Spicy Stir-Fried Noodles

Yaki Soba

Spicy stir-fried noodles, called yaki soba, are one of many outdoor festival treats in Japan. Neighborhood shrines and temples have frequent Matsuri carnivals, and booths selling masks, toys, trinkets, soft drinks, cotton candy, grilled corn, squid and griddle-fried yaki soba line the entranceways. The recipe given here is a meatier version than most found in Japan, but it should still bring back memories to those who’ve sampled the “real thing.”

Ingredients

  • 4 portions (about 6 ounces each) of precooked fresh yaki soba noodles
  • ½ pound lean butt of pork, sliced into extra fine julienne strips
  • 2–3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup coarsely shredded cabbage or 1 cup mixed cabbage and onions
  • 2 teaspoons saké (rice wine)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4–5 tablespoons Wooster Sosu (dark, spicy Japanese version of Worcestershire sauce)

Garnish

  • 1 teaspoon ao nori (green laver flakes)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped béni shōga (red pickled ginger)

Method

Rinse the noodles in boiling water, drain them and set them aside.

In a large skillet or wok, sauté the pork in 1–2 tablespoons of oil over high heat, stirring frequently. When the meat is no longer pink, add the cabbage or cabbage and onions. Continue to stir-fry the mixture 1–2 minutes more or until the vegetables have softened a bit. Season with saké and salt and toss well to distribute.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and reduce the heat slightly. Toss in the noodles and stir-fry all for a minute or two. Season with the dark sauce and continue to cook for another minute. Serve the noodles hot, garnished with green laver flakes and chopped red pickled ginger.

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