I have been on a serious Japanese food kick. It all started ’cause I had a craving for my friend Sam’s father’s yakisoba (fried noodles). Sam is half-Japanese and her father, Maro, is an excellent cook. His sushi makes me melt into a happy little puddle of pure joy. I’m not kidding.
Anyway. I was on a bike ride with my roommate a few weeks ago, through our little college town (full of primarily aged, whitebread, biblethumping conservatives) when I spied a tiny corner market. Tee Oriental Grocery! I couldn’t believe it. An Asian market on Main Street in Hicksville, Ohio!
So when this strange desire for yakisoba arose, I thought of that little market and decided to go there the next day. What an adventure. I wrote up the strangest grocery list I’ve ever had, which included tofu, seaweed, cabbage, miso paste, and dashi powder, among other things. I wandered about that store, struggling blissfully amidst shelves lined with unidentifiable ingredients and illegible (to me, anyway) labels in both Chinese and Japanese. Finally, I found everything I was looking for, without asking for help! Except…for miso paste. I searched and searched for that illusive miso paste and finally had to ask the cashier for help finding it. Turns out…they were sold out! So, I left there feeling extremely accomplished and believing that I would have most certainly found it if it had been there for me to find 🙂 My lack of miso paste meant I couldn’t have any miso soup with my yakisoba, but I plan on heading back there soon to pick some up. And the yakisoba turned out great!
Yakisoba (Fried Soba Noodles)
Pork (sliced into thin strips or chunks)
Cabbage (chunked or shredded)
Carrots (sliced thin)
Green onions (sliced thin)
Bean sprouts (optional)
Mirin (Rice wine)
Ginger (fresh grated or dried)
Salt and pepper
For the sauce, combine 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp rice wine, salt and pepper, 1 tsp sugar, 1/8 tsp sesame oil, and a pinch of ginger. Let it all mingle together while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Get the pork chunks marinating in a bit of minced garlic and some soy sauce. Then tend to the veggies and get everything cleaned and prepped. Cook the soba noodles according to package directions. Heat a pan with vegetable oil, add a bit of garlic and the pork, followed by the cabbage, carrots, and the white part of the green onions, which are sturdier and hold up to cooking better than the delicate greens. Let it all cook through, stirring often. Add in the noodles and the sauce. Fry for a few more minutes. Plate it and garnish, if you like, with the greens of the green onions and a bit of dried seaweed.
Soon I’m going to be making tamagoyaki (a sort of sweet fried egg roll-up) and also okonomiyaki (“Japanese pizza”). I just realized that all the dishes I’m making are fried things…And Japanese food is supposed to be so light and healthy! 😉
Someday I swear I’m going to tackle sushi…Someday…