Do You Yaki-Soba?

I am a copycat cook. My family will tell you that when they order something new at a restaurant and enjoy it, I will examine the plate—discreetly, of course—and decide if I can re-create the dish at home. I’ve been successful on a number of occasions, and when I wasn’t sure of myself, I surfed the internet for the recipe.

Re-creating Asian dishes, however, has not been within my area of expertise. The many different kinds of vegetables and the endless chopping has made for a less than successful outcome. To that end my family has happily dined at our favorite Asian restaurants, leaving the preparation to those who are more experienced. Sigh.

At least we did, until our favorite eatery changed owners and the new management eliminated yakisoba dishes from the menu. Two of my family members were quite disappointed with the loss. I decided, despite my former failures, to try duplicating the dinner.

Yakisoba noodles are Japanese cuisine. I had seen dry packages of them on a grocer’s shelf, but when I began my search, the item was missing. I asked at the store’s specialty section and was told they didn’t carry the packaged noodles any longer, but I could find fresh ones in the produce section next to the mushrooms. Score!

The instructions suggested running the noodles under hot water to loosen them, but I found steaming in a double boiler worked better. I picked up ready-to-use stir fry vegetables and added my own supply of julienned carrots, celery, peppers and leeks to the mix. The first attempt was made with diced beef, the second, chopped chicken. The dish got rave reviews.

Proverbs 31 lists all the qualities a virtuous woman possesses. One of the verses mentions the preparation of food for her household. While I can’t claim all the traits the virtuous woman exhibits, my family will tell you I can find ways to feed them.

And yes, they do rise up and call me blessed!  

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