A delicious recipe for Yakisoba, or Japanese Stir-Fried Noodles, using pork belly, cabbage and carrots. Make this tasty dish in 30 minutes, perfect for busy weeknights! Recipe with step-by-step photos.
During my early years as a young professional, my girlfriends and I often met for dinner after work at a cheap and cheerful Japanese restaurant, and this was when I was introduced to Yakisoba. Up until that point, my knowledge of Japanese cuisine had been limited to sushi rolls, so I was excited to discover a whole new world of Japanese savoury dishes.
Yakisoba is a delicious Japanese noodle stir-fry dish with a distinct taste which makes it quite unique when compared to the more well-known Chinese or Thai noodle stir-fries.
Why This Recipe Works
- Make this delicious stir-fry in 30 minutes!
- Cabbage, carrots and shitake mushrooms are the traditional vegetables used in this dish, but you can use almost any vegetable you like.
- The pork belly will render some fat to add a delicious savouriness to the dish, but you can substitute the pork belly for chicken or firm tofu, or even leave it out for a completely vegetarian dish.
Although “soba noodles” are made from buckwheat, the noodles used in Yakisoba are actually wheat-based.
You can find pre-cooked yakisoba noodles sold in vacuum-sealed packets in most supermarkets or Asian grocers.
Yakisoba noodles have a long shelf-life, so they are perfect for keeping on hand in the pantry. Once you see how easy it is to make Yakisoba, you will know why I always keep multiple packets of yakisoba noodles on hand at home!
If you can’t find yakisoba noodles, udon noodles would also work really nicely in this recipe, or any Chinese-style egg noodles.
The most common version of Yakisoba is stir-fried noodles with pork, shredded carrots and cabbage. But like for most stir-fries, you can use whatever protein you like, and whatever vegetables you like.
In fact, what I love about this Yakisoba recipe is that I can turn a fridge-raid into a delicious meal. I always have carrots, cabbage and capsicums (bell peppers) in the fridge, but sometimes I will use vegetables more common in Chinese cuisine, such as bok choy and shitake mushrooms.
What is unique about Yakisoba is the sauce. The versions that I have made over the years have always included Worcestershire sauce and tomato ketchup – two ingredients which give the sauce a characteristic savouriness and sweetness.
How to Make Yakisoba
Place the yakisoba noodles into a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Use a pair of chopsticks or tongs to gently shake and separate the noodles. Drain the noodles and set them aside.
Even though the packet instructions often say that you can use the noodles straight from the packet, I recommend soaking them first to loosen the noodles. Otherwise, if you cook them straight from the packet, you will risk breaking the noodles as you stir them.
Remove the rind from the pork belly and thinly slice the meat. Generously season the pork with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a large wok or non-stick frying pan. Cook the pork belly in batches until the meat is golden and caramelised.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat to a large plate and set aside.
What you will have left in the pan is some deliciously rendered pork belly fat which will add a lot of flavour to the dish. If you have more than about 3 tablespoons of fat in the pan after you have finished cooking the pork, remove the excess oil.
Add the onion and garlic to the pan, and cook for a few minutes until they are aromatic.
Then add the chopped vegetables, and cook for a few minutes until the vegetables just start to soften.
Return the pork to the pan, together with the noodles and the yakisoba sauce.
Stir everything together and cook until the noodles have warmed through and they have soaked up all of the sauce.
Garnish with spring onions (scallions) or chives just before serving.
How to Serve Yakisoba
Most Japanese restaurants serve Yakisoba with a garnish of pickled ginger, and I also like to have a generous sprinkle of chilli flakes or Togarashi on mine.
I must admit that the first time I tried Yakisoba, I had actually ordered Omusoba, which consists of a portion of Yakisoba wrapped in a light omelette, and drizzled with Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise and Tonkatsu sauce. It is like the Japanese equivalent of a burrito and so so delicious!
More Stir-Fry Recipes
If you are looking for more stir-fry recipes, you might also like:Print
Yakisoba (Japanese Stir-Fried Noodles)
A delicious recipe for Yakisoba, or Japanese Stir-Fried Noodles, using pork belly, cabbage and carrots. Make this tasty dish in 30 minutes, perfect for busy weeknights!
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: Serves 3-4
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: Japanese
For the Yakisoba Sauce
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
For the Stir-Fried Noodles
- 500 g yakisoba noodles (pre-cooked in vacuum-sealed packets)
- 300 g pork belly
- sea salt
- freshly cracked pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, thickly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 large carrot, julienned
- 1 small red capsicum (bell pepper), thinly sliced
- 1 cup Chinese cabbage, thickly sliced
- spring onions (scallions) or chives, chopped into small batons
- Make the Yakisoba Sauce by mixing all of the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Place the yakisoba noodles into a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Use a pair of chopsticks or tongs to gently loosen and separate the noodles – this should take just 3-5 seconds. Drain the noodles and set aside.
- Remove the rind from the pork belly, and then thinly slice the pork.
- Season the pork generously with salt and pepper.
- Heat the oil in a large wok or non-stick frying pan over high heat.
- Cook the pork belly in batches until the meat is nicely golden and caramelised.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the pork to a large plate and set aside.
- There should be about 3 tablespoons of oil now in the pan, most of it being rendered fat from the pork belly. If there is too much oil in the pan, remove the excess oil.
- Cook the onions and garlic for about 1 minute until they start to release their aroma.
- Add the carrots, capsciums (bell peppers) and cabbage.
- Stir everything together for a few minutes until the vegetables start to soften.
- Return the pork to the pan, together with the noodles and the Yakisoba Sauce.
- Stir everything together until the noodles have warmed through and they have absorbed all of the sauce.
- Garnish with spring onions (scallions) or chives just before serving.
VARIATIONS FOR VEGETABLES
You can use almost any vegetable in this recipe. Other suggestions include:
* bok choy, roughly chopped
* green capsicums (bell peppers), thinly sliced
* shitake mushrooms, thickly sliced
VARIATIONS FOR MEAT
You can substitute the pork belly for thinly sliced chicken breast or chicken thigh.
MAKE IT VEGETARIAN
You can make this dish vegetarian by omitting the pork belly and replacing it with thick slices of firm tofu, or just use vegetables.
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.