Why mushrooms? Because we’re mushroom lovers here at home. I’m not a fan of meatless dishes but add mushrooms (or tofu) to a dish, and I’ll be perfectly happy.
In this vegetarian yakisoba recipe, we have a combination of shiitake and shimeji. The vegetables are white cabbage, bell pepper, carrot and scallions. The scallions were divided into light and dark green portions. The light portion was stir fried with the rest of the veggies and the mushrooms while the dark green portion was added towards the end of cooking.
The sauce is a mixture of Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce, ketchup, soy sauce and sugar. We do have a preferred ratio but feel free to tweak the proportion to suit your taste.
Chinese-style wheat noodles are used for cooking yakisoba. You may buy fully cooked yakisoba noodles in vacuum-sealed packs which just need to be blanched before stir frying.
We prefer fresh ramen which we buy frozen from a Japanese grocery that’s a mere seven-minute or so drive from our house. The noodles are boiled until softened but still lightly chewy.
The cooked noodles are drained and refreshed with cold water. It helps a lot if you toss the noodles during this stage to make sure that every strand gets cold. This step stops the cooking so that the noodles don’t get soggy during stir frying. Drain thoroughly after tossing in cold water.
A teppan is traditional for cooking yakisoba but, for home cooking, a thick-bottomed wok or frying pan will do. To cook this meatless yakisoba, heat oil and stir fry the vegetables and mushrooms until wilted. Do not overcook because you will still be stir frying them after the noodles are added.
Take your fully drained noodles, spread over the vegetables and mushrooms then drizzle the sauce over the noodles. Add the dark green portion of the scallions and stir fry until everything is hot and the ingredients are evenly distributed.
Is yakisoba a main course or a snack? That depends on the size of each portion. Serve it in a full-sized bowl and it makes a very filling lunch or dinner. Serve in smaller portions and it is a delicious snack.
- 300 grams fresh ramen
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce - Japanese Bulldog brand is recommended
- ¼ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce
- 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 4 to 6 shiitake - caps only, thinly sliced
- 1 cup shimeji - root ends cut off
- 1 bell pepper - deseeded and julienned
- 1 small carrot - peeled and julienned
- 1 ½ cups thinly sliced white cabbage
- 12 stalks scallions - (light and dark green portions separated) cut into two-inch lengths
- ½ teaspoon salt
- aonori - (available in Japanese groceries)
- benishoga - (available in Japanese groceries)
Cook the noodles
- Boil water in a pot and drop in the fresh noodles. Cook until just slightly chewy.
- Dump the noodles in a strainer and rinse under the tap, tossing the noodles to get them cold.
- Drain and set aside.
Mix the yakisoba sauce
- In a bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce until the sugar is fully dissolved.
- Taste and adjust to get the flavor balance that you you prefer.
Stir fry the yakisoba
- Set the pan on the stoove over high heat and drizzle in the oil to coat the bottom.
- When the oil starts to smoke, dump in all the bell pepper, carrot, shiitake, shimeji and light green portion of the scallions, and sprinkle in salt.
- Stir fry the vegetables and mushrooms for about a minute.
- Spread the noodles over the vegetables and mushrooms, drizzle in half of the yakisoba sauce, and add the dark green portion of the scallions.
- Stir fry until the noodles are heated through and all the ingredients are evenly distributed.
- Taste. Drizzle in more sauce, if needed, and stir fry for another half a minute.
Serve your vegetarian yakisoba
- Divide the yakisoba among four bowls, sprinkle with aonori and top with benishoga.
- Serve immediately.