Shio koji’s simple ingredients dramatically enhance the flavors for yakisoba, it adds nice umami flavor and elegant tastes to this classic Japanese noodle dish.
Yakisoba (焼きそば) is a popular Japanese stir fried noodle dish similar to chow mein. The noodles are much thinner than the Chinese version and it’s seasoned with Worcestershire-like sauce instead of soy sauce.
Recently, a college friend in Japan shared a picture of her bento on Facebook and I was really intrigued because it was Yakisoba seasoned with shio koji. I knew this would be fun and tasty to try!
Flavor Up Yakisoba with Shio Koji
Fermented from a mixture of malted rice, salt and water, Shio Koji is a century-old all purpose seasoning in Japan. It wasn’t being used as widely in the modern Japanese home kitchen until it made a comeback again. I was totally taken by surprise with its elegant flavor and how it enhances the flavor of yakisoba so dramatically. This versatile seasoning adds nice umami to the simple combination of noodles, meat, and veggies. It must have something to do with the enzymes in shio koji that draw out sweetness from the starches of the noodles and the other ingredients. Instead using a lot of yakisoba sauce on the noodles, I now use shio koji in my yakisoba as the alternative. It tastes much better, you’ll have to try it to believe it.
Yakisoba is really simple to make and it’s versatile. Throw in your favorite protein (chicken, shrimp, sausages, etc) and veggies in a wok and finish it with noodles and seasonings. It’s a great weeknight meal for a busy day.
If you love stir fried noodles, I hope you give this Shio Koji Yakisoba a try!
By the way, Hikari Miso is currently hosting sweepstakes to give away 30 Shio Koji bottles on their website (U.S. only). Entries will be accepted until 11:59 pm PST December 15, 2013 (2 more days!). Don’t miss out on a chance to win a bottle! You can click here to enter. Good luck!
Note: If you cannot find shio koji, use 1/2 tsp. salt for marinating and 1 to 1 1/2 tsp. salt for seasoning instead for this recipe. However, I haven’t tried seasoning with just salt yet. If you want the regular Yakisoba recipe, please click here.
Hikari Miso products are available in Japanese grocery stores and Amazon.
Shio Koji Yakisoba
- ½ lb sliced pork belly (cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces)
- 1 Tbsp shio koji (for marinating pork belly; I used Hikari Miso Shio Koji)
- 2 Tbsp neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, rice bran, canola, etc.)
- 2 cloves garlic (sliced)
- 2 cups chopped cabbage (about 4 cabbage leaves)
- 1 ½ cup bean sprouts
- ⅓ cup julienned carrot
- 3 servings yakisoba noodles (13 oz, 375 g)
- 1 Tbsp sake (can substitute it with water)
- 2 Tbsp water
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp shio koji
- aonori (dried green laver seaweed) (sprinkling on top)
- Put the pork belly in a bowl, add shio koji and marinate for 30 minutes.
- Heat a wok or pan with oil over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to smoke, add the garlic and meat and stir-fry until the meat is no longer pink.
- Add the cabbage, bean sprouts, and carrots into the wok and stir-fry until they are tender.
- Add the noodles, sake, water, soy sauce, and shio koji. Continue to stir until the noodles are well blended with the seasonings and completely cooked through. Transfer to plates and sprinkle aonori. Serve immediately.
- You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 3 days and in the freezer for a month.