A few months ago, I decided to have themed cuisine weeks at home. The plan was pick one cuisine and cook at least one dish from that cuisine a day for a week. It was a lot of fun and I was able to experiment with recipes and dishes I had always wanted to try. We made it through 4 weeks (Korean, Japanese, Italian and French) before I started getting lazy. Although this was an attempt to broaden my culinary skills and palate, most of the meals I cook at home tend to be Korean or Italian anyway, some weeks weren’t as adventurous as others. I gained some weight during French week (We drank wine every night and went through a good amount of butter – it was glorious!). I really enjoyed Japanese week and I find myself making Japanese regularly these days. Here is one of my favorite recipes that is extremely easy to make – Yakisoba.
Yakisoba is a stir-fry noodle dish with pork and vegetables. I don’t measure out the vegetable ingredients, I just chop up what I think is enough for 2 servings. The fresh noodle packets that you can find in Asian markets (I shop at HMart in Catonsville, MD or Lotte in Ellicott City, MD) come with seasoning packs. I usually throw those out and make my own sauce. 1TBSP Oyster Sauce + 1 TSP Soy Sauce + 1/2 TSP Sake. 1+1+1/2 = easy peasy! We had some friends over today so the recipe below is what I used to make lunch for six.
Carrots, julienne strips
Spring onions/Scallions, chopped
Pork Belly, thinly sliced (1 pack from the Asian Market)
2 Garlic cloves minced
3 tbsp Oyster Sauce
3 tsp Soy Sauce
1 1/2 tsp Sake
Heat a large skillet pan or wok and add a few tbsp of vegetable oil. Wait until the pan gets really hot then add in your fresh yakisoba noodles. It should sizzle. Toss the noodles around in the pan until it loosens (about 3 mins). Transfer noodles onto a plate and add more vegetable oil into the pan. Add in the sliced pork, minced garlic, salt and pepper and stir fry. When the meat is just done add in the cabbage and carrots. Stir fry together until the cabbage softens a bit. Toss in the spring onion/scallions. Combine the oyster sauce, soy sauce and sake to create a yakisoba sauce. Add in all but 2 tbsp of sauce into the pan, mix well together with the vegetables and pork. Then add back in the yakisoba noodles and top with the remaining sauce. Stir fry everything together and then turn off the heat. You are ready to serve!
I don’t know if it’s the Korean in me, but I need something pickled to go with this dish. (We even have a big plate of kimchi on our Thanksgiving table.) So to go with this Yakisoba, I picked up a variety of Tsukemono (Japanese pickled vegetables – literal translation ‘pickled things’)
Tsukemono – pickled cucumber (green), pickled daikon (red), pickled eggplant (purple) and pickled garlic (yellow).
Yakisoba is a great way to eat lots of different vegetables and the flavor is quite addictive. My friends enjoyed it so much, I made another batch! When I make Asian food I feel the need to buy all the ingredients at the Asian market (I don’t know why, I’m just weird like that 😉 ). These days most supermarkets have an Asian or ethnic aisle, and you can find all the ingredients you need for this recipe there. Hope you guys try this one at home – it’s really good!