Because I'm Asian and I love my noodles!
I think I've lost count of the number of times I've visited Japan. The amazing thing is, I seem to discover a new addiction every time I'm back! The last time round I went to Nagoya, it was Tebasaki Wings. And this time, it's one of Osaka's favourite street foods, Yaki Soba.
If you ask me, Yaki Soba is a pretty straightforward dish and most beginner cooks can make it quite easily. All it takes are the few crucial seasonings like Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce and ketchup. In my version here, since the main ingredient is Chuka Soba, which is known as Chinese noodles in Japan, I thought it would be interesting to introduce a key ingredient used in Chinese cooking.....rice wine! I wanted my noodles a bit darker to give that "wok hei" look and hence I introduced dark caramel sauce to the mix as well.
Instead of skinny ramen noodles, I also used a thicker version, just because I like my noodles with a bit more bite!
Here's the recipe below.
3 packets of ramen noodles (200g each, you can get these from the chiller sections of Asian grocery supermarkets)
300g pork belly/pork shoulder, sliced thinly
1/2 small cabbage, chopped into smaller 2 cm pieces
1 medium carrot, cut into thin pieces
50g shiitake mushrooms (optional)
1 medium white onion, sliced thinly
Spring onions, chopped
4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp ketchup
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp dark caramel sauce
1 tbsp rice wine
Chop up all your vegetables
Mix all the sauces together in a small bowl.
Heat up a wok and add 2 tbsp of oil. Add the sliced pork and stirfry for 10 seconds.
Add the onion to the pork and continue to cook, followed by the carrots. Drizzle in 1 tsp of your premade sauce. The purpose of cooking these first is to soften them as they take longer to cook.
Toss in the cabbage and continue to stirfry.
Add the noodles and break them apart, using tongs or your frying ladle. Then add in the rest of your sauce and continue to stirfry till the noodles are well-separated and coated in the sauce.
Test to see if the noodles are cooked to your liking. If it's not salty enough, add in a bit more soy sauce.
The Japanese love to eat their Yaki Soba with egg. In my case, I made a fried egg to go along with my noodles. Simply crack an egg onto a non-stick pan and cook till the whites turn crispy. I like my yolk uncooked.
Serve with the noodles and sprinkle with spring onions. I didn't have Aonori seaweed and pickled ginger at the time of making this recipe, but they are usual accompaniments as well to this delicious street food.