home cooked dinners by the season

Yaki Soba

Yaki Soba

Yaki Soba is a Japanese fried noodle dish typically made by stir-frying noodles with chicken, shrimp or beef and vegetables with a flavorful sauce. You could say it’s the Japanese equivalent of Chinese chow mein. The beauty of it is you get protein, starch and vegetables all in one dish and just like that you’re dinner is made. Once you are familiar with the ingredients and you have made it a few times Yaki Soba is easy to put in your regular weekday meal rotation.

Other vegetables can be substituted. Same with the meat or leave it that out for a vegetarian version. Or use steamed Tofo cut into strips for the meat. The two ingredients I would not mess with are the fresh ginger because it gives such a distinct fresh  flavor. The other is the sesame oil. If you haven’t used it before you might wonder why such a small amount can make a difference but it does. It’s densely flavorful and important to the integrity of the yaki soba sauce.

If you don’t have a wok this recipe might just be the reason you need to finally buy one. A large sauté pan can give good results but I think everyone should own a wok. Their large amount of surface area makes it easier to stir-fry food more efficiently. And compared to a lot of pans, a traditional wok is not that expensive.

Yaki Soba
 
Serves: 4-5
Ingredients
  • Yaki Soba Sauce:
  • ¼ cup soy sauce or reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or honey
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon chile paste (1/4 to ½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce can be substituted)
  • Fresh ground black pepper

  • 16 ounces fresh yaki soba noodles or 8 ounces dried Chuka Soba noodles*
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 8-12 ounces thinly sliced boneless skinless chicken thigh or breast (thinly sliced pork tenderloin, top sirloin or flank steak, shrimp or sliced steamed tofu can be substituted)
  • 2 tablespoons julienne (match stick size) fresh ginger
  • ½ cup sliced onions
  • 1 cup peeled and thinly sliced carrot (1 medium carrot)
  • 1-1/2 cup quartered or sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup snow or snap pea pods, cut in half at an angle
Instructions
  1. Whisk together all sauce ingredients; set aside.
  2. If using fresh noodles, run hot tap water over them in a colander to separate; drain well. If using dried noodles, cook according to package directions; drain well.
  3. In a wok or a large sauté pan (sloping sides) heat oil over medium high heat; add chicken and cook and stir 3 minutes, then add ginger and cook and stir until the chicken is cooked, about 3 minutes longer. Add onions and cook until they are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add carrots and cook and stir, then add mushrooms and cook until just softened, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add cooked noodles and cook and stir to evenly distribute the ingredients and heat the noodles, about 3 minutes. Evenly pour Yaki Soba sauce over the noodles, chicken and vegetables and cook and stir until heated through about 3 minutes. Add pea pods and stir to evenly distribute.
Notes
*Fresh yaki soba noodles are available in the produce section of many grocery stores (near the tofu); typically there are three plastic pouches of noodles weighing about 5-6 ounces each in one bag. Dried Chuka soba noodles are available in the Asian section of many grocery stores.

 


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