Yakisoba (stir-fried noodles) – it’s eaten and enjoyed in many parts of the world and has quickly become Japan’s most beloved comfort food. A typical yakisoba recipe usually features classic Japanese noodles, vegetables, meat, and a salty, sweet, and sour sauce. Made in a one pan, it’s so easy to make and is always a crowd-pleaser.
Yakisoba has been cooked and enjoyed at home and at Teishoku-ya (Japanese diners) and became an icon of Japanese street food. We’ll take you back to yakisoba’s origin and show you how to make stir-fried noodles at home that will taste just as good as the street stalls!
Yakisoba is a dish of Chinese origin. In the Meiji period (1868-1912), there was an opening of the Japanese ports through which Chinese traders and immigrants arrived in Japan. In these port cities, such as Yokohama, typical restaurants started serving Chinese noodles called Chuka soba, gradually increasing the spread of the dish throughout Japan.
Soon, adaptations were made to the dish by the Japanese, who in turn adapted and localized the dishes. More specifically, yakisoba was created from an adaptation of the Chinese dish chow mein, right after the end of World War 2. The dish was designed to be a practical and inexpensive food as it was able to satisfy hunger quickly, at a time when Japan was doing food rationing.
Yakisoba is one of the ultimate Japanese street foods. It’s a stir-fry noodles dish made of Chinese-style buckwheat noodles, thinly sliced meat, and vegetables like cabbage, carrots, onions, and bean sprouts tossed with a thick, sweet-savory sauce. To finish off, it’s often topped with a variety of garnishes and condiments, including katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes), sliced scallions, bean sprouts, aonori (powdered, dried seaweed), toasted sesame seeds, tsukemono (pickles) like beni shoga (red shreds of pickled ginger), and a drizzle of sesame oil.
These noodles are typically made with pork belly or chicken, but beef is a great option as well. Also, feel free to substitute the chicken or beef if you are a vegetarian! Our yakisoba recipe today will use chicken, but we also love using tofu, including fried tofu.
Are you a vegetarian and looking for some Japanese food ideas? Check out our blog about vegetarian Japanese food!
The noodles are just as delicious meatless or tossed with some grilled tofu or shiitake mushrooms. As the dish can be made in one pan and stored for up to 3 days in the refrigerator, yakisoba is not only convenient but easy to make.
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The sauces used above will all vary in levels of sweetness and saltiness depending on the brands you have used. It’s best to do a taste test after all the ingredients have been combined. If necessary, add a little extra sugar to increase the sweetness, or add more oyster sauce for more saltiness.
If you want to add more crunch to the dish, try adding a tbsp. of oil and heat the noodles until golden brown before combining them with the veggies and the sauce. The crispiness of the noodles may make your Yakisoba even more delicious!
If you can’t find yakisoba noodles, try using ramen noodles which are the most similar to yakisoba noodles and are a great substitute. Another option is to use instant/dried ramen noodles that are super easy to find at your local grocery store.
There are many variations to the ingredients of Yakisoba, too. For example, you can add half of a red bell pepper julienned which will give the dish more flavor and color.
You can store any leftovers in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and in the freezer for a month. Just reheat in the microwave or on the stove and enjoy.
Have you tried to make yakisoba at home? Share your tips for a perfect yakisoba recipe in the comment below!
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