I got an email from Megan last week asking if I could recreate her favorite frozen noodle bowls from Costco. There isn’t a Costco in New Orleans (yet), so I wasn’t familiar with that particular item, but I’ve been in the mood for a noodle bowl anyway. So, I decided to give it a shot. The result was a super fast, easy, and tasty Teriyaki Noodle Bowl! Yum!
I usually prefer fresh vegetables to frozen, but sometimes when I want a small amount of a lot of different vegetables, it just makes sense to buy a frozen mix, otherwise I’ll have vegetables coming out my ears. The frozen veggies do the job, but they tend to be much softer than fresh when used in stir fries. So, keep that in mind when making your decision.
Megan’s main concern with her store bought noodle bowl was the amount of salt and sugar they contained. Teriyaki sauce is pretty much made up of salt and sugar, so you can’t really get away from that, but at least when you make it yourself you know exactly what’s in there and chances are that it’s still less salt and sugar than the store bought sauce. You can experiment with the recipe and tweak the ingredients to match your palate and dietary needs.
I fully intended to make this with pineapple, but when I got home from the store I discovered that I accidentally bought pineapple in heavy syrup and that doesn’t work. If you want to use pineapple, here’s how: buy an 8oz. can of pineapple chunks in juice, drain the juice and use it in place of the water in the teriyaki sauce. Add the pineapple chunks to the vegetables when you stir fry them and you’re done. Easy :)
…And of course you could always add chicken, pork, or tofu if you want extra protein!
Teriyaki Noodle Bowls
- ¼ cup soy sauce $0.39
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar $0.23
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar $0.03
- ¼ tsp toasted sesame oil $0.05
- 2 cloves garlic, minced $0.16
- 2 inches fresh ginger, grated $0.21
- pinch red pepper flakes $0.02 (optional)
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch $0.04
- 2 Tbsp water $0.00
- 1 lb. frozen stir fry vegetables $1.57
- 8 oz. buckwheat soba noodles $3.69
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil $0.02
- Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, toasted sesame oil, red pepper flakes, corn starch, and water to a bowl. Peel the ginger and then grate it straight into the bowl using a small holed cheese grater. If you don't have a grater, you can mince the ginger. Mince the garlic and add it to the bowl as well. Stir to combine the ingredients.
- Bring a medium pot of water up to a boil over high heat, add the noodles, and then continue to boil for 5-6 minutes, or until the noodles are tender. Drain the noodles in a colander.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the skillet is hot, add the frozen vegetables. Stir and cook for only about 2 minutes, just to slightly heat the vegetables. Briefly stir the teriyaki sauce and then pour it into the skillet. Allow it to come up to a simmer, at which point it will thicken. The vegetables will finish heating through as this happens. Turn the heat off once the sauce is hot and thick.
- Add the drained noodles to the skillet and stir until they are coated in the sauce. Divide the noodles between four bowls and then spoon any leftover vegetables from the skillet on top. Enjoy!
Step by Step Photos
Homemade teriyaki sauce is incredibly easy to make. Just stir together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, cornstarch, and water. Grate the ginger and mince the garlic. Stir them into the sauce. (Note: this picture was before I stirred in the cornstarch. It will have a slightly milky/opaque color once the cornstarch is added).
If you’ve never worked with ginger, it’s very simple. You can break off a knob the size you need at the store (just like dividing a bunch of bananas to get just a few – it’s okay). Use a vegetable peeler or the side of a spoon to scrape off the skin, then use a small holed cheese grater to grate the ginger straight into the bowl (so all the juice make it into the sauce). If you don’t have a cheese grater, you can mince the ginger.
I like to keep these three things in my pantry at all times. So many different Asian sauces can be made with this trifecta. All three are extremely shelf stable and can usually be found in major grocery stores. The soy sauce and vinegar are usually very inexpensive and, while the sesame oil may be a little pricier, you only use a few drops at a time.
I used buckwheat soba noodles to up the nutritional value of this dish, but you can use a different type of noodle if you’d like. I definitely could have gotten a better price on the noodles if I had gone to a different store, but I paid for convenience in this case. I just bought a bag of generic stir fry vegetables and they did the trick.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, add the vegetables and cook for just one to two minutes. Frozen vegetables can be tricky because you want them to heat through without over cooking. Once the vegetables have cooked for just a short minute or two, give your teriyaki sauce a quick stir (to re-suspend the cornstarch) and then pour it into the skillet. Allow the sauce to come up to a simmer.
Once the sauce reaches a simmer, that’s when the cornstarch magic happens. The sauce will turn from a milky brown color to a shiny, clear, thick sauce. Taste the sauce to see if you want more soy sauce. If you want a more potent dish, you can just stir in an extra tablespoon of soy sauce. Remember, once the noodles are added the sauce will be spread more thin, so you want it to taste a little on the strong side.
Finally, add the drained noodles and stir them in until they are well coated in sauce. In my experience, it’s pretty impossible to stir chunks of vegetables (or anything else) into long thin noodles like spaghetti. So, I just stirred until the noodles were coated and then divided the noodles between my four dishes and spooned the rest of the vegetables over top.