Japanese Yakisoba easily made Vegan with just a couple everyday ingredients all in one pan. The perfect quick & easy lunch for any day of the week!
What is Yakisoba?
Yakisoba is a iconic Japanese stir fried noodle dish that has gained a lot of popularity in western countries. Yakisoba literally translates to: Yaki = fried and soba = buckwheat noodles. The noodles are typically fried on a large iron plate (Teppan / 鉄板) with a fruity sauce and ingredients such as cabbage, bean sprouts and pork. You can find Yakisoba almost anywhere you go in Japan- from food stalls, convenient stores to street markets to upscaled restaurants. The simplicity of this dish makes it incredibly easy to make at home!
Yakisoba has a special place in my heart because I ate it so often, and the taste is just so nostalgic. My mom used to make it for lunch and switched it up by using different vegetables and meats. My favourite vegetables in Yakisoba are onions, cabbage, bean sprouts and shiitake mushrooms because of all the different textures they give to the dish. Sometimes, she would also stuff the Yakisoba into some buns (Yakisoba Pan 焼きそばパン) when we are out and about. You can find Yakisoba Pan’s in most convenient stores in Japan and they’re a super easy to way to eat it on the go!
With so many varieties and options of noodles out there, it’s hard to figure out which noodles to use for which dish. Although the word “soba” is used in Yakisoba, it’s misleading because Yakisoba actually uses wheat based noodles that look much like egg noodles. However, they do not contain egg but instead contain Kansui (枧水), which is a alkaline solution that produces that yellow colour and chewy mouthfeel to noodles like ramen. Yakisoba noodles are often sold in the refrigerated or frozen section.
The two brands I love to use when I can get my hands on them are Maruchan and Nissin, which have that typical thin and slightly wavy Yakisoba look. However, I often opt for wheat noodles used for stir fries that I find in the refrigerated section in my asian grocery store because they are more accessible and inexpensive. These noodles are typically pre-cooked, so all you need to do it reheat in some boiling water. If you can’t get your hands on Yakisoba noodles or wheat based ramen noodles, I have seen food stalls in Japan that actually do use buckwheat noodles, so you can definitely experiment with that!
Yakisoba sauce is like no other. It’s savoury, but has a very fruity flavour. Yakisoba is definitely a stir fry with a sweeter flavour profile. You can buy Yakisoba sauce, I grew up using Otafuku which is also the most popular brand. However, you can definetly make your own. Typically making your own Yakisoba Sauce requires oyster sauce and/or worcestershire sauce but we can make this vegan with a little tweaks! Instead of oyster sauce, use mushroom sauce. I use Bull Dog Tonkatsu sauce which is vegan, but you can just use any vegan worcestershire sauce.
Yakisoba just isn’t Yakisoba without Beni-Shoga (pickled red ginger) and Aonori (dried seaweed). You can find these two ingredients in asian grocery stores in the Japanese or international aisle. If not vegan, fried bonito flakes are very commonly added on top as well.
I hope you give this classic Japanese street food a try, I know you’ll love it! It’s:
- SUPER flavourful
- such a comfort food
- & honestly just do damn delicious
Tips and Tricks to making Vegan Yakisoba
- Use a large frying pan/wok: You really want to use a large frying pan or wok to make Yakisoba so that all the ingredients have some contact with the pan to brown and char a bit for that extra depth of flavour. If you use a frying pan thats too small (or add in too many ingredients at once), it ends up steaming the ingredients rather than frying them. This results in a soggy Yakisoba.
- Stir fry the noodles first: For an extra crisp to the noodles, fry the noodles first then set them to the side, and add them according to the directions again.
- Stir frying vegetables in order: Yakisoba is all about textures. You can your cabbage and bean sprouts to be slightly crisp and every vegetable has different cooking times! If you add in all the vegetables at the same time, they will all end up soggy and just not tasty.
- Stir frying on high heat: This ties in with using a large pan and stir frying the vegetables in a particular order. Frying on high heat helped char and cook the vegetables faster instead of steaming them. This is especially important when using vegetables like mushrooms, cabbage and beansprouts that tend to release a lot of water.
If you recreate this Vegan Yakisoba please share it and let me know what you think by tagging me on Instagram @okonomikitchen. I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!Print
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