The Poor Girl’s Guide to Yakisoba

I cannot wait for February to end.

Mainly because it means that it will be March, and I will be on holiday,  but also because I’ve just looked at my bank account to see that my balance is horribly depleted (mostly due to my frivolous spending). Mercifully, payday is close by, but as I scour the kitchen shelves to feed myself this feeling brought me back to my days as a student, and what I used to cook at university.

My idea of fast food growing up was my mom making me yakisoba, or fried Japanese noodles. I always seem to have the ingredients for my cobbled-together, frugal version of this meal to hand. It is by no means the proper, traditional recipe (so please don’t tell my old-school Japanese grandmother), but it is cheap, healthy and tasty which is fine by me.

The first time I cooked for Mr. A, I attempted to impress him by making yakisoba. Unfortunately it’s not one of those dishes you can just leave on the stove and come back to – it needs constant supervision. At the time, I was too busy paying attention to him instead and all the noodles clumped together to make one super noodle. It was seriously embarrassing and Mr. A referred to it as ‘noodle surprise’. Luckily he lived above a chip shop in Manchester at the time so neither of us were subjected to this monstrosity.

However, I like to think that I have learned many things since my time at university and how to cook noodles properly is one of them. For this recipe, you will need:

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What you’ll need:
Packet of udon or rice noodles
Spring onions
1 tbsp of oil (I used sesame)
4 tbsp soy sauce
Dash of Worcester sauce
Egg
Mayonnaise
Dried seaweed, nori
Peas
Garlic

If you have bought dried noodles, start to boil them in a saucepan. Ready to cook noodles can go in towards the end. Once the pan has come to a boil, strain the noodles and the rinse the noodles with cold water. This will keep them from clumping up (and becoming Super Noodle, or Noodle Surprise). They will be heated through again once they are fried.

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In a frying pan or wok, fry the spring onions and garlic in a wok on a high heat with a dash of pepper until they are lightly toasted. Add the soy and worcester sauce, then turn down the heat.

IMG_7518Pour the noodles into the pan with the sauce and vegetables.

IMG_7521Stir through until each noodle is coated in the sauce, and add the peas. As you would with a carbonara, crack an egg into the noodle mixture and stir it through so that the egg is incorporated into the mixture. (If you are vegan, you can leave the egg out, it will not make much difference). Once the egg has cooked, dish out the noodles.

IMG_7523Once served, add a little mayonnaise and sprinkle the nori seaweed on top. The nori will give it a crunchy texture. I love nori. So much that I named my cat after it.

And there you have it! This dish is pretty versatile – it is easily vegan friendly (just leave out the egg and mayo), and if you’re one of those people who can’t accept a meal without meat in it then this is a great meal to have with bacon. Just use sparingly, if you insist on keeping the mayo in, too.