Abura soba, also known as mazemen is quick and easy to make with basic pantry staple ingredients. This soup-less ramen is full of flavour and the toppings choices are endless! (Vegan)
What is Abura Soba?
Abura means ‘oil’ in Japanese and soba are buckwheat noodles– so it literally means oil noodles. In short, abura soba is type of ramen, without the broth! This soupless ramen is also known as mazemen, mazesoba, monja soba, tenukisoba, shiruanashi and shirunashi ramen depending on the region in Japan. Much like daigaku imo, it’s popularilty started with University Students because it’s cheap, quick and incredibly easy to make with basic shelf stable ingredients.
SAVE IT FOR LATER! ↓
How to Make Abura Soba
Abura soba is much easier to make than ramen with broths because all it requires is mixing the ingredients for the sauce (which can be made ahead of time) and then tossing it in noodles. As far as toppings go, there are no strict rules! Use what you have on hand and like.
Here are a few vegetarian brothless ramen topping suggestions:
- deep fried tofu puffs
- aburaage (fried tofu sheets)
- baked tofu
- fried tofu nuggets
- vegetable dumplings
- bamboo shoots
- fried onions chips
- fried garlic chips
- shiitake mushrooms
- tempura scraps (age dama)
- wood ear mushrooms
- enoki mushrooms
- sesame seeds
What kind of noodles to use
Despite the name ‘Abura Soba’ containing ‘soba’, buckwheat noodles are not used in this dish. In Japan, ramen used to be called Chuuka Soba (Chinese Soba), which is why in some regions and restaurants, ramen has ‘soba’ in their names. Another example of this is yakisoba. In general, it is made with Chinese style noodles or ramen noodles.
However, if you are not able to find vegan Chinese style noodles or ramen noodles instant ramen noodles, wheat noodles and even spaghetti turned into ‘ramen like’ noodles can be used! I often use this trick when we’re out of vegan ramen noodles and it does the job for a quick meal.
Varieties of Abura Soba / Mazemen
The beauty of these kind of mixed brothless ramen noodles is that there are so many different kinds and varieties all over Japan! The options, flavour combinations and toppings are truly endless. Here are some more ideas and other flavours I’ve tried and love:
- Miso Butter sauce: mix together miso paste, vegan butter, mushroom stock powder, sesame oil, mushroom sauce, chili oil and a little hot water.
- Curry sauce: mix mentsuyu, ra-yu and curry powder for the sauce. Fry up some onions, garlic, ginger and tofu mince and season with soy sauce, curry powder (or roux blocks) and chili oil.
- Chili oil sauce: In a bowl mix together Japanese sukiyaki sauce (or mushroom soy sauce), mushroom stir fry sauce, mushroom stock powder, rice vinegar doubanjiang and chili oil. Toss in noodles and add toppings of choice.
- Mapo tofu: top your noodles with your favourite instant mapo tofu or homemade mapo tofu.
- Taiwanese style: chives, onions, minced tofu, yakiniku (Japanese grilled meat) sauce, mentsuyu, doubanjiang, soy sauce and sesame oil.
- Tantanmen style: Fry up some onions, garlic and ginger with sesame oil. Add some vegan grounds along with some soy sauce, mushroom stock powder, Doubanjiang, miso paste and chili oil. Then just top your noodles with the tofu mixture.
- Kimchi flavoured: fry up some onions and ground tofu with your favourite yakiniku (Japanese style sauce for grilling). Add some sauce to the noodles like mushroom sauce, sesame oil and mushroom soup stock or msg. Toss it all together and top with the crumbles, kimchi, scallions and sesame seeds.
- Dan dan (Sichuan) style: Fry together some tofu mince, onions, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, onion and sesame seeds. Make a quick sauce with some sukiyaki sauce, mushroom soup stock (or msg), Doubanjiang, miso paste and ra-yu. Toss the noodles in the sauce and top with mince topping.
More quick and easy noodles to try: (just mix n’ slurp!)
Here are a few more quick and easy noodle recipes that is ready to slurp in under 10 minutes!
If you recreate this Abura Soba recipe let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment and rating below or by tagging me on Instagram @Okonomikitchen, I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!
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