When I was in college, one of my favourite snacks was a cup of Nissin Yakisoba Mix. It was easy to prepare (just add hot water) and filled me up enough to go through long nights studying for finals. It's also light enough to bring anywhere, not to mention, light on the pocket (especially when I had blown up my weekly allowance over the weekend).
Surely there must be a pack of yakisoba or instant noodles stocked in the pantry. Keep the noodles but throw away the MSG-laden powder packs please, because who needs processed flavouring when you can make a fresher and more flavourful one?
This version of yakisoba can be mixed and matched with whatever you have on-hand. For example, if you don't have a can of tuna, use other provisions like sardines or canned corned beef. Traditionally, vegetables in this stir-fry include cabbage, carrots and beansprouts, but you can also use other greens like Romaine lettuce or pechay/bok choy. These sulfurous vegetables balance the starchy noodles.
A heaping spoon-full of miso or dashi paste builds up the noodle dish; so does hard-boiled eggs. Meanwhile, young corn can be nicely grilled on a cast-iron skillet or nonstick pan, and added on to the yakisoba, for a nice smoky crunch, and for when you are reminiscing about your trips to Japan, past and future.
Cooking time: 15 minutes for stirfry / 10 minutes for grilled corn
1 can tuna in oil
300 grams yakisoba noodles or yellow egg noodles (if using instant noodles, allocate 2 packs)
1 cup wing beans, cut into small 1-centimetre pieces
1 head Romaine lettuce, shredded
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 small pack of young corn
dried chili flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
Sesame seeds (optional)
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
1. Heat sesame oil in wok for a minute at medium-high heat. Fry onions, then toss in greens (Romaine or Taiwanese pechay). You can also boil the eggs at this time.
2. Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a cast iron pan or grill, and add corn. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, chili flakes, garlic and sesame. Cook and add a tablespoon of water to let it steam and soften the corn.
3. Back to the yakisoba mix. Add garlic and tuna with its oil, as well as wing beans, on top of the bed of greens. You can also add traditional toppings of julienned carrots, cabbage strips and beansprouts instead of wing beans; it's really up to you. Toss to combine. Sprinkle salt, pepper, chilli flakes, furakake, sesame seeds while stirring.
Meanwhile, your eggs should be hard-boiled by now --a 6-minute rolling boil should do the trick if you want the egg yolks to have a bit of gloss; 8 minutes if you want a full hard boil and easy peel.
Also, check on the corn. Use tongs to roll corn around.
4. Add noodles into the yakisoba mix. Break them apart with a slotted spoon. If you are using instant packed noodles, you can add a few tablespoons of water to steam the noodles. Toss all the ingredients together until noodles are fully cooked.
5. Turn off heat and add slices of hardboiled eggs on the yakisoba. Add grilled pieces of young corn on top.