Happy Wednesday, guys! Hope your week is peachy? I’m overjoyed that it is finally a couple of degrees warmer and the sun is more of a permanent fixture. It is still a far cry from summer weather, but I feel like we are finally getting there. All I need to do is to find my hammock ropes somewhere in my house move mess and I will be a happy bunny indeed, sunken into this genius invention, an espresso freddo and a book in hand. I cannot wait.
Today’s recipe is another quick midweek meal. It’s easy to make and one of our firm favourites. During my London days, I used to east it very often at Wagamama, but I haven’t realised how easy it is to make until fairly recently. The trickiest thing is the sauce, as traditional yakisoba sauce often contains seafood in the form of oyster or Asian Worcester sauce. If you are lucky enough to have vegan equivalents of these in your cupboard then you are all set. I’ve been looking for either of these in quite a few Bristol stores, including a really well stocked Asian grocer and all I was able to find was a mushroom soy sauce, but coupled with some other umami-rich ingredients: garlic, nutritional yeast and seaweed powder, I have managed to get a sauce that I am happy with.
Once you have got the sauce, the rest is child’s play. As with all stir-fries, the key to success is making sure that your wok and oil are piping hot before you start adding all the ingredients. For this reason, you want to use a high-smoke point frying oil, like rice bran, peanut or soybean oil and exercise a little patience before you crack on. This and keeping to the timings will ensure that your veggies are perfectly sealed on the outside, yet retain a pleasant crunch.
Speaking of veggies, I’ve gone to town here and managed to cram my 5 a day in one dish. You don’t have to go as mad as I did and you can of course swap any veggies out for what you happen to have in the fridge instead. Kale would be a perfect replacement for broccoli and cabbage, for example. And green beans would work just as well as baby corns. Just remember that sturdy veggies need to go in first and things that we tend to eat raw anyway, like peppers or carrots only need a minimal amount of cooking. That’s all there is to it and I hope you’ll enjoy this midweek concoction as much as we do.
- 30 ml / 2 tbsp all purpose soy sauce (or tamari for GF version)
- 10 ml / 2 tsp mushroom soy sauce (optional)*
- 15 ml / 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 tsp sugar or maple syrup
- ½ tsp garlic powder or small garlic clove, finely grated
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp ground up nori**
- 2 tsp ketchup or Sriracha (I use half half)
- 1 tsp cornflour / cornstarch
- 4 dried shiitake mushrooms (optional – feel free to skip if using mushroom soy sauce)
- 180 g / 13 oz soba noodles (use 100% buckwheat for GF version)
- 2 tbsp high smoke point oil (I use rice bran)
- 200 g / 7 oz broccoli, sliced thinly
- 2 white cabbage leaves, sliced thinly
- 4 baby corns, halved
- ½ bell pepper, sliced thinly
- 1 small carrot, sliced thinly
- 200 g / 7 oz favourite marinated tofu (I used Japanese-style tofu filets by Taifun), cubed (optional)
- 4 spring onions / scallions, thickly sliced
- a large handful of bean sprouts
- 1 tbsp toasted and crushed sesame seeds, to garnish
- shop-bought shredded and pickled ginger (if you don’t have any, grate some fresh ginger into the sauce)
- Pour boiling water over rinsed dried shiitake, set aside to infuse for as long as you can.
- In a small bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients plus 3 tbsp of water. If skipping mushroom soy sauce, add 2½ tbsp of shittake infused water instead of water and an extra 2 tsp of soy sauce (or tamari). Set aside.
- Cook your noodles just a couple of minutes less than you would normally. Refresh under a cold tap and set aside.
- Slice the softened mushrooms.
- Heat up a wok on a medium heat. Add the oil and allow it to get really hot – until it starts shimmering.
- Add in broccoli and cabbage – stand back as the oil might splash when you add the veggies in. Stir-fry for 2 minutes on a high-medium heat.
- Next add in baby corn, pepper, carrot, tofu, spring onions and sliced shiitake (if using). Stir-fry for another minute.
- Push all the veggies to the side of the wok and add in the sauce to the bottom of the wok, making sure you give it a good stir before adding to the work or else the cornstarch will be left at the bottom of the bowl.
- Allow the sauce to bubble for 15-30 seconds and then add the noodles.
- Mix the noodles into the sauce. Then add sprouts and incorporate the noodles into the veggies and tofu.
- Divide between two bowls. Serve topped with toasted sesame seeds and pickled ginger.
**You can buy this, but I you could also simply make your own by grinding nori sheets in a spice grinder. The shop-bought anori is more vibrant in colour as it is made of untoasted nori sheets.