Stir fried Chicken Yakisoba noodles with a quick homemade yakisoba sauce.
This Japanese dish makes a perfect weeknight dinner meal for two!
This chicken yakisoba is another classic Japanese stir fry noodle recipe from our Asian food series with Momoko, our Japanese food expert.
We recorded it together back in February in Goa, India.
🍜 What are Yakisoba noodles?
Yakisoba noodles are Japanese egg noodles, which became more widely popular in Japan and the world in the past 60 years.
The noodles have their origins in China and are actually like Chinese egg noodles.
Chinese settlers in Japan would prepare them, but what really made this dish Japanese at some point is the use of a stir fry sauce combination, which they called yakisoba sauce. It was an evolution that took place over time.
This Japanese article writes about the history of Yakisoba. You can use google translate.
The article also mentions a theory, that during post-World War 2, the noodle dish prepared with cabbage, became the poor man's choice.
Cabbage was cheap and still is and it's a vegetable that is filling and tasty.
And so this is why a true yakisoba can never be prepared without cabbage.
🥡 Udon VS Soba VS Ramen VS Yakisoba Noodles
Udon noodle dough, as in the noodle dish Yaki udon, is prepared by stamping on it with your feet. The noodles are flat and it's a long process to prepare these noodles from scratch.
Soba noodles contain buckwheat flour.
Ramen noodles are stretchy and contain a lye such as baking soda or in Japan kansui (lye water).
Yakisoba noodles are prepared like ramen noodles but they are first pre-boiled/steamed or commercial noodles are even treated with oil so that they don't stick together.
Yakisoba noodles might have the word soba in it but they do not contain any buckwheat flour, which is totally misleading. Soba means noodles in Japanese and Yaki to stir fry.
These are the basic ingredients that you need to make this chicken yakisoba dish. US and metric measurements are further below in the adjustable recipe card.
You can also add bean sprouts as a topping. Bell pepper is never added to a Japanese yakisoba, it's a Western addition, but you can add it to yours if you like.
- noodles - can be yakisoba, ramen (fresh or instant), or Chinese egg noodles (chow mein style)
- chicken - boneless thighs preferred because of flavor but you can use breast too
- onion - white or purple
- green onion aka spring onion - white bulbs and greens separated
- cabbage - regular or napa
- shiitake mushrooms - dry and rehydrated or fresh, other Japanese mushrooms are ok to use too
- oil - regular kitchen oil
- black pepper
- sugar - brown or regular white
- soy sauce - kikkoman style regular soy sauce will do
- oyster sauce
- Worcestershire sauce
🥢 How to make it?
Here is an overview of how to make this Asian noodle meal from scratch. Detailed steps in the recipe card.
Combine ingredients for yakisoba sauce.
Prep all the other ingredients.
Stir cook onion and green onion, carrot and mushroom.
Also add and stir cook chicken, cabbage. Stir in noodles.
Season with black pepper and pour prepared yakisoba sauce over that.
Stir cook chicken yakisoba over high heat until well combined.
Japanese folks use yakisoba noodles but also other noodles can be used. Japanese outside of Japan use also Chinese egg noodles (chow/low mein noodles) or ramen instant noodles (such as Maruchan) do the trick too. It's not a strict rule that you have to use yakisoba noodles, as long as you don't use Italian spaghetti noodles.
MSG is Monosodium Glutamat and we don't add it to this noodle dish. It brings out the umami flavors and MSG is commonly used in the Takeout industry to make food taste more intense and perhaps better.
You can add sriracha sauce or doubanjiang bean paste to the yakisoba sauce instead of the ketchup.
Yakisoba noodle dish variations exist across the regions in Japan. It is usually prepared with pork or seafood such as squids and shrimp. Yakisoba in Japan is rarely prepared with chicken. In Osaka, they make okonomiyaki (savory pancake) with yakisoba noodles.
Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas with us in the comment section further below!
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Chicken Yakisoba Noodles Recipe
For the Stir Fry
For the Yaki Soba Sauce
- ½ Tablespoon Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
- 3 Tablespoon Oyster Sauce
- 4½ Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Ketchup
- Prepare yakisoba sauce by combining all ingredients together. Keep aside.
- Keep all your ingredients ready and cut. Cut vegetables and also cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Cook noodles as per package instructions until soft (that will take 2 minutes).
- Heat up a wok, wait for it to get hot and pour in oil.
- Stir in onion and green onion. Keep over high heat and stir cook until they get a bit soft.
- Stir in carrot and mushroom. Don't reduce the heat and keep on stir cooking for a minute or two.
- Add the chicken and stir cook until the chicken looks a bit cooked.
- Stir in cabbage and keep over the heat, stirring continuously until cabbage is looking a bit softened.
- Now add the cooked noodles. Keep over high heat.
- Season with black pepper and pour homemade yakisoba sauce over the noodles.
- Quickly mix and stir cook everything over high heat until you have a well-blended chicken yakisoba dish.
- Serve up and enjoy hot.
- You can use dried or fresh shiitake mushrooms. Dried mushrooms can be rehydrated in some water. If you don't have shiitake, use another mushroom.
- 2 portions of yakisoba noodles or instant ramen packs (without the packaging seasoning) or 1 pack Chinese chow mein (aka low mein noodles).