Sweet and salty fried noodles mixed with fresh cabbage, fatty pork pieces, fragrant garlic, and more. This recipe shows you how to whip up authentic Japanese yakisoba from scratch and it’s great for those quick weekday meals.
What is yakisoba though?
Yakisoba is a Japanese dish that has Chinese influence that is made up of yakisoba noodles, various types of vegetables like cabbage and carrots, sometimes meat, and coated in a Worcestershire type seasoning. Yakisoba is translated to “fried noodle” in Japanese and is in reference to the stir-frying method of cooking this dish, like pancit canton, pad see ew, garlic noodles, or yaki udon.
It’s very similar to yaki udon with its various vegetable and meat ingredients except its seasoning is Worcestershire and oyster sauce-based, whereas yaki udon is soy sauce based. Yaki udon was actually created because they had a lack of yakisoba noodles, known as chuka soba.
Not to be confused with soba made of buckwheat flour, the noodles used in yakisoba are actually known as chuka soba and made of wheat flour. Chuka soba are typically the Japanese version of Chinese egg noodles. This is why it looks (yellow) and tastes different from other soba noodles.
This authentic dish came about in the mid 20th century when wheat flour was expensive and cabbage was added to fill up noodle dishes. Originally the seasoning sauce only included soy sauce, but the cabbage liquid would dilute the flavor, so a stronger Worcestershire seasoning was added.
Yakisoba sauce ingredients
There are various ways to make yakisoba at home depending on how much time you have. You can use a quick yakisoba noodle packet with sauce like Maruchan yakisoba, premade yakisoba sauce like Otafuku yakisoba sauce, or you can also make the entire meal from scratch.
Since I have all the ingredients at home, I like to make them from scratch and adjust to my liking. Many of these sauce ingredients are typical ingredients like soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and ketchup. For the Worcestershire sauce, I used the Japanese variety of Worcestershire sauce (Bulldog Worcestershire) because it’s a little sweeter, but you can use the regular kind too.
For the noodles, I picked egg noodles that are specific for yakisoba like these Twin Marquis brand yakisoba because they were already cooked and ready to stir fry. I wouldn’t recommend Maruchan yakisoba noodles because they crumbled and broke while stir-frying. I added thinly sliced pork butt and veggies like shredded cabbage, onions, garlic, carrots, and mushrooms to my yakisoba for extra tastiness too.
How to make yakisoba sauce from scratch
Making yaki sauce from scratch is so simple. All you have to do is add all the sauce ingredients into a bowl and whisk until it’s fully dissolved. After you saute the veggies, meat, and noodles in a large pan, drizzle the sauce over the stir-fried pan and mix. It’s really as simple as that.
I would definitely recommend mixing all these ingredients in a bowl before adding them into the pan so that all the noodles and ingredients are evenly coated.
Serving and storing
After you’ve finished stir-frying the noodles, top with pickled ginger, roasted seaweed, and sesame seeds. You can also add yakisoba to hot dog buns, add a little Kewpie mayo, and make a yakisoba bun. Yakisoba is best served fresh and hot from the pan, but it also makes for great leftovers since you can make a big batch and eat it for the next few days. Just make sure to place it in an airtight container in the fridge.
Homemade Yakisoba Sauce Recipe
- 122 g (4 oz) pork belly sliced very thinly
- 150 g (¼ head) cabbage sliced thinly
- 15 g (1 tbsp) garlic minced
- 85 g (¼ medium) yellow onion sliced
- 40 g (1 medium) carrots julienned
- 60 g (½ c) brown mushrooms sliced
- 11 g (1 tbsp) vegetable oil
- 454 g (16 oz) yakisoba noodles
- dried seaweed
- pickled red ginger
- sesame seeds
- knife and cutting board
- large saute pan
- wooden spatula/tongs
- In a bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients.
- Whisk until all the ingredients are dissolved. Set aside.
- Prep your ingredients: Slice your pork belly into ½ inch strips. Cut your cabbage into ⅛ inch slices, mince your garlic, julienne your carrots, slice your mushrooms into ⅛ inch slices.
- In a large saute pan over medium heat, add the vegetable oil, onions, garlic, and carrots. Saute for about 1-2 minutes or until fragrant, but not soft.
- Add the mushrooms and saute for 1 minute or until slightly softened.
- Add the cabbage and cook for 1 minute or until slightly softened.
- Add the noodles and drizzle on the yaki sauce. Stir to combine completely and cook for an additional 2 minutes or until the noodles are hot.
- Top with pickled ginger, dried seaweed, and/or sesame seeds.