Yakisoba (Japanese-style fried noodles)

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Broadcast date:October 10, 2014

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Ingredients (Serves 4 )

・4 packs precooked yakisoba noodles (600 g)
*If unavailable, boil 3 x 80 g packs of instant noodles or 250 g of thin spaghetti until tender

・8 prawns (with their shells, but heads removed), weighing 120 g
・2 scallops
・1/2 negi (Japanese leek), weighing 30 g
・150 g cabbage
・150 g bean sprouts
・Vegetable oil for frying

(Seasoning for the salted version)
・A sprinkle of salt & pepper

(Seasoning for the sauce version)
・4 – 6 tablespoons Japanese-style Worcester sauce

Preparation

  1. (salted version) Rinse the bean sprouts. Chop the cabbage into 3 cm-sized pieces. Slice the Japanese leek into 4 cm lengths and them cut into thin julienne strips. Rinse and shell the prawns, and use a toothpick to pierce the centre of the back, and use the toothpick to draw out the intestinal sac. Use the flat of the blade of your kitchen knife to crush the prawns lightly. Then cut into pieces 1 cm in width. Cut the scallops into 1 cm-sized pieces.
  2. Use a steamer to heat the yakisoba noodles for about 3 minutes.
  3. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a frying pan. Fry the prawns and scallops over medium heat until the prawns turn red. Remove. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan, and fry the leek, cabbage, and bean sprouts until wilted, and when the cabbage turns semi-transparent. Switch off the heat and add the noodles, then switch on the heat again and fry them ensuring they get well mixed with the vegetables.
  4. Sprinkle with a little salt, and give a generous sprinkling of pepper. Return the prawns and scallops. Lightly fry and then serve.
  5. (sauce version) If you wish to season the noodles with Japanese-style Worcester sauce, omit the salt and pepper, and use the sauce instead.

Catch of the Day

Yakisoba: a boon for some local communities

Many communities in Japan have their own versions of yakisoba noodles, becoming almost something of a local dish.   These different versions have excited interest in recent years, and are even attracting visitors keen to try them out.  

Some communities have made a name for themselves with restaurants that have been making their own particular versions of fried noodles for decades, while others created new versions with a view to attracting more visitors and business.  Some local communities put out maps showing visitors where they can eat fried noodles. And gift sets enabling people to prepare the local versions at home are now sold as souvenirs.  

The local people tend to use different ingredients, seasonings, and noodles of different thickness.  The noodles can be flavoured with Japanese-style Worcester sauce or salt, or else soy sauce, miso paste, curry powder or ketchup.  And the local versions tend to feature the local seafood, vegetables or other local produce unique to the region.

The familiarity of this dish, the relatively inexpensive price, and the ease at which the dish can be modified to produce different flavours with a little imagination are among the likely reasons why yakisoba has become a resource for attracting visitors.   A curiosity in food among the Japanese is behind such developments.

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