Recipe: Hokkien yakisoba

At the risk of purists hurling eggs at me, I am sharing Hokkien mee using chukamen, a type of Japanese noodles.

Yakisoba is Japanese for fried noodles. It's explained in 1001 Foods To Die For that in yakisoba, the noodles used are a Chinese-style, yellow, alkaline, wheat flour noodles called chukamen.

Interestingly, yakisoba is not part of traditional Japanese cuisine.

In the book The Untold History of Ramen: How Political Crisis In Japan Spawned A Global Food Craze, the author tells of how the dish came into being after the US introduced American wheat to the Japanese diet.

Post-war, yakisoba was one of the delicacies sold on the black market at exorbitant prices.

Expect to pay more for chukamen - Japanese yellow noodles - since it is an imported product.

The texture of chukamen is springy and I found that I could pre-cook the noodles in prawn stock for a longer time to really soak up the flavour without the risk of losing its texture.


340g prawns

460g squid

390g chukamen

5 garlic cloves, chopped

100g garlic chives, cut into 5cm lengths

3 eggs, beaten

4 tbsp shallot oil

1 tbsp cornflour

¼ tsp sugar

Fried shallots

For prawn stock:

15 prawn shells

15g ginger, bruised

5 garlic cloves, skins on, bruised

700ml water


2 tbsp fish sauce

1 tbsp light soy sauce

Small pinch of sugar

Dash of pepper


A. Photo: The New Paper

1. Marinate the prawns in cornflour and sugar and chill for 30 minutes. (A) Rinse with water.

2. Bring the water to a boil in a pot.

3. Add prawn shells, ginger and whole garlic cloves. Boil for 20 to 30 minutes. Strain and reserve the prawn stock.

4. In a deep frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and fry half a teaspoon of chopped garlic for 30 seconds before adding the noodles.

5. Add enough prawn stock to cover the noodles mid-way and cook until the cooking liquid reduces. Season with 1 tablespoon of fish sauce. Remove the noodles from pan and set aside.

6. Rinse the pan. Heat the remaining oil and fry garlic until fragrant. Add the egg.

B. Photo: The New Paper

7. Add the noodles. Stir-fry. (B)

C. Photo: The New Paper

8. Add the prawn and squid. (C)

9. Add the garlic chives.

10. Add the remaining seasoning.

11. Serve hot and garnish with fried shallots.

This article was first published on September 25, 2016.
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