I really like yakisoba. Back when I was a student living in Nagoya for over a year, every few days we’d walk down the road to the neighborhood supermarket to get groceries, and prepare our own meals in the dorm kitchen. One of the things I’d pick up from time to time was a pack of yakisoba noodles which comes with ready-made seasoning, so whipping up a quick meal of yakisoba was pretty easy.
The thing is, in all my years holidaying in different parts of Japan, I’ve never seen any yakisoba that isn’t made with pork, in any convenience store or restaurant. Rudy in fact has never tried yakisoba because of this same reason.
So now I’m craving some yakisoba, and I figured I’d make it myself at home. There were all sorts of different recipes to choose from online, but finally after reading through all the reviews, I finally chose the one by RecipeTin Japan. After making this I realized I could also just buy the yakisoba noodles with the seasoning from AEON (why didn’t I think of this sooner? Haha), but why not make something from scratch?
This recipe uses two Japanese specialty ingredients, the Bulldog tonkatsu sauce and the usuta (Worchestershire) sauce. I saw a few listings saying the tonkatsu sauce was non-halal, but I believe this was due to the fact that the label clearly stated that the distilled vinegar used in the sauce was made from alcohol. We should know that all vinegars are basically acetic acid derived from combining oxygen with alcohol, and that this process changes the characteristics of said alcohol into a form which is non-intoxicating. So unless there is new evidence saying that vinegars are non-halal, I believe we are in the clear here.
In any case, these sauces I was able to purchase online on Lazada at a reasonable price (free shipping!), and I could always use the sauces for other dishes (chicken katsu? Yum). The yakisoba noodles I’m used to seeing back in Nagoya resembled ramen rather than soba, so that would have been my noodle of choice here. I happened to have a pack of wonton noodles in the fridge, so I used that this time. If you don’t have dashi stock powder the best alternative is ikan bilis (anchovy) stock powder, but because of Mummy’s gout I used chicken stock powder instead.
I took a bit more care when cutting up my ingredients. I used a julienne cutter for the carrots, shredded the cabbage, and thinly sliced the mushrooms and chicken. This resulted in a dish which was super easy to eat, and the ingredients were very well blended together.
My verdict? This recipe was very close to the flavor I remembered. My only complaint was the sauce was a bit too mild, as if there wasn’t enough sauce to thoroughly coat all the noodles. I modified the quantity of the ingredients a bit for a more flavorful sauce, but other than that this recipe was spot on and I’m happy to now be able to make this at home.
- 40 ml Bulldog tonkatsu sauce
- 50 ml Bulldog Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon tomato ketchup
- 1 teaspoon Kikkoman soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon dashi stock powder OR anchovy stock powder OR chicken stock powder, diluted in 1/2 teaspoon hot water
- 300 grams ramen noodles OR yellow noodles
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 250 grams), cut into thin bite-sized pieces
- 5 large shrimp, roughly chopped (optional)
- 60 grams (about half medium) carrots, julienned
- 100 grams cabbage, thinly shredded
- 3 fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 2 stalks green onions, thinly sliced diagonally
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 2 tablespoons dried seaweed flakes (optional)
- 2 tablespoons red pickled ginger (optional)
In a medium sized bowl, add the tonkatsu sauce, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, tomato sauce, sugar and stock mixture, and stir to combine. Set aside.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
Drain the noodles. Drizzle with the sesame oil, and toss to evenly coat.
In a large wok over high heat, heat the oil.
Add the chicken and cook, stirring, until almost cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the carrots and cook, stirring, 30 seconds.
Add the cabbage and mushrooms and cook, stirring, until cabbage is almost cooked, 1 minute.
Add the green onions and bean sprouts and cook, stirring, 30 seconds.
Add the noodles. Toss to thoroughly combine.
Drizzle the sauce mixture and cook, tossing quickly, until evenly coated.
Serve immediately, topped with the seaweed and ginger if desired.