One of the things I love most about summer is all the night markets. I love to be able to spend a warm summer night walking around in the crowds, smelling and looking at all the tasty food, and enjoying the atmosphere of the perfect night. Even though this summer is a write off for things like night markets, we can still enjoy the flavours that bring us the memories of a better time. In this recipe, I will show you how to make yakisoba, a classic Japanese fried noodle dish that is synonymous with summer festivals and night markets.
Just picturing the yakisoba vendor cooking up a heaping pile of noodles, fresh vegetables, and pork belly is enough to make me hungry, and stuffing my face with a plastic box of those hot noodles, slathered with that tangy sweet sauce and Japanese mayo makes for the perfect summer night. In our version of this iconic recipe, I will be replacing the pork belly with a slightly different variation: maple smoked bacon. This will give the yakisoba a bit of a different twist, with the salty maple bacon complementing the sweet tang of the yakisoba sauce. Finish that with the creamy kewpie mayo and a side of pickled ginger and you have a super tasty batch of noodles.
You will need (for 2):
- 4 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 3 tablespoons okonomi sauce (or Worcestershire sauce)
- 1 tablespoon sake
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 6 slices maple smoked bacon, or whatever you have, cut into 1/2” pieces
- 2 cups cabbage, chopped
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 cup carrots, julienned
- 1 cup shimeji or shiitake mushrooms
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 300g Chinese steamed noodles, or ramen noodles
- Kewpie mayo
- Nori furikake or chopped scallions
- pickled ginger, kizami style
- 2 eggs
Start by mixing the water, ketchup, okonomi sauce, sake, soy sauce, and sugar in a small bowl. You should have about a cup of sauce. Set aside.
Heat up your biggest skillet on medium high heat and cook the bacon. I like to have some bits crispy and some just cooked. Take out of the skillet and set aside, keeping a tablespoon of the bacon grease. Put in all the veg, except the bean sprouts. Cook and toss until the cabbage starts to soften and everything is coated in the bacon fat.
When that’s done, make a well in the center of the skillet by moving all the veg to the edges and add the noodles in the center. Add about a ½ cup of water and pop a lid on the skillet. Let steam for about 3 minutes.
Remove the lid and let the rest of the water evaporate. Add the sauce, toss well to coat, add the bacon and bean sprouts. Let everything cook on the heat until the sauce slightly thickens and you get bits of char on the noodles. Season finally with salt and pepper.
Assemble your plate by starting with the yakisoba, a drizzle of kewpie mayo, furikake or scallions, and a touch of pickled ginger. If you wanna go all the way, finish with a fried egg.
For best results, serve in a plastic clamshell, close with a rubber band and enjoy.