When I went to Italy for honeymoon, I had the pasta with only lemon, butter, and salt (a prosciutto slice on the side) for dinner. It was the simplest pasta I’ve ever had, but the most refreshing pasta which I could actually taste the noodle. I was actually a little full for dinner from the all the good foods I had in daytime, however, I could easily complete the plate of that lemon pasta. It was light but very delightful.
So I wanted to make lemony Asian noodle dish which is easy, not heavy, and lots of vegetables. I used the preserved lemon, fresh lemon juice, and lemon zests to enjoy three aspects of lemon. If you don’t have preserved lemon, just substitute it for 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon zests for your yakisoba sauce.
I noticed, in Italy (Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna), the pastas I had there had almost no garlic. I like the no garlic pastas because sometimes the garlic overpowers the dish. I don’t want strong garlic taste, but I wanted to add rich aroma and the depth of flavor to my yakisoba like the lemon pasta I had in Parma. I thought that the black garlic can add the complexity, enhance umami, and rich sweet aroma almost like a prune to my yakisoba without overpowering freshness of lemon. I buy a black garlic at Britt’s Pickles, the handmade old-school pickling deli, at the Pike Place market in Seattle.
To make yakisoba sauce, mince finely a rind of preserved lemon and a black garlic. A black garlic and a preserved lemon are sticky to cut, but you can mix well in sake and lemon juice to separate it out.
When I make yakisoba, I always sear the yakisoba noodle with sesame oil briefly to crisp up. I like my yakisoba noodle crispy outside and chewy inside. You can break apart the noodle in a pan. Set aside.
In the same pan, cook the vegetables. I like the cabbage and bean sprouts for crunchy texture. Yakisoba is the good dish to use left over vegetables. Just make sure not to overcook the vegetables for some crunchy elements.
You can add the noodle and sauce together over medium heat and let the noodle absorb all the sauce. Add bean sprouts and adjust seasoning with salt. You might want to add more salt depending on how salty your preserved lemon is. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds and green onion!
- 1 ea a clove of black garlic, finely minced
- ½ teaspoon preserved lemon, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons sake
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 package yakisoba noodle
- ¼ ea carrot, cut into julienne
- 5 oz cabbage, roughly chopped
- 3 oz bean sprout
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seed for topping
- 1 ea green onion, finely minced for topping
- Make a yakisoba sauce. Take a rind of a preserved lemon and mince finely. Mince finely a black garlic. Mix a preserved lemon, a black garlic, sake, salt, and lemon juice together.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in pan. Add a yakisoba noodle and stir fry to break apart the noodle for a few minutes until crispy and coated in oil. Set aside.
- In the same pan, heat 1 teaspoon of sesame oil and carrots and cabbage. Stir fry for a few minutes until carrots are crisp tender. Add the noodle and yakisoba sauce and stir fry until the noodle absorbs all the sauce. Add bean sprouts. Taste and adjust salt.
- Serve yakisoba in a bowl. Sprinkle green onion and toasted sesame seeds.