Wholesome Cook

Yakisoba soba (with chilli octopus)

Time flies and it was only last week that I came to truly realise this. I was talking to Mum, who made a comment in passing that my passport was about to expire next year, and so, in a seemingly related way my memory of the wonderfully rich and addictive flavours of the yakisoba noodles, was prompted. It’s been almost 10 years, I thought to myself, since I was first introduced to the slinky noodle dish served with my favourite side of char-grilled chilli octopus

I’ve been back since, of course. Ducking across the Harbour at lunch time to savour only the best yakisoba I’ve ever had, enjoying every strand of noodly goodness as if it were the last while hiding from CityRail safety guards on the North Shore line train back into town. It was probably the only time and the only reason why I would put my fate in the hands of the city’s rail system even though there were only 2 short stops between me and my beloved sweet and spicy soy noodles, I just couldn’t wait that long. It may come as a surprise though, that the dish of such splendour was procured from a little Asian food court spot (Motto Motto – I had to refer to Google to jog my memory) inside Greenwood Plaza, but may I just say, it was worth every minute of that dreaded train trip.

Now, it’s been a while, and judging from my Google research above, the place still exists, but at least now I’ve perfected the recipe to the point at which it resembles the Greenwood noodles so much, I can hardly tell the difference and I no longer have to rely on the trains to get my fix. Win win. Oh, and in case you were curious, yakisoba refers to  the sauce and does not actually mean that soba noodles are used in the original recipe. However, I actually prefer it with soba, “yakisoba soba” drives the spell checker mad!

Serves 2

Yakisoba soba (with chilli octopus)

I like to use organic soba noodles, to make the dish a little more wholesome considering the dark rich soy sauce is quite high in sugar. I also add a dash more chilli to the mix because I like my noodles spicy – Malaysian Sambal paste is great, or just a pinch of the good old chilli powder. Omit octopus for a quicker vegetarian version. One note on octopus: for tenderness in this recipe, flash fry on high heat for no longer than 30 seconds on each side, otherwise stew or braise for at least 30 minutes.

{Printable recipe}

For the yakisoba sauce:

  • 2 tbsp kecap manis (sweet thick soy sauce)
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp ketchup // or tomato sauce
  • (chilli to taste)

For the yakisoba soba:

  • 50g dry soba noodles
  • 1 (120g) carrot, julienned
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced finely
  • 1 sprig spring onion, sliced
  • 3 tbsp peanut oil

For the chilli octopus:

  • 300g baby octopus, cleaned
  • 2 red long chillies, chopped finely
  • 1 sprig coriander, chopped finley
  • 1 lime, juice and zest

To marinate the chilli octopus: combine all ingredients in a ceramic bowl and mix well. Cover with cling film and allow to marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

To make the yakisoba sauce: combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Season to taste with chilli.

To make the yakisoba soba: cook soba noodles according to packet instructions, but a minute shorter than it would in boiling water – see note on packet about stir frying cooking option. Drain, rinse with cold running water and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of peanut oil in a wok until smoking hot. Add carrot and onion and stir fry for 30 seconds or so. Add extra oil and noodles then pour over yaki soba sauce. Stir fry the noodles for about a minute to allow them to soak up the sauce. Transfer to a serving bowl.

To cook the octopus: return wok to heat and add 1 tbsp peanut oil. Heat until smoking. Add octopus and stir fry for about a minute to allow all the pieces to cook through. Trasfer into a warmed serving bowl.

To serve: mix chilli octopus into the noodles, or serve separately as a side.


Joanne February 20, 2012 at 12:59 pm

I just showed this to my husband, he loves octopus! Looks delicious.

geet2go February 20, 2012 at 1:46 pm

So pleased to have stumbled onto your blog. The recipes certainly look delicious, but what I’m really enjoying here are your pictures – they’re terrific! Definitely an area that I need to improve in hehe, and I’m definitely overdue for some proper yakisoba myself :)
Thanks for sharing!

Maureen February 20, 2012 at 2:32 pm

That dish comes alive in your photos. Really good!

Mez February 20, 2012 at 3:49 pm

LOVE the food styling in this!!!! I adore Soba Noodles – they are the latest craze to hit my cooking repertoire… I’m bookmarking this recipe for later this week, it sounds so delicious!


rsmacaalay February 20, 2012 at 5:45 pm

I love the photos! very vibrant and very appetizing. Makes me wanna dig in.

Jennifer (Delicieux) February 20, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Yum!!! I love yakisoba, it’s one of my favourite japanese dishes (a vegetarian version of course). Yours looks fantastic. My octopus loving fiance would love it!

Three-Cookies February 20, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Its quite interesting that yakisoba sauce is made from non-Japanese ingredients. I would have never guessed.

Anna @ the shady pine February 20, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Nice ingredients in this dish and I enjoy eating my soba noodles any time!

TasteFood February 21, 2012 at 3:41 am

Lovely recipe – it has all of my favorite ingredients.

Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking February 21, 2012 at 5:03 am

What a beautiful and adventurous dish! I’ll try anything once, and I’d love to try this. Thanks for sharing. You have a very nice blog and I’m glad to have found you!

sara (Belly Rumbles) February 21, 2012 at 11:04 am

I love yakisoba. Look at those big juicy occy, yum.

Nami | Just One Cookbook February 21, 2012 at 6:33 pm

Yay I love Yakisoba and often cooks on weekend lunch (that’s how my mom was cooking this dish every Saturday as my dad loves this dish). I usually put squid but not octopus. I definitely need to try with octopus. I can already hear my husband saying he likes octopus with chili! ;-)

Sydney Jones February 22, 2012 at 6:09 am

This dish sounds and looks absolutely amazing! I haven’t had octopus in a very long time, I’ll have to wait until I can get it fresh. I am bookmarking this one :) Yummy! Your photos looks awesome, by the way!!!

Purely.. Kay February 22, 2012 at 9:16 am

You really make octopus look amazingly good. But I still don’t think I have the heart to actually try it lol. But you really made me think twice about it.. :)

kat February 23, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Mmmm I love yakisoba! This looks amazing!!

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