In regards to new year’s resolutions, I am not much of a resolution-type of person. However, I try to be the type to continually improve. It doesn’t always work. But sometimes I can develop a new good habit that I stick with.
Every few months I try to re-organize my pantry. When I was a kid, I lived in a household where we had a large pantry, filled with a large variety of food. So when I moved out, I picked up the same habit to always keep a well-stocked pantry. I’m also the type that when I go to a gourmet market, to pick up more products than I can use at one time. So the pantry gets even more full, and becomes more difficult to keep organized.
So for my “resolution”, I told myself that this year I would limit the amount of purchases which bulk up the pantry, except to those that I continually use. It hasn’t been perfect, and things are still disorganized. However, I have noticed that the grocery bill has been going down, any my amount of food waste has gone down. What I’ve discovered, is that its way easier to meal plan when I have a pantry containing less variety, and more consistency. To where I don’t have the random odd ingredient that is only used maybe one time a year.
When looking for recipes to cook, I’ve been looking for those that are easy to reproduce, focus more on fresh produce, and where I can use some of the random ingredients in my pantry. So when I was going through the latest issue of Kyou no Ryouri, I was excited to find a few recipes which fit my criteria above.
When I saw a recipe for yakisoba in the most recent issue of Kyou no Ryouri, I definitely had to try it. Yakisoba is one of my favorite foods. Fried noodles with vegetables, pork, and a tangy sauce; topped with aonori (finely flaked seaweed) and katsuobushi (shaved bonito flakes). My favorite way to buy yakisoba in Japan is either from a food truck or food stand. Usually served in a small plastic container, it’s the perfect snack.
Since January’s issue of KnR had a focus on substituting to make recipes healthier, the yakisoba recipe traded the wheat noodles with shirataki noodles. Shirataki noodles have been gaining exposure here in the U.S. as a gluten free health food, but has been a mainstay in Japanese cuisine. Made of konnyaku (a type of yam), shirataki noodles are also low in calories (in fact, most nutritional labels indicate they have zero calories). Plus, the pre-cooked shirataki noodles are a lot easier to use than wheat noodles. So you can have slightly less guilt if you’re trying to eat healthier, and you can spend less time cooking too!
I have altered this recipe from how it was originally printed in the magazine. However, if you do want the original recipe, you can find it in the January 2017 KnR issue or on their website. Balsamic vinegar is not typically used, but I liked the balance it gave to the sauce.
14 ounces shirataki noodles
1 cup thinly shredded cabbage
2 cups bean sprouts
½ cup onion, thinly sliced
2 ounces sliced pork belly (you can use bacon as a substitute), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
½ tablespoon sake
½ tablespoon soy sauce
½ tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
½ teaspoon grated ginger
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Beni shoga ginger
Aonori (if you can’t find aonori, you can buy nori and crumble into fine pieces)
Dried bonito flakes
Japanese mayonnaise (optional)
- Open the package of shirataki noodles and drain the liquid, then rinse in water. Heat a small saucepan of water and bring to a boil. Put the shirataki noodles into the boiling water and reduce heat to medium. Cook for two minutes, then empty out the shirataki into a colander, rinse with cold water, and let drain. This firms up the shirataki a little before frying them.
- In a small bowl, combine the Worcestershire sauce, sake, soy sauce, ketchup, balsamic vinegar, oyster sauce, and grated ginger.
- In a frying pan, heat 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil on medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the shirataki noodles and fry for two minutes, constantly stirring. After two minutes, push the noodles to one side of the pan, and add in the pork belly and fry. Fry the pork belly until the color starts to change (see photo below).
- When the pork belly starts to change color, add in the cabbage, bean sprouts, onion, and a pinch of salt. Sautee for a couple minutes then toss together the pork belly and shirataki noodles.
- Add the sauce into the frying pan, and toss to coat. Cook for a couple minutes to coat the ingredients in the sauce and make sure the pork belly is fully cooked. The vegetables should still have a slight crisp, and the noodles should not be mushy.
- Dish up the yakisoba onto two plates, then return the frying pan to the stove. Turn down heat to medium and add the remaining teaspoon of vegetable oil. Fry the two eggs to your preference.
- Garnish the yakisoba with the beni shoga, bonito flake, aonori. If using, squeeze a little mayonnaise over the top of the yakisoba. Top with the fried egg.