I firmly believe noodles should be their own food group, and Yakisoba is one of the most delicious ways I know to enjoy them. As well as being endlessly versatile. Prefer chicken to beef? No problem! Have some veggies you need to use up quickly? Toss them in there! Yakisoba started out as street food in Japan, and is now so popular that every home has their own favorite variation. So feel free to take my recipe and make it your own.
While soba usually refer to noodles made from buckwheat, it can also refer to other types noodles in Japanese (confusing I know!). Like ramen, yakisoba noodles are made of wheat, water, and kansui which gives it the yellow color and distinct taste. I prefer to use pre-cooked yakisoba noodles, which is the most common. You can find them in the refrigerated section in any Asian food market. They come in packets of three, with dry sauce packets that I typically discard. They don’t need to be boiled, just rinsed under warm water to help them separate. This makes yakisoba a busy cook’s best friend as the noodles just get stir fried with the other ingredients all in one pot. Make sure to let all of the water drain after rinsing the noodles. You do not want to leave them sitting in water and getting mushy.
Yakisoba sauce is deeply savory and tangy. It relies on some common pantry ingredients that you likely already have: Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, soy sauce, oyster sauce and sugar. Just whisk it all up and set it aside.
I’m using Col Pabst Worcestershire sauce that my brother-in-law Bence will roll his eyes at because it is a handcrafted artisanal condiment from Wisconsin. But I don’t care if it sound pretentious; it’s glorious and makes food sing 😉 You can also use a Japanese Worcestershire sauce, like Bulldog, which is mild and more flavorful than American brands. If Lea & Perrins is what you’ll be using, add an additional teaspoon or two of sugar to balance the tartness.
Yakisoba is a stir fry dish, so you should have everything prepped before you begin cooking. Whatever meat you’re using, all your veggies, all ready to go and near the stove top. That way cooking is a breeze- the cooking portion of the yakisoba should take about 10 minutes.
I’m using beef, which I purchase already shaved so it’s very thin and cooks quickly. Start by heating a pan and then swirling your neutral oil.
Remove the beef to a bowl; it won’t be fully cooked because it will finish cooking at the end and we don’t want it over-cooked.
Then it’s time to stir fry your veggies!
I like to add some garnishes to my yakisoba, usually a little red ginger (beni shoga) and some powdered nori.
And with that your yakisoba is ready to be inhaled! Now that you have the technique and the sauce down, experiment with your favorite proteins and veggies. Are you like me and can’t get enough noodles? Check out our Noodles Archive for more favorites. Tell me what you think about this recipe by commenting below, and tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!
- 1 package pre-cooked yakisoba noodles (contains 3 noodle packets), or 1/2 pound thin spaghetti, or a 1/2 pound bag fresh wonton noodles
- 4 Tablespoons neutral oil divided
- 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 large onion, sliced thin
- 1 6 oz package shiitake mushrooms, cut into thin strips
- 1/4 head small cabbage, cut into large dice
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into julienne strips
- 12 ounces shaved beef (or bacon cut into 1/2 inch pieces, or Japanese sausages, or leftover chicken, or extra veggies)
- 2 scallions cut into 1 inch pieces
- powdered ao nori (optional)
- 3 tablespoons red shredded ginger (optional)
For the Sauce:
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 ½ Tablespoons soy sauce
- 2–1/2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
- 2–1/2 Tablespoons ketchup
- ½ cup Worcestershire sauce
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Put the noodles into a colander under the faucet and run warm water over the noodles to loosen the bundles. Set aside to drain.
- Put all sauce ingredients into a bowl and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
- Heat a large 12” skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 Tbsp oil and the beef. Stir fry the meat, stirring occasionally 1-2 mins. The meat should not be fully cooked. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, another minute. Transfer to a bowl.
- Return the pan to the heat and add 2 Tbsp oil.
- Add the onions and carrots and cook for 2-3 mins until the vegetables are slightly wilted. Add the cabbage and mushrooms and continue to cook for another 1-2 mins.
- Add the noodles, the scallions, and the sauce. Mix the ingredients gently in the pan and cook for approximately 2-3 mins.
- Add the beef back into the pan and gently stir to combine. Cook for another minute or two, just so the beef is hot and fully cooked.
- Check the seasoning and add salt or pepper as needed.
- Mound the noodles onto a plate making sure that the beef and colorful vegetables are visible. Serve immediately either topped or served with the optional garnishes.
*If using wonton noodles, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Open the bag of noodles and drop the noodles into a pot. Using tongs or chopsticks, stir the noodles to separate the strands. Boil the noodles until cooked through but still a little firm, about 2 mins. Drain the noodles and cool under running water. Put the cooled noodles into a bowl, toss with 1 teaspoon of oil, and set aside.
*If using thin spaghetti, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Open the box of spaghetti and drop the noodles into a pot. Using tongs or chopsticks, stir the noodles to separate the strands. Boil the noodles according to the instructions until al dente (cooked through but still a little firm). Drain the noodles and cool under running water to remove some of the exterior starch. Put the drained noodles into a bowl, toss with 1 teaspoon oil, and set aside.
Keywords: yakisoba, noodles, japanese, asian street food