Food & Drink

Yakisobanoodles luckyin New Year

Spicy-sweet yakisoba is Japanese street food at its best.
Spicy-sweet yakisoba is Japanese street food at its best. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

In China and Japan on New Year’s Day, long noodles are considered a lucky food because they symbolize long life. This spicy-sweet yakisoba recipe from Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto is Japanese street food at its best – quick, easy and incredibly flavorful.

It doesn’t take a lot of technique – just keep the ingredients moving – and you don’t even need a wok; a cast-iron pan works just fine. Yakisoba noodles and sauce are readily available at Asian markets, but if you can’t find them, substitute cooked ramen noodles and a homemade sauce of 2 tablespoons each ketchup and mirin, 4 tablespoons each soy and Worchestershire sauces, and a dash of sriracha.

Don’t be afraid to slurp when eating. That will bring even more luck.

This recipe is from “Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking” by Masaharu Morimoto.

YAKISOBA

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 ounces pork shoulder, sliced thin

1/2 cup thinly sliced yellow onion

1/4 cup 2-inch-long matchsticks peeled carrot

1 cup roughly chopped (about 2 by 3/4-inch pieces) loosely packed white cabbage

5 1/2 ounce package refrigerated yakisoba noodles (a heaping cup)

2 tablespoons jarred yakisoba sauce

1 tablespoon shredded beni shoga (red pickled ginger)

1 heaping tablespoon bonito flakes

1/2 teaspoon aonori (powdered seaweed) or finely chopped nori seaweed sheets

Heat oil in a medium-wide nonstick or cast-iron skillet over high heat until oil shimmers. Add pork, onion and carrot and cook, stirring frequently, until pork is no longer pink, about 2 minutes. Add cabbage and cook, stirring, until it wilts slightly and the onion is lightly browned at the edges, about 3 minutes.

Add noodles and cook, tossing with tongs, until noodles are heated through. As you toss, gently separate the strands; if noodles don’t separate easily, add a splash of water to pan.

Add sauce and continue to cook, tossing, until thoroughly coated, about 1 minute. Season with more sauce to taste, toss well, and transfer to a bowl. Top with the pickled ginger, bonito flakes and aonori. Eat right away.

Serves 1.

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