Yakisoba with eringii and abura-age

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Today, yakisoba, the Japanese version of Chinese fried noodles. Well, that’s my version of it… well, one of them. See others at the end of this post.

Yakisoba is fast-food normally. It’s often sold cheaply on street stalls, at festivals and the teppanyaki (hot plate) shops propose it too. The basic version is made mostly with :

-chuka soba (fresh Chinese noodles that are sold fresh and cooked, they look like thick spaghetti and if you have none, cooked thick spaghetti can be used)
-oil

That’s why we said it’s fried noodles, no mystery. And low amounts of :

-cabbage (cut in big squares)
-additional veggies (cut in thin slices), few and cheap ones (bean sprouts, onion, carrot, some kind of leeks…)
-a little raw meat (thin slices of pork), or cheap seafood, or ham…
-sauce (specific sauce or thickened Worcester sauce or a mix of Worcester + ketchup…), plus additional ketchup or mayo if you want
-pickled ginger, toppings…

My version uses what I have in my fridge, and it’s usually healthier.

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So, I had abura age (fried tofu) as meat.

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A few Eringi mushrooms as meat too.


2013-10-031 I had a leftover of green papaya.

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I first toasted the abura-age (fried tofu pockets), set aside. Then with a little garlic and ginger : onion, eringi mushrooms, green papaya, cabbage and shishito green peppers. To the veggies, I’ve added fresh Chinese noodles (chuka soba), sauce (Bulldog).

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I’ve added the abura-age to the rest. I have about half of veggies, less than one third of noodles. That’s how I like it.

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On top, a little more sauce, shichimi togarashi (7 spice mix) and cut green negi leeks.

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casual

mizuna

healthy

shahan (Chinese)

lettuce

buckwheat soba

A moon filled of greens

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It’s shaped like a pupusa, but I think normally they are made of corn masa and filled with cheese. So this is a free style re-interpretation, I’ve just taken the shape. It’s very tasty, crispy and filling.

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The filling : miso + sakekasu (sake lees) and a little water to get a cream texture. Then minced onion, garlic and ginger. The greens are stalks of romanesco (diced) and cut kikuna (chrysanthemum greens)
The crust is likely to break a little, so the filling shouldn’t be too liquid.

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The dough is like for tortilla. Today : a mix of white and whole flour, chili flakes, black pepper, a little olive oil, hot water. I didn’t add salt as the filling is very salty already due to the miso. I cooked it in a frying pan without fat.

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Garnished with sauce for okonomiyaki (a veggie Worcester sauce).

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The nicest leaves of kikuna as a side salad with black rice vinegar and sesame oil.

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Then cut and eat while hot.

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I heart skewers

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Mini yakitori lunch with skewers of chicken hearts. But let’s start with veggies :

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Red sweet pepper.

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Summer kabocha.

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Chilled cream :
I put in the blender boiled kabocha, a raw red pepper, a few steamed shimeji mushrooms, a little miso and 2 tbs of roast sesame.
Served very cold with freshly ground black pepper on top.
It’s sweet, feeling and refreshing.

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Chicken hearts and green sweet pepper skewers. To grill in the oven-toaster.

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I’ve painted a few times the hearts with this so-su ( Worscester-style sauce).

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Konnyaku noodles and sweet chili sauce.

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Midori negiyaki, always greener

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A good lunch : midori negiyaki. Midori means green. Negiyaki is the Osakan hot-plate crepe filled with negi greens, the cousin of okonomiyaki. (Click here for a detailed recipe.)

Of course, a negiyaki is always green. Today, it’s greener, and garnished with an egg. It’s Spring !

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How can it be greener ?
I have added to the batter, the grounds of juicing . Pasted spinach can do the trick too.

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Also, I had a few stalks of spinach that served to volume up the negi. Normally, only the green part of negi is used, but I have kept some of the white and some onion that I stir-fried to decorate the bottom (and flavor it).

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Cooking, adding the egg, covering, flipping…

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Funny how the egg yolk popped up.

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I garnished with Bulldog sauce (Japanese “Worcester”), fish flakes and dry chili.

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First side-dish : hearts of romaine salad with black vinegar dressing.

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Second side-dish : tofu. Yes, there is a dessert (more about it here).

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Osaka’s famous takoyaki. Part 2 : At home (tutorial)

Let’s make the takoyaki presented in previous post.
(click here)

That’s a street-stall food, but some people have lots of fun making takoyaki parties at home, especially with the kids. If you can find the “iron plate”, try it.

Raw octopus.
Tako =octopus. It’s a compulsory ingredient. If you skip it, you don’t get takoyaki. Find another name…

I’m giving you the classic recipe. Feel free to substitute any ingredient you want. We’ve seen everything in those parties…

The tako has to be beaten and boiled. You can buy it boiled. You don’t need much. 1 to 3 bits per ball.

I bought these. The tenkasu (tempura crumbs) are easy to make if you fry tempura. You pour the leftover of batter in drops in the oil at the end, and you get tenkasu. We can get them in all supermarkets, very cheap, it’s convenient. You could replace with some crumbed shrimp flavored chips. Beni-shoga is vinegar pickled ginger.

Batter recipe :
For 18 big takoyaki

1 egg (M size)
70 g cake flour
1 teaspoon soy sauce
300 ml dashi stock*
1/2 tsp sugar + 1/4 spoon salt (you can skip both)

*you can make dashi (recipe here), use instant, or mix powder dry fish to water (that’s what I do).
Combine everything, beat well, let 2 our 3 hours. If you want to use it without waiting, mix in a blender. That should be like crepe batter.

The piano… The pros have “takoyaki stoves” powered by gas under cast-iron plates. At home, you can use electric specific machines in teflon. Or put a cast-iron plate on any stove. I have a mini 6-hole, on my induction stove.

This mold is not exclusive to Japan. It’s used in different Asian countries. And also in Denmark to make ebelskiver pancakes. So European and American readers have high chances to find it on line or in local Chinatowns.

The picks are an essential tool. It’d better if they are longer (I have some, but they don’t look good).

My DIY oil brush. The pro use cotton thread oils. But they are tricky to clean.
If you have a modern electric non-stick takoyaki machine, it’s easy, just heat it and pass a little oil.
If you have old style, to avoid sticking prepare it this way :
1. Oil the whole plate holes and around. Heat it maximum, till it smokes. Cut. Re-oil.
2. Put again on low heat, pass oil and start…

1. fill the holes with batter,
2. add in the other ingredients. Don’t worry with a little overflow.

Then you need to train.
3. After 1 minute or more, start “cleaning” with the pick by pushing the over-flow into the holes.
4. When, you become able to move the half-balls, turn them vertically.
5. Add a little batter.
6.Then clean and turn again… They start very irregular but as you turn you can get perfect balls.

Courage ! 5 yr old Japanese kids can do it, if that can humiliat… I mean cheer you up. I’m joking, as I said before :

That’s insanely fun to roll them with your pick ! Make a bucket of batter, and you’ll find you can’t stop rolling some… and you’ll continue when even your dog will no longer eat some more.

For serving, sauces and toppings, see here (click).