I don’t know about you, but the idea of making Japanese food at home is daunting. Incredibly daunting. Visions of trying to roll intricate pieces of salmon and rice into something vaguely resembling the minuscule dishes that circulate Yo! Sushi fills me with something very close to fear. This recipe, however, proves that Japanese food can be simple, affordable and delicious: the classic noodle dish yakisoba, literally ‘fried noodles’. Yakisoba has its roots in the Chinese chow mein, yet has steadily been integrated and adapted into Japanese cuisine.
Begin by cooking 110g of noodles in boiling water until they are tender. Although traditionally made with soba noodles, basic egg noodles are a more accessible, yet equally effective replacement.
Then make the sauce. Traditional yakisoba sauce is made from 100ml light soy sauce, 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons sugar. Heat these ingredients in a small pan and bring to the boil, before allowing to simmer for around 10 minutes.
Next, begin cooking the filling in a wok over a medium heat with vegetable oil. Yakisoba is traditionally made with prawns or chicken strips, yet this can be substituted for tofu or another form of meat if so desired. Add as much or as little as wanted to the wok and heat until fully cooked.
Next prepare your veg. Cut up one onion, half a red pepper, half a green pepper and add a handful of beansprouts. Or, in classic student style, just buy a packet of the pre-made stir fry veg from Tesco. We won’t tell. Add the veg, sauce and noodles to the wok containing your meat and stir fry lightly for 3 minutes. Finally, crack one egg into the wok and stir fry until it is cooked. Remove from the pan and plate up. If you’re feeling like your budget can stretch slightly further this week, yakisoba is served with a garnish of shallots, pickled ginger and sesame seeds.
And there you have it: an incredibly simple yet delicious Japanese take on the student staple stir-fry, which requires neither impressive artistic skills nor unbelievable patience.
[image: *Jule via Flickr]