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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Chicken Yakisoba Recipe- Gluten Free, Paleo Option, Vegan Option, Allergy Friendly

Yakisoba made with the vegetables listed below, plus with the addition of swiss chard

In my house growing up, my mom, despite being a very adventurous cook in general, and teaching me to love foods from cuisines around the world, had very specific ideas about what flavors and foods could and couldn't get together. Fruit did not go with vegetables, and onions with fruit were an anathema to her. (When people gave us fruit chutney with onions, you wouldn't believe her incredulous reaction.)
One of those combinations that my mom considered a strict no-no were tomatoes and soy sauce- tomatoes were something Italian, soy sauce Asian, and never the twain shall meet... For the longest time, even after I rid myself of most of my mom's particular cooking ideas, and even after I began to embrace fusion cooking, I still couldn't wrap my head around the concept of tomatoes or tomato based anything with soy sauce, as tomatoes 'had no place in Asian cooking' (which isn't entirely accurate anyhow).
Imagine my surprise, therefore, to learn about yakisoba, an authentic (if relatively modern) Japanese recipe, that was made with tomato based ketchup, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce! I've been trying to find out the history of the sauce, how the fusion dish came about (and am in the middle of reading a book about the end of the shogunate in Japan and the beginning of western influence on Japanese society in the middle of the 1800s), but I am not finding a definitive answer, though I suspect it has something to do with the "westernization" of Japan, and then adapted post World War Two (but would appreciate further clarification)...


Yakisoba, meaning fried noodles, is a stir fry made with vegetables (and often meat or fish), a sweet and sour Worcestershire sauce based sauce, and noodles (typically ramen or buckwheat noodles). There are many different variations- you can use whatever vegetables you want in it, and whatever meat or fish you have available. In Okinawa, hot dogs are a common addition. Yakisoba is often sold in a bun with the name yakisoba-pan (and apparently is extra delicious that way, though I haven't tried it and will admit that pasta in a bun sounds weird to me, but then again macaroni and cheese sandwiches are also a thing).
As much as I like terriyaki style sauces for stir fry, yakisoba is a fun way to change it up, and despite my original misgivings, the seemingly strange combination of Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, and soy sauce works very well and tastes great.

Yakisoba, exactly as written in the recipe

Because I avoid grains and try to stick to a paleo diet, I'm not able to make this the traditional way for myself, so I made mine with spaghetti squash. I've served stir fry with yakisoba sauce over rice, which is also not traditional, but that's ok.

To keep mine more or less Paleo, I used homemade worcestershire sauce made with nearly entirely paleo ingredients, homemade ketchup (sweetened with date syrup), and homemade hot sauce, and sweetened it with a paleo approved sweetener. I will admit that I used non paleo gluten free soy sauce since it doesn't seem to bother me, but it would work just as well with coconut aminos (of which I am currently out).
Though I made mine with the listed vegetables the first time, I've since made it with different vegetable combinations, and it's good each time. Use whatever vegetables are cheapest or you have available to you- it doesn't matter. What matters more is the sauce and that is pretty easy to make, assuming you have the different condiments that are the various components of the sauce. And if you don't- whipping up batches of these different condiments is relatively easy (I've since discovered that there is no need to let your worcestershire sauce sit for a few weeks before using- just simmer it for 30 minutes and use immediately), and then you'll have them on hand for a variety of different dishes.

Feel free to replace the chicken with ground chicken, turkey, or beef crumbles, or fish of choice, or simply leave out the animal protein to keep it vegan.

Chicken Yakisoba Recipe- Gluten Free, Paleo Options, Allergy Friendly

Yakisoba Sauce Ingredients
1/4 cup soy sauce (gluten free or regular) or coconut aminos
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce (homemade is best but store bought is fine)
2 tablespoons ketchup (homemade is healthier but store bought is fine)
2 tablespoons date syrup or jaggery syrup or honey or other sweetener of choice
1-3 teaspoons hot sauce- I use homemade; you can use any hot sauce you like to taste
1 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger pr 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
1 tablespoon starch- potato, tapioca, corn, or sweet potato (optional)
Chicken Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup chopped chicken breast- a little less than one whole chicken breast. Feel free to increase this amount if desired.
2 tablespoon oil of choice
1 large pinch salt
Stir Fry Ingredients:
1 medium onion
5 medium mushrooms- 1 1/2 cups chopped
4 medium carrots julienned- approx 3 cups chopped
2 medium zucchini- approx 5 cups chopped
Oil as needed
1 pack spaghetti, linguini, or angel hair pasta, gluten free or otherwise, cooked rice, 1-2 cooked butternut squashes (depending on size), or zucchini "noodles" as desired.
Sesame seeds (optional)
Red pepper flakes (optional)

Instructions:
1. If using chicken, chop up, salt, and stir fry in oil, mixing constantly, until fully cooked. Remove from the pan and side aside.

2. Chop up your vegetables. Saute your onions in oil until starting to brown, then add the mushrooms and cook until browned. Add the carrots and cook until soft. Add the zucchini and cook until just barely al dente. If using other veggies, add in whatever you prefer, with the longer cooking vegetables or vegetables that need browning, added first, and the vegetables needing shorter cooking times added later on, so that they don't get mushy.

3. Mix your sauce ingredients. Add ingredients more or less to taste. There's no absolutes about proportions to add- I included the ratio I like, but feel free to mix this up according to your tastes. Add starch if you want- it makes the sauce thicker, but isn't required.

4. Add the cooked chicken (if using) and sauce to your vegetables, and cook until the sauce is heated thoroughly, and if using starch, until thickened.

5. If desired, add in your pasta or zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash, and heat up for a few additional minutes. Alternatively, just put the stir fry onto your noodles or rice on a plate (even though that does kind of mess up the whole point of this "fried noodles" thing if you don't even stir fry them together, but I don't think that's a big deal).

6. Garnish individual plates with sesame seeds and hot pepper flakes if desired.

Enjoy!

Ever have yakisoba before, either homemade or not? What was in it? Does this look like a recipe you'd try?
Do you or did you have any food hang ups about what foods should or shouldn't go together? What were they, and if you managed to get over them, how?

5 comments:

  1. Japan modernized in the 1920's. The big hit there is mayonaise, which is sweet and loaded with MSG.
    Ketchup is common with breaded fried pork, like a schitzel.
    The brown sauce, which each restaurant makes from a secret recipe, has been replaced outside of Japan with worchestshire. It is a case of if you don't know what it is supposed to taste like, you can't complain. There are bottled brown sauces sold their, but they are closer to HP sauce, though not very than whorchestshire

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    Replies
    1. Sweet mayonnaise in Japan? I lived there for many years and the only mayonnaise I ever came across was a very salty savory (delicious!) one, the most famous brand of which was called "Kewpie."

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    2. Just want to chime in. I've had Kewpie and compared to western mayo, it is sweeter and tangier. Maybe we're all perceiving the same flavor differently!

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  2. I've had yakisoba several times and I don't think it is normally made by mixing ketchup and soy sauce. It is made with chuno sauce which does taste like a mixture of the two (and why many recipes recommend them as a substitute if you don't have an asian grocery store near you).

    I think you would love to try making your own version of okonomiyaki as well since it uses the same sauce!

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  3. Sounds delicious! I think I will try this!

    ReplyDelete

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