Travel, Teach, Live in Japan
Looking for something uniquely Japanese to eat and want it fast? Yakisoba is the answer. It's a traditional Japanese dish that is very easy to prepare. Yakisoba is basically pan fried noodles. It is a commoner's food, not very fancy, and it's usually prepared as a snack or as picnic food. The noodles used in this dish are not regular noodles, but buck wheat noodles. These are thicker and darker than the Chinese Chow-Mien noodles, and are much healthier. Careful though, because most of the buck wheat noodles sold in stores are not made from 100% buck wheat, but rather mixed with regular wheat.
So the ingredients that you will need to cook this mouthwatering treat are: Thinly cut cabbage, pickled ginger, dried green seaweed, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup and finely chopped pork or squid. Add oil into a frying pan and toss in the finely chopped meat and cabbage. When they are cooked take them out of the pan. Next, put in the noodles to fry. Meanwhile, mix together the Worcestershire sauce and ketchup with a spoon in a small bowl. Once the noodles are fried for a few minutes, add the sauce mix and with it the previously fried cabbage and meat. Stir everything up, remove onto a plate and garnish with some pickled ginger and dried green seaweed. Voila!
Yakisoba tastes best when served hot. To make the dish more interesting you can use different sauces like chili, soy sauce, and even sweeten it with some honey or sugar. Instead of pork/squid you are free to experiment with chicken, tofu or shrimp. Toss in some more vegetables like onion, cabbage, snow peas, capsicum, carrots or anything else you can think of for that matter. As with any other food in Japan, this can be bought already prepared in supermarkets and convenience stores, or in an instant cooking form.
Josh Shulman, Author of All-You-Can Japan [ www.smartjapantravel.wordpress.com]