wheat flour and Kansuin alkaline water (ph higher than 7.0) which gives a resistant and “gummy” texture that, while steamed, it turns the pasta into a yellow color.
Yes, the yellow color of the Noodles is not due to the addition of eggs, but it is all thanks to the water used.
Noodles but not only
Noodles sprinkled with sweet and sour sauce are only part of the dish. Don’t forget that Yakisoba, born as street food, possess that right level of gluttony and lust of which this category of dishes is famous for (obviously according to Japanese tastes and styles). You taste it in so many ways!
Covered with an omelet or boiled egg all enriched with mayonnaise; fried together with seafood and sprinkled with a light nori seaweed powder, or even served as a filling for sandwiches shaped like a hot dog.
Today I decided to offer you a vegetarian version of this dish, featuring many vegetables and 厚 揚 げ ・ Atsuage (fried Tofu).
There will be no need for large plates and special skills to blow your Noodles, but just your curiosity and a desire to experience something new!
1 pack of Noodles
1 cube of tofu
red pepper (or yellow, depending on the color you want to give to your dish)
N.b -> you can use the vegetables and the quantities you prefer.
For the sauce: Yakisoba
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoon of ketchup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons of sugar
3 spoon Oyster Sauce (if you don’t find it, you can recreate the taste by mixing 3 teaspoons of soy sauce + 1 1/2 of sugar)
Add all the ingredients of the Yakisoba sauce in a bowl, and mix until they are blended.
Cut your vegetables into medium-sized pieces. In the recipe, I cut julienne the carrots, onion and pepper; the cabbage into pieces of about 2 cm; I grilled the aubergines, lightly boiled the broccoli and cut the tofu into cubes.
(To give some more flavor to the vegetables, I first cooked one clove of garlic in the oil that I then used to fry it all).
In a large pan, heat the oil and gradually add the vegetables starting from the onion. Leave the tofu and the bean sprouts for last.
Once the vegetables are cooked, add your package of Noodles. Mix well so that Noodles and vegetables blend together and finally add your sauce, stirring constantly.
Warning! The flame must not be high but medium-low or you will risk of burning the sugar contained in the sauce with bad results.
And here we are! Your Yakisobas are ready!
Season them with Nori seaweed powder, red ginger and serve while still hot! For a touch of extra flavor, you can garnish them with a fried egg!
い た だ き ま す
Ele & Yo P.s -> can also be a delicious Obento to take to work or school!