In China and Japan on New Year’s Day, long noodles are considered a lucky food because they symbolize long life. This spicy-sweet yakisoba recipe from Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto is Japanese street food at its best — quick, easy and incredibly flavorful.
It doesn’t take a lot of technique — just keep the ingredients moving — and you don’t even need a wok; a cast-iron pan works just fine. Yakisoba noodles and sauce are readily available at Asian markets, but if you can’t find them, substitute cooked ramen noodles and a homemade sauce of 2 tablespoons each ketchup and mirin, 4 tablespoons each soy and Worchestershire sauces, and a dash of sriracha.
Don’t be afraid to slurp when eating. That will bring even more luck.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 ounces pork shoulder, sliced thin
1/2 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
1/4 cup 2-inch-long matchsticks peeled carrot
1 cup roughly chopped (about 2 by 3/4-inch pieces) loosely packed white cabbage
5 1/2 ounce package refrigerated yakisoba noodles (a heaping cup)
2 tablespoons jarred yakisoba sauce
1 tablespoon shredded beni shoga (red pickled ginger)
1 heaping tablespoon bonito flakes
1/2 teaspoon aonori (powdered seaweed) or finely chopped nori seaweed sheets
Heat oil in a medium-wide nonstick or cast-iron skillet over high heat until oil shimmers. Add pork, onion and carrot and cook, stirring frequently, until pork is no longer pink, about 2 minutes. Add cabbage and cook, stirring, until it wilts slightly and the onion is lightly browned at the edges, about 3 minutes.
Add noodles and cook, tossing with tongs, until noodles are heated through. As you toss, gently separate the strands; if noodles don’t separate easily, add a splash of water to pan.
Add sauce and continue to cook, tossing, until thoroughly coated, about 1 minute. Season with more sauce to taste, toss well, and transfer to a bowl. Top with the pickled ginger, bonito flakes and aonori. Eat right away.
— “Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking” by Masaharu Morimoto (Ecco, Nov. 2016, $45)