What Is Yakisoba?
Japanese yakisoba is a stir-fry dish consisting of “Chinese-style” buckwheat noodles, diced meat (usually pork belly, but sometimes chicken), and veggies, tossed with a thick, sweet sauce similar to Worcestershire sauce. You can finish the noodles with a variety of garnishes and condiments, including tsukemono (pickles) like beni shoga (red shreds of pickled ginger), katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes), sliced scallions, bean sprouts, aonori (powdered, dried seaweed), and a drizzle of sesame oil. Yakisoba noodles are the same noodles used in ramen, a popular Japanese noodle soup.
In some areas of Japan (mainly the Fukuoka Prefecture), yakisoba features thick, chewy udon noodles instead of wheat noodles (in a dish called yaki udon). Yakisoba noodles are also a popular topping for the “savory pancake” okonomiyaki in a dish called modan-yaki.
4 Tips for Making Yakisoba
With the right cookware and ingredients, you can make a close approximation of authentic yakisoba at home:
- Use the right noodles. You can buy packages of pre-steamed yakisoba noodles or mushi chukamen online or in Asian grocery stores. The noodles look and feel a bit like ramen noodles but have a slightly more delicate texture when cooked.
- Use the right cookware. When stir-frying, few pans will get you as close to your desired results as a wok, which conducts heat differently than a standard frying pan or skillet. Either pan will do in a pinch, but investing in a large wok gives the ingredients direct exposure to high heat without trapping steam, which can make the noodles gummy or too soft. Learn more about different types of cooking pans in our complete guide.
- Make your own sauce. You can find pre-made yakisoba sauce in most Asian grocery stores, but you can also make it at home. Combine three tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce with three teaspoons of oyster sauce, two teaspoons of ketchup, two teaspoons of soy sauce, and a pinch of sugar. Whisk well to combine; adjust the ratios to your preference.
- Serve it in a bun. Some convenience stores carry yakisoba-pan, a popular variation of yakisoba served in a hot dog bun. To recreate yakisoba-pan at home, toast the bun beforehand and brush with butter, then fill with your noodles.
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