Yasai Yaki Soba Recipe {Project Food Blog}

Today’s post is my second Project Food Blog entry (see my first entry here). The challenge? “The Classics”. Each contestant must pick an ethnic classic that (s)he is unfamiliar with. We’re supposed to keep it as authentic as possible.

Ethnic food? Nothing new to me. Authentic ethnic meals? Okay, now you’re onto something. I make a lot of so-called “ethnic” dishes, but they are not usually true to the traditional recipe. I’m always modifying and Maggie-fying dishes, sometimes to the point that they are unrecognizable by the end. I always enjoy the outcome, but I will admit that I can’t follow a recipe to save my life. So this challenge is very… well, challenging for me (as it is supposed to be). The main reasons that I usually change a recipe are:

  • I don’t have all the ingredients and I make substitutions
  • I healthify recipes by reducing the amount of oil or adding extra vegetables
  • I simplify recipes to make them quick and easy

My Challenge: Yasai Yaki Soba

Japanese food is a definite favorite for me, but I rarely make traditional dishes. I use a lot of Japanese ingredients, but I don’t make a lot of Japanese dishes. I leave that up to Bobby’s mom (one of my two favorite cooks – my mom being the other one). In my googling I came across a few recipes for Yasai Yaki Soba. I had to pick it because Bobby and I have an inside joke about Yakisoba (it involves a hysterical commercial they used to play on California TV). Turns out that I had almost all the ingredients needed and I only had to run out for 2 things: the garnishes.

Yasai Yaki Soba: What does it mean?

I know there are linguists out there (Lauren and Amber Shea!) that share my passion for words, so let’s break down this recipe to see exactly what Yasai Yaki Soba is.

Yasai = vegetable. Yaki = from yaku, which means “to bake or to grill”. Yaki appears in a lot of Japanese dish names – teriyaki, sukiyaki, takoyaki, okonomiyaki. Soba = buckwheat noodles. I had a lot of trouble finding Japanese etymology resources online, so all I can offer are these definitions. (If you know of a good resource please let me know!) So this is a veggie noodle dish that is “grilled” in a wok (fried). This version happens to be macrobiotic (if organic eggs count) and vegetarian.

Yasai Yaki Soba: The Recipe & The Details

I set about setting up my ingredients.

01 soba noodles 400x296 Yasai Yaki Soba Recipe {Project Food Blog}

02 veggies 400x265 Yasai Yaki Soba Recipe {Project Food Blog}

The main source of panic for me for this recipe? The vegetable oil! I never use that much to stir-fry things. I got over it though; I had to follow the recipe to be authentic. That is the point of this challenge.

Yasai Yaki Soba Recipe (Serves 2)

07 yasai yaki soba 400x293 Yasai Yaki Soba Recipe {Project Food Blog}

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces soba noodles (dry weight)
  • 1 green pepper, sliced and chopped
  • 1 large thinly sliced carrot (I used a mandoline)
  • 1/2 cup sliced onion
  • 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Seasoning Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine (mirin)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Yasai Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons rice wine (mirin)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder)

Garnish Ingredients

  • pickled ginger
  • sesame seeds (black or regular or both)

Method

  1. Cook the soba noodles according to the package (usually 4 minutes in boiling water). Immediately rinse with cool water to stop cooking. Set aside.
  2. Beat the 2 eggs and mix in the seasoning ingredients. Add the veggies (pepper, carrot, onion, garlic) and then add the noodles (gently so they don’t break).
  3. 03 veggie egg mix 400x265 Yasai Yaki Soba Recipe {Project Food Blog}

    04 veggie egg noodles 400x265 Yasai Yaki Soba Recipe {Project Food Blog}

  4. Heat a wok over high heat for 1-2 minutes until it’s very hot (almost smoking), then add the vegetable oil. Add the noodly veggie egg mixture and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix together the yasai sauce ingredients while the noodles are cooking.
  5. 05 oil pan 400x316 Yasai Yaki Soba Recipe {Project Food Blog}

    06 cooking noodles 400x288 Yasai Yaki Soba Recipe {Project Food Blog}

  6. Remove from heat, add the yasai sauce (while still in the wok), and mix. Divide between 2 dishes and top with the garnishes – ginger and sesame seeds.
  7. Enjoy!

08 yasai yaki soba 400x305 Yasai Yaki Soba Recipe {Project Food Blog}

Yasai Yaki Soba: What was challenging?

I had a few difficulties with this…

  1. I followed the recipes to a T – I actually went out and bought the specific garnishes that the recipe called for. And those garnishes made this dish exactly the classic dish I was hoping for! I don’t usually do this, but maybe I am missing out. The little things really do make a difference.
  2. The oil content. When I stirfry I don’t usually use this much oil. I use enough, but I never take the risk of using too much and making it soggy with fat. I used the amount it called for, but it turns out I was probably right – Bobby and I both prefer it less oily.
  3. It didn’t have as many veggies as I usually use, and I was tempted to add more in. When I make noodle-veggie dishes, I always use at least half veggies (in terms of volume). This had more noodles than veggies, but it made me appreciate the simple flavor of the soba.

So this challenge was awesome in that it made me appreciate the fact that I am actually a very good cook (Bobby loved it), I don’t have to always make uber-healthy food, and it solidified my love for true Japanese cuisine. Thanks Project Food Blog!

I will remind you how to vote for me tomorrow. I will also be back either later today or early tomorrow with my weekly roundup – I was out all day yesterday and didn’t get to it.

What’s your favorite ethnic dish?

Mine is papaya salad, duh. I would have made that except I’ve already made that lots of times.

*Note: I combined elements of 2 recipes to get this recipe. See here and here for my inspirations.

19 Comments on Yasai Yaki Soba Recipe {Project Food Blog}

  1. Shelby
    26 September, 2010 at 2:54 pm (4 years ago)

    That looks amazing! I love soba noodles (:

  2. emily (a nutritionist eats)
    26 September, 2010 at 3:10 pm (4 years ago)

    I have always wanted to make Yaki Soba! Great entry, I’ll be voting tomorrow! :)

  3. Melissa @ TryingToHeal
    26 September, 2010 at 3:21 pm (4 years ago)

    great job w/ the yaki soba!!! i’m trying to get the right broth taste to mine, along w/ the garnishes like you said you were looking for.

  4. melissa @ the delicate place
    26 September, 2010 at 3:28 pm (4 years ago)

    is it bad that i didn’t think too much of 3tbsp oil lol? i typically use 2-3tbsp coconut oil when i roast veggies though who knows how much is left on the pan i guess right? my husband would love your yaki soba creation!

    • Maggie
      26 September, 2010 at 10:18 pm (4 years ago)

      @Melissa: You know, now that I think about it I probably use that much for roasting! I definitely don’t use that much for stir frys though – weird how I can be totally fine with it for some things and not for others.

  5. Amber Shea @Almost Vegan
    26 September, 2010 at 4:33 pm (4 years ago)

    Ah, I didn’t know “yaki” meant “grilled”!

    I usually go light on the oil in my stir fries, too. :]

  6. Noelle
    26 September, 2010 at 5:01 pm (4 years ago)

    COngrats on your 2nd round entry. It looks great! I usually order this at Japanese restaurants and love the flavors. I love your spin on it. Thanks for the explanation of Yaki. I also did not know it meant grilled! :)

  7. Kath (Eating for Living)
    26 September, 2010 at 5:52 pm (4 years ago)

    I love you’re looking at the name of the dish from a linguistic view. I always want to know where the names come from!

    Actually, I don’t have something like “the” favorite ethnic dish. I love Asian dishes, like veggie soups, or stir-fries with veggies and chicken or seafood. And I really like sashimi!

  8. Heidi - Apples Under My Bed
    26 September, 2010 at 6:28 pm (4 years ago)

    I LOVE papaya salad too! That would have to be one of my favourites.
    Another would be wonton noodle soup – often my issue with authentic dishes are too much oil and not enough veggies used, same as what you identified! Or some sort of foreign flavour combination that takes a few tries to get used to and love.
    This dish looks super yummy though! I actually have all those ingredients minus the pickled ginger :)
    Good luck with Project Food Blog!
    Heidi xo

  9. Christina (Dinner at Christina's)
    26 September, 2010 at 6:44 pm (4 years ago)

    Yum! I have never used soba noodles. I’m with you – I usually use very little oil and about half veggies too.

  10. Betherann
    26 September, 2010 at 7:50 pm (4 years ago)

    Looks delicious! You’ve got my vote.

  11. sophia
    27 September, 2010 at 1:49 am (4 years ago)

    Japanese cuisine is actually something I’m not too familiar about. I love Japanese fusion, but like you, have little exposure to REAL authentic Jap food. So this was actually new and interesting to me. Thanks, Maggie! :-)

  12. Anne @ Food Loving Polar Bear
    27 September, 2010 at 2:40 am (4 years ago)

    Yum yum yum. I love japanese food and am eager to learn as much as possible from their cuisine :)

  13. angie
    27 September, 2010 at 9:32 am (4 years ago)

    Beautiful dish!!

    You have my vote!

  14. Shannon
    27 September, 2010 at 11:03 am (4 years ago)

    great dish! i’d probably use the same substitutions you would. got my vote :)

  15. Olivia
    28 September, 2010 at 12:35 am (4 years ago)

    I love this — it looks delicious! I voted for you :) Good luck on Project Food Blog and belated congratulations on your wedding!

    • Maggie
      28 September, 2010 at 9:56 am (4 years ago)

      @Olivia: Adding you to my recs right now! Great entry :)

  16. Ute@hungryinLondon
    30 September, 2010 at 5:16 pm (4 years ago)

    yum, this looks delicious! deserves a vote :) good luck!

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