Two things about the yakisoba I cooked for lunch today: First, most yakisoba recipes I found online use ready made soba sauce. That really makes me uncomfortable. It’s like saying you can’t make yakisoba if you don’t buy yakisoba sauce. So I experimented, and made my own.
Second, I like the idea of garnishing yakisoba with bonito flakes. But I couldn’t find the packets of bonito flakes in my pantry that is fast becoming a mini-grocery store. What to do so that I can still have the fishy flavor in my yakisoba? I added a packet of powdered dashi to the sauce. The result was delicious. A good thing too. The yakisoba lunch meant for three people — myself and the two house helpers — became lunch for six. My younger daughter unexpectedly arrived with two classmates and, well, the yakisoba was totally wiped out.
Serves 3 (may be stretched to 6 in case of real emergency).
- 200 g. of dried soba noodles
- 100 g. of cooked pork, cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 cloves of garlic, grated
- 1 tsp. of grated ginger
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 small carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- about 2 c. of cut cabbage (wombok or pak choi)
- 1/4 c. or more of light soy sauce
- 2 tbsbs. of sake
- 2 tbsps. of mirin
- 1 packet of powdered dashi
- 2 tbsp. of sugar
- 3 tbsps. of vegetable cooking oil
- toasted sesame seeds, for garnish (optional but highly recommended)
Cook the soba in plenty of boiling water until soft but not mushy. Drain, transfer to a bowl of iced water to refresh, then drain once more.
Heat the cooking oil in a wok. Add the ginger, garlic and shallots. Cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add the pork and carrot. Stir fry for another 30 seconds. Add the cabbage. Stir fry for 15 seconds. Pour in the soy sauce, sake and mirin. Add the powdered dashi and sugar. Bring to the boil. Stir in the cooked soba and cook for 30 seconds longer.
To serve, transfer to a shallow bowl and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.