Friday, 13 January 2012

Japanese Yakisoba 焼きそば

Japanese Yakisoba
(Left - Right) Aonori seaweed, Tonkatsu sauce and
Beni-shoga , available from Japanese supermarket

I have been craving this dish recently after having a conversational with a friend at work. He is a massive fan of all things Japanese and this is one of his favourite dish. Yakisoba basically mean 'fried noodles' but despite have the word 'soba' in the name, it is made using Ramen or Chinese-style thin egg noodles and not buckwheat noodles. The characteristic of the Yakisoba is given by the use of the Tonkatsu sauce, which is a type of fruit base Japanese-style Worcestershire sauce. This gives it a sweet, tangy flavour and a glorious mahogany colour. The noodles are normally serve topped with some Aonori, a type of green seaweed flakes (not to the confused with the sheet of nori for rolling sushi.) and a small bundle of the Beni-shoga (red pickled ginger) that not only gives it a zingy taste, but a beautiful bright red colour too.

(Serves 2)
2 x 160g cooked Ramen noodles, available from Japanese or good Chinese supermarket
50g pork, thinly sliced or raw king prawns
a handful of finely sliced Chinese cabbage or white cabbage
a handful of fresh bean sprouts
1 small carrot, cut into matchstick size or julienne 
1 large wood ear/ cloud ear mushroom, available from Japanese or  good Chinese supermarket (optional)
2 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Yakisoba sauce:
1 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp tonkatsu sauce/Japanese-style Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sake

Aonori seaweed (green nori flakes), for garnish
Beni-shoga (red pickled ginger), for garnish

Season the pork/ prawns with salt and pepper and set aside. If using, soaked the wood ear/cloud ear 
mushroom in cold water for 10 minutes and when soften, slice into thin strips. Mix all the seasonings for the Yakisoba sauce in a bowl.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When smokes, add the pork/prawns, cabbage, carrot, bean sprouts and mushrooms and fry for a couple of minutes. Then add the noodles and fry for another minute.

Add the Yakisoba sauce and stir to mix well, until everything is lightly coated with the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

To serves, arrange on individual plates. Sprinkle on the aonori and garnish with the beni-shoga. 

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