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(Almost) Outside the Hermetically Sealed Package: Yakisoba for Beginners

June 6, 2012
YakiSoba for Beginners

I. Love. Noodles.

Seriously. I don’t even care what kind. If it’s got noodles, I’m there. Sometimes I get fancy and venture out to make my own, but I digress.

This post is about making homemade yakisoba.  But Adrienne, you ask, “Why make yakisoba when I can get these neat little trays, microwave for 4 minutes, clean up the boil over in the microwave, add powder, stir and eat?”, why indeed!

Well to answer your, er, my own question: THAT particular yakisoba is probably a brand, not the actual dish and on the off chance that it IS the actual dish, well, this is better. So, nayah! In fact, yaki-soba is a popular fast food dish inJapancommonly available fresh (not freeze dried hockey pucks) from street vendors. That incarnation is what I’m talking to you about today. To be honest, the noodles are the same – the difference however is in the meat, veggies and seasoning. No powder packets here!

Let’s get started.

Ingredients

  • ½ pound chuka-soba (Chinese noodles, ramen noodles or thin spaghetti)
  • 2 teaspoons mirin or rice wine
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 6 ounces of lean beef (or chicken thighs or pork tenderloin)
  • ¼ cup chicken broth (Chicken Stock)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Cooking oil for the wok or pan
  • 2 slices unpeeled ginger, at least 1 inch square
  • 1/2 cup shitake mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 headNapacabbage, sliced in ¼ inch (or thinner) strips
  • 1 small to medium zucchini
  • 1 medium onion, cut in half, sliced thin and separated into half rings

First, boil your noodles. Follow the instructions but leave them just undercooked. For ramen this will only take about 4 minutes if you put them in already boiling water. Drain when ready and keep handy.

Take a mandoline or a steady hand and julienne your vegetables, except for the onion & cabbage as noted above. Everything should be noodle sized, so cut along the long sides. If you have no mandoline I recommend you grate everything with a box grated unless you have mad knife skills!

Mix together your cornstarch and mirin. Slice your beef as thin as you can; it helps to have the beef slightly frozen so it holds its shape. Make your thin slices about 1inx2in. Toss your beef in the cornstarch mixture.

In another bowl mix your chicken broth, pepper, Worcestershire, oyster and soy sauce.

Heat your wok or pan you’ll be using to stir fry over medium high heat. Add the oil and once heated add the ginger to flavor the oil.

Working quickly, stir fry your meat. After about 2 minutes your meat should be mostly cooked. Now add your veg.  Take a moment to make sure your noodles are drained and ready! The veg should cook 2-3 minutes more until crisp tender. Go ahead and remove ginger now.

Loosen up the noodles with a few sprinkles of water and your hands. Place noodles in the wok or pan by the handfuls. Pour your sauce over the pan. Mix thoroughly and toss until the noodles are reheated and coated in sauce and mixed in with your shredded vegetables.

Take it off the heat and serve with tongs. I pair this with pot stickers and dress with a little extra soy sauce. Yum!

I know, right?! This takes like 5 minutes. 10 if you count running the veg through the mandoline (possibly 15 if you take time not to cut yourself on said mandoline of doom). The effort is absolutely worth it and you can sneak veggies in on your kids or significant other. They won’t even notice the zucchini when it’s the same thickness as the noodles.

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