Yakisoba (やきそば) and Oden (おでん)

We had our friend Mike (my IT guy for this site) over to celebrate his birthday. We decided on a Japanese menu of oden, yaki soba, and gyoza. This was a big deal for me because I’d be cooking things that Aya has never made. But luckily what we picked is pretty simple.

Oden is a very traditional winter Japanese food which ingredients consist of hard boiled egg, konnyaku, daikon radish, and various processed fish cakes cooked slowly in a light soy flavored broth. Japanese Seven Elevens sell this instead of hot dogs. It’s also a very common bar food. To be honest, this is far from my favorite dish, but to me as an outsider, this tastes and smells like Japan.

Yakisoba is a stir-fry noodle dish with sauce that has many variations. Some with or without meat, and all kinds of vegetable variations. We used carrots, cabbage, onions, and pork. You can buy packages than come with sauce, or you can make your own.



(Ingredients and quantity vary)

1 konnyaku
6 chikuwa (ground fish cake)
3 gobo maki (ground fish cake)
4 boiled eggs
1/2 medium size daikon radish in 1 inch slices
1 package of oden soup mix

This was easy. I bought a package that all I had to do was add water to make the broth. I boiled the eggs, sliced the daikon radishes, cut the fish cakes, tossed them all in the pot and let it cook on low for a few hours.


3 packages of yakisoba cooked noodles (just follow the instructions on the package. Some noodles are already cooked and some you need to cook. The pack we used were already cooked)
3 carrots cut matchstick style
1/4 head of cabbage sliced
1 onion sliced
2 pork filets sliced thin lengthwise

Sauce (we tripled this for three servings, so adjust accordingly)
2Tbs Worcester sauce
2Tb tonnkatsu sauce
2 tsp oyster sauce

Saute pork, carrots, cabbage, and onions with a little oil. Set aside. Heat 1 table spoon of oil in pan on medium-high. Add noodles and cook for a few minutes. Turn heat to low and add vegetables and pork. Stir in sauce and serve. We served ours with a fried egg on top garnished with beni shoga (pickled ginger) and aonori (seaweed powder. It’s the Japanese equivalent of garnishing with parsley).

Maple Sage Pork, Stuffed Apples, Creamed Spinach, and Sweet Potato Carrot Soup

This was my mom’s birthday dinner. And before you think, “Oh, that’s so nice you cooked for you mom,” I should tell you her birthday was three months ago in August. But we still tried to make it special. Everything I made was from Cooking Light and all very good, except the spinach was a little lame in my opinion. It was good, but not great. This is probably my favorite pork tenderloin recipe I’ve tried so far too. So good, and soooo easy.


Maple Sage Pork

Savory Baked Apples

Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup

Creamed Spinach with Mushrooms


Miso and Butter Sauteed Pork Donburi (豚肉のみそバター焼き丼)

I did get to eat this (that’s why the photo is from Aya’s phone) when Aya’s mom made it, but Aya loved it and said it was super easy.

300g (about 1/2 to 3/4lb) thinly sliced pork shoulder
2Tb butter
2 Tb potato starch
Sauce: 1Tb sugar, 4Tb miso, 4Tb Japanese cooking wine
1 small head of lettuce
8 shiso leaves
2tsp ground white sesame seeds

  1. Chop shiso and lettuce into thin strips.
  2. Slice the pork into bite size pieces and coat with potato starch.
  3. Mix A together.
  4. Melt butter in a pan and saute both sides of pork.  Add sauce.
  5. Serve rice in a bowl and top with the lettuce, shiso, pork, and sprinkle ground sesame seeds on top.

Pork and Lotus Root Oyster Sauce Stir Fry (豚肉とレンコンのオイスターソース炒め)

Lotus root, or “renkon,” is one of my favorite Asian vegetables. For one, it looks cool, and two, it has a mild taste with a nice crunchy texture. You can use it in a bunch of different ways, but this dish is pretty straight forward with a simple sauce. Aya’s mom made a daicon salad, miso soup, and rice to accompany the meal.


Pork and Lotus Root Oyster Sauce Stir Fry

300g (about 3/4 lb) lotus root (renkon)
100g (about 1/4 lb) thinly sliced pork
1 clove minced garlic
Sauce: 2Tb oyster sauce, 2tb soy sauce, 2tb Japanese cooking wine
Sliced almonds for garnish
Pinch of sugar
1Tb vegetable oil

  1. Slice the pork into 1″ strips.
  2. Slice the lotus root into 1/16″ thickness and soak in water.
  3. Heat oil in frying pan and saute garlic.
  4. Add pork and once browned, add the lotus root.(be careful not to over cook and lose crispy texture)
  5. Add sauce, pinch of sugar, and stir.
  6. Serve hot on plate and garnish with almond slices on top.

Ponzu and Soy Sauce Sauteed Japanese Vermicelli w/ Green Pepper(ピーマンと春雨のポン酢醤油炒め)

While we were in Japan, I didn’t copy any of Aya’s mom’s recipes, but with her here, I’m determined to copy as much as I can. A lot of these seem fairly simple and easy and I’d love to be able to cook Japanese more for Ellie and Aya.

This normally calls for asparagus, but since it isn’t in season anymore, Aya’s mom used green pepper that was plentiful from our garden.


Ponzu and Soy Sauce Sauteed Japanese Vermicelli w/ Green Pepper

100g Japanese vermicelli (harusame noodles)
200g (about half a lb) ground pork
1 large green pepper thinly sliced
40g (about a 1/3 cup) thinly sliced carrot
30g (about a 1/4 cup) sliced Chinese leek (or green onions if leeks are not available)
A) 1tb vegetable oil
1/2tb sesame oil
1tb minced fresh ginger
1tb minced garlic
1 chopped chili pepper
B) 4tb Ponzu sauce
3tb “straight” somen tsuyu
2tb water
C) 1/2tb potato starch
1tb water

  1. Boil the vermicelli and cut it randomly to prevent long strands.
  2. Cook A and add the ground pork until browned.
  3. Add the cooked vermicelli and B.
  4. Add the thinly sliced carrot, green pepper, and Chinese leek.
  5. Once everything is stirred and cooked together, add C.