Alright. I think I’m starting to miss all my cookware and herb friends back in my kitchen. Is that crazy? Should I try to speak to more humans during the work day? I’ve only been away from San Francisco for almost a week now, but I feel the gravitational pull of my orange standmixer growing stronger. I oddly miss organizing my kitchen tool drawer and the space underneath our cabinets where stale loaves of bread, nuts, and random leftover baked goods go to die. Okay, yeah… I need to talk to more humans!
The point is… I miss my kitchen! Nothing against my mom’s kitchen, but I love feeling the groove of knowing where everything is in all the cabinets and having access to my favorite mini silicone spatulas within arm’s reach. An artist needs her tools! I’m also concerned that Reuben isn’t feeding himself properly. Last I heard, he bought himself a roast chicken and was planning on living off that for a week…
I’m sure he’s fine.
There’s about a bajillion frozen dumplings in our freezer right now, so he won’t starve. I’ll have to hurry back and get some noodles back into his system though!
Did someone say, “noods?”
Just looking at this mazesoba is making me hungry. I first discovered mazesoba when my parents and I explored Vancouver for a few days back in June. We went to Kokoro Tokyo for lunch and it might have been our favorite meal out of the whole trip! It also didn’t hurt that they offered Hokkaido milk soft serve too : ))))) There, I was introduced to this comforting and addicting saucy noodle dish. Ever since then, I’ve been dreaming of recreating it! Today is the day I share this wonderful dish with you!
What is Mazesoba?
Mazesoba literally means “mixed noodles” in Japanese. It is sometimes referred to as “abura soba” or a dry ramen. It might not look like a likely summer dish, but these noodles are a nice middle ground between something like cold sesame noodles and a giant bowl of hot pho when it’s 90 degrees out and humid as hell. To be honest with you, I would eat noodle soup in any weather… the sweat doesn’t scare me! BUT for those of you who are more sane and want the comforts of noodles without also sweating into your food, mazesoba is a great choice!
The dish traditionally consists of ground pork that’s cooked in lard and soy sauce until you get a thick meat sauce. Almost like an asian bolognese, I guess. I don’t cook with lard so I used olive oil instead and I cooked the pork in a savory sauce consisting of regular and dark soy, sugar, and bit of red chili flakes. Then you top it with things like crispy pork belly, kimchi, scallions, furikake, avocado, raw onion, nori, and bamboo shoots. Pretty much anything can be a topping. Mix up the noodles and you got some mazesoba!
The noodles we had at Kokoro Tokyo were house made and included some whole wheat flour in the dough, which gave it a really nice and subtle nutty flavor. Texture wise, I thought it was incredibly similar to udon noodles. While you can attempt making your own homemade partially whole wheat udon noodles (I tried… and I don’t want to talk about it), it is like soooooo fine if you just buy some noodles from your local asian market. I love buying the fresh udon noodles from Twin Marquis (shown in the photos), but I think those dried packages of udon or soba noodles should work too. The dried packages just won’t have the same satisfying chewiness as fresh udon noodles.
Once you have the noodles and meat sauce ready, you’re all set to assemble your bowls! I topped my bowls with scallions, furikake, raw onion, and a pinch of chili flake for a little extra heat. DON’T FORGET THE EGG YOLK THOUGH! You must have a raw egg on top! If you’re squeamish about a raw egg yolk, just make sure you purchase fresh organic eggs and that the meat sauce is fairly warm so that the heat cooks the egg yolk a little once you mix everything together. The egg yolk binds everything together into a wonderfully rich, creamy, salty, and spicy sauce that perfectly coats all the noodles! It’s the best thing! Then once you finish eating your noodles, you’re typically left with a bit of meat sauce at the bottom, which is why a lot of restaurants will over you a free mini bowl of rice to mix into the remaining sauce. Bonus carbs might be my love language!
Spicy Pork Mazesoba
1 lb fresh udon noodles (dried udon or soba work too)
1 lb ground pork
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp red chili flake - plus more for topping
3 garlic cloves - minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp dark soy
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 cup minced white onion
2 green onions - sliced
2-4 egg yolks
furikake - for topping
Boil udon according to the packaged directions and set aside.
Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. At the ground pork, red chili flake, and garlic into the skillet. Break up the pork with your spatula and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Whisk together the soy sauce, dark soy, water, cornstarch, sugar, and white pepper in a small bowl. Pour the sauce over the pork. Stir and continue to cook the pork for an additional 3-4 minutes, until the pork cooked through and the sauce has thickened. Remove the skillet from the heat and assemble your bowls.
Place a bundle udon noodles in a bowl. Top with a scoop of the spicy pork sauce, an egg yolk, some minced white onions, sliced green onions, furikake, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. Give it a good mix and enjoy! Assemble more bowls with the remaining ingredients!
Cook some extra white rice to enjoy with the remaining meat sauce at the bottom of your bowl!