Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Yakisoba (焼きそば) - Japanese Stir-Fried Noodles

Yakisoba (焼きそば), is a Japanese dish of pan-fried noodles (the name "yakisoba" literally translates to "fried noodles") originating from Chinese cuisine. Though "soba" is part of the name, this dish uses chuka noodles instead, which are most similar to ramen noodles (soba noodles are made of buckwheat, while chuka/ramen noodles are made from wheat flour). 

The noodles are steamed and fried with meat or seafood and vegetables, then flavored with a yakisoba sauce, which is a sweeter & thicker version of Worcestershire sauce. Finally, the dish is topped with aonori (青海苔 - dried seaweed powder), benishoga (紅生姜 - pickled shredded ginger), or even katsuobushi (鰹節 - dried bonito flakes) and mayonnaise.

Usually made with pork, as a kid, and even now as an adult, I LOVE yakisoba with cut up hot dogs mixed in. I know that's probably REALLY trashy, but, then again, I'm the one who brought y'all SPAM fried rice.

Recently, instant yakisoba became available here in the US. The most well-known brand of instant yakisoba in Japan is "UFO", and they are WAY better than the Maruchan version that is now in stores here (They have a cheddar cheese version - what the heck?). 

Side note: The Maruchan Yakisoba ads are AWFUL:

yakisoba sauce I use is really similar to okonomiyaki sauce & takoyaki sauce; the brand I prefer is Otafuku, and it should be easy to find in pretty much any Asian market. Bonus: the sauces come in nice squeeze bottles like Kewpie mayonnaise

If you can't find the yakisoba sauce, it's ok to substitute the okonomiyaki or takoyaki sauce. If you can't find any of those sauces, tonkatsu sauce is a decent substitute as well. As a last resort, you can use Worcestershire sauce, but, keep in mind that the sauce will be thin and runny. 

*You can even make your own sauce, by simply combining 2 Tbsp of oyster sauce, 1-2 tsp of soy sauce, and 1 Tbsp of sake or water.*

Loosely adapted from About.com

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 packages chuka noodles (150g/package)*
Salt & pepper
1/4 lb boneless lean pork, sliced thinly
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 white onion, sliced thinly
1 green bell pepper, cored and sliced thinly
1 small carrot, peeled and sliced thinly into slivers
1 cup roughly chopped cabbage
1 cup mung bean sprouts, blanched for 30 seconds
2 green onions, green parts only, sliced on a bias
4-6 Tbsp yakisoba sauce (store-bought or homemade)
Ao-nori, beni-shoga, katsuobushi and/or mayonnaise for garnish

*You can also use 2 bricks of ramen noodles, just toss out the salt bombs (seasoning packets).

Pre-cook the chuka noodles. Bring 10 cups of water to a boil; add the noodles and cook for 3 minutes, stirring to separate the noodles. Drain, rinse with warm water, and drain again.

Season the pork with salt & pepper. Heat 1 Tbsp of the oil in a lidded pan or skillet over medium heat; add the pork and stir-fry until almost completely cooked.

Add 1 Tbsp of the oil back to the pan. Add the garlic, onion, bell pepper and carrot; saute and stir-fry until mostly tender, about 3-4 minutes.

Add the cabbage, bean sprouts & green onion; stir-fry for 1 minute.

Add the noodles and pour 1/4 cup water over the noodles. Cover the noodles with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Steam for 2-3 minutes, then uncover the noodles; the water should be almost completely evaporated.

Add the yakisoba sauce, stir quickly to combine with the meat, noodles & vegetables. Transfer to a serving plate.

Top with the aonori, beni shoga, katsuobushi & mayonnaise if using.


  1. I made this for dinner tonight! I used the oyster sauce. I NEED A BIGGER PAN FOR NEXT TIME! soooo good

    1. Awesome, Deni!! Glad you enjoyed it! You can always use less noodles, too - they seem to multiply once in the pan!

    2. Wait. Did you replace Yakisoba sauce for Oyster? if so i would be able to make it since i don't have Yakisoba sauce

    3. I found the Yakisoba sauce at a local Asian market, but I've made this recipe without it. I simply mixed together 2 Tbsp of oyster sauce, 1-2 tsp of soy sauce, and 1 Tbsp of sake/water. Tastes pretty much exactly the same!

  2. An even better replacement for Yakisoba is the same amount of Worcestershire sauce. It is the closest thing to Yakisoba sauce. I prefer Yakisoba sauce but if I run out.....

    1. Never tried that before! Luckily, we have plenty of Asian markets around here, so I usually have no problem finding sauce!