Yakisoba is a classic Japanese Stir-Fried noodle dish and family favorite. This very popular Japanese meal is easy to make at home with just a few ingredients. Thinly sliced pork tossed together with cabbage, carrots and a sweet savory sauce becomes Yakisoba
This week’s recipe is a cool collaboration between Ken and I where we prepare one of his favorite meals of all time – Yakisoba.
Using simple ingredients in combination with precooked packaged noodles we created amazing results.
I assure you you will not be disappointed with Ken’s version of this classic Japanese comfort food.
Three perfect ways to describe Yakisoba
The first time you attempt this dish, like most new recipes, it may not go perfectly. When you are not familiar with working with noodles it can be tricky, at least, that is what I am always telling myself. Cooking with dry pasta noodles is very different than working with Asian noodles, in my opinion. The directions on packages of Asian noodles are not always as accurate as pasta.
Don’t let that stop you. This is not an expensive dish. Oh, I should add that to my list of perfect ways to describe Yakisoba!
Ken has honed his technique well so I can assure you without doubt that it will not be long before you master this dish too.
Ken says .. Are you ready?
Like many husbands, Ken has always been in charge of the grill out back but never spent much time in the kitchen except to eat, of course. If fire was not involved then he was not all that interested in meal prep until very recently. I don’t recall what the actual ‘spark’ was but suddenly he was watching Japanese chefs on YouTube and asking me to add all sorts of things to the grocery list.
It has been a pleasure to sit back and watch him slice, dice and worry about how things will turn out. And he even cleans up! In all honesty, his forays in the kitchen have been successful. We have not been forced to call for takeout or throw anything in the garbage bin. Obviously those Japanese chefs know what they are doing!
On the other hand, if the old saying is true and “a dish is only as good as its ingredients”, and I am the one buying those ingredients than maybe it is due to my collaborative efforts that he has found such success. Maybe.
I do not know which is more commonly eaten by Asian people, rice or noodles. My guess is rice but Ken loves noodles. It has taken me awhile to get comfortable with noodles. I don’t love them so that is probably why it has taken me so long. I am growing more fond of them so I practice more often.
For this dish we used a package, so as you would suspect there are directions for preparation. Ken has improved upon those directions and enhanced the flavor of the sauce and I know you will appreciate the amazing results of his efforts.
To make Ken’s Yakisoba you will need to buy the fresh noodles not the dry pack, cabbage, carrots and thinly sliced meat. Thin sliced pork is the protein most commonly used in Japan and that is what we usually use but chicken would work too. Vegetarians should use pressed tofu, seasoned or not. Typically Yakisoba is made with cabbage and carrots but you can add onion or green pepper and remove carrots if you like, but shredded cabbage is a must.
The meat and veggies are cooked and then combined with the noodles. Ken browns the noodles in a hot pan then adds the cooked meat and veggies then sauce to the pan. Browning the noodles gives the noodles more texture and the entire dish a more complex and satisfying flavor.
We added water, Worcestershire and sugar to the seasoning packets to be poured over the noodles and the sweet savory sauce came to life. Ken was not entirely satisfied with this version so he added a couple more ingredients to add even more flavor. If you like a more robust sauce add the optional crushed garlic and miso.
There is also the option of buying bottled Yakisoba sauce, which is good and commonly used, but we like to make things from scratch and we usually have all the ingredients stocked.
There are a lot of great things to like about our version of Yakisoba; however, if you are watching your sodium intake this may not be the ONE for you. We used prepackaged ingredients and as a result there is a tremendous amount of sodium ( 71% DV), so if that is a problem for you then you will have to wait for the next collaboration.
When shopping at the Asian grocery store you will see that there are a few brands that offer packaged Yakisoba. They usually include 3 packs of noodles and 3 powdered seasoning sauce packets. We typically stick to Japanese brands and I strongly recommend using the Shirakiku brand when you can find it. It is well known and consistent across the board no matter what product you buy.
Maruchan is also a well know brand and sells packaged yakisoba which looks almost exactly like the one pictured above. Maruchan is a good substitute and very widely sold in the U.S. the noodles in this pack are thinner so less satisfying and more fragile when cooking so can be frustrating to stir fry.
Now that we have outlined the process are you ready?
Go ahead and get started and be sure to let us know what you think of Ken’s version of the classic Japanese comfort food -Yakisoba.
Yakisoba - Japanese Stir-Fried Noodles
- August 20, 2023
- 30 min
- Print this
- 2 Noodle packets
- 1/2 lb thinly sliced pork belly or pork butt
- 1 small carrot, julienne
- 1/4 head cabbage, large cuts
- Optional Topping:
- Sliced onion
- chopped garlic chives
- 2 pkgs instant powder (included in package)
- 3 T water
- 3 T Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 t sugar
- Optional for sauce (more savory):
- 1/2 t garlic, grated
- 1 t miso
- Step 1
- Combine sauce ingredients and set aside
- Step 2
- In microwave warm unopened packages of noodles for 20 seconds and set aside
- Step 3
- Heat non stick pan to medium high and cook pork until no pink remains and nicely browned. Cook time will vary according to thickness
- Step 4
- Remove cooked pork from pan and remove excess fat, if any, but leave some fat for frying vegetable
- Step 5
- Sauté cabbage and carrot then set aside.
- Step 6
- Heat pan to medium high, add little oil, and place the microwaved (and thus warmed) noodles into pan. Let it sit so the bottom is browned. Use spatula to turn the squares on other side for browning
- Step 7
- Once browned, gently break up the noodles then add the meat and veggies back to pan then toss to combine
- Step 8
- Pour the yakisoba sauce into pan and mix
- Step 9
- Serve on plates and eat up!