A busy work schedule has kept me for the most part out of the kitchen lately. So when I finally had an evening to step into my kitchen again, I was craving something home-cooked and healthy.
Yakisoba—literally “fried noodles in sauce”—is an incredibly quick and easy dish to throw together. As long as you have some soba noodles lying around, your favourite vegetables and protein, and some creativity with the sauce, you are good to go.
I added tofu to make this a vegetarian dish, but you can easily use chicken, pork, or shrimp. Play around with an assortment of mushrooms—shiitake, enoki, beech, etc.—and use whatever seasonal vegetables you can find depending on the season—asparagus, sweet peppers, zucchini, eggplant, carrots, beansprouts, etc.
The sauce is where you can have a lot of fun. It could be as simple as a soy-based sauce, to a sweet and sour sauce, to one of my favourites, a peanut-based sauce.
I'm a big fan of runny eggs and kimchi (I always keep some in my fridge), but top your yakisoba with your favourite toppings—pickled vegetables, shredded nori, or bonito flakes would be equally delicious!
Spicy Peanut Yakisoba
1/2 cup broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup snow peas, tips removed
1/2 cup king oyster mushrooms, sliced 1/4-inch-thick
4 baby shanghai bok choy, quartered
6 oz firm tofu, cut into 2-inch sticks
2 bundles dried soba, cooked according to package directions
For the sauce:
4 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon gochujang
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons water, and more as needed
Toasted sesame seeds
Soft boiled egg (optional)
Mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl. The sauce should be loose but thick. Add some more water if it is too thick. Set aside.
Heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the tofu until golden brown on all sides, season with a bit of salt, and reserve on a paper-towel lined plate.
Add some more oil and fry the mushrooms on both sides until golden brown on both sides. Season with a bit of salt and reserve with the tofu.
While the tofu and mushrooms are frying, blanch the broccoli florets and snow peas in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and throw the vegetables immediately into a bowl of ice water. Let sit for 5 minutes, change the water once with more cold water; drain and set aside.
Add some more oil, if needed, and stir-fry the bok choy until almost cooked, about 3 minutes. Add the broccoli and snow peas and stir-fry for 1 minute, until heated through. Add the tofu, mushrooms, cooked soba, and sauce. Toss the sauce throughout and stir-fry for 1 minute, until heated through. If the sauce appears too dry, add a bit more water to the pan.
Divide the noodles on two plates. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and top with a soft boiled egg and kimchi, if using. Serve immediately.