Yakamein (New Orleans Noodle Soup)

April 18, 2021

A spiced beef broth of noodles garnished with a hard-boiled egg and stewed beef originating in the United States from Creole and Chinese culinary influences.

Yaka mein is simple comfort food, recreating an Asian noodle broth to suit New Orleans ingredients and palate. The dish is the kind of recipe which is passed through generations rather than cookbooks, with every household having their own variation and secret Creole seasoning.

For this recipe follow our guide for homemade Creole seasoning or use a ready shop-bought blend. The resulting bold noodle soup is spicy, salty and fragrant while being inexpensive and quick to prepare.

Yakamein NoodlesPhoto By Canva
Taste Score: %89
Difficulty Hard
Servings 4 people
Preparation 15 mins
Cooking 90 mins
Total 105 mins

Tips

  • This recipe requires 1 hour and 45 minutes from start to end to achieve a hearty bowl of beef noodle broth, most of this is passive time as the broth simmers for 1 hour.
  • All the elements of this dish can be prepared beforehand which would speed up the process and make yakamein the ideal midweek recipe for whipping together at the last minute.
  • The beef broth can be prepared and refrigerated for up to 5 days and using up leftover meat will mean that the dish can be ready in 15 minutes.
  • Following a few shortcuts yakamein can be cooked up in less than 20 minutes, only requiring the cooking of hard-boiled eggs and fresh pasta.

Ingredients

Directions

Creole Seasoning

  1. In a bowl combine the smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, dried oregano, black pepper and cayenne pepper.
  2. Stir the ingredients to mix evenly then set aside for seasoning the beef broth.

Beef broth

  1. Place a large saucepan on medium heat and add the water and bone broth.
  2. Then add the onion, celery, garlic and creole seasoning, bring the broth to a boil.
  3. Simmer the broth for 15 minutes then pour through a strainer into another saucepan.
  4. Return the broth to the stove and add the beef rump strips.
  5. Cover the saucepan and simmer on a low heat for 1 hour.
  6. After 1 hour the beef should be tender and the broth rich with beef and spice.
  7. Season the broth with soy sauce then set the stove to low heat and keep the broth warm.

Boiled egg

  1. Place a saucepan of water on the stove and set to high heat. Once the water is boiling, add the eggs and reduce the heat to a simmer, cook the eggs for 12 minutes for hard-boiled.
  2. Drain the boiled eggs after 12 minutes and cool under cold running water.
  3. Peel the eggs and discard the shell, slice each egg in half and set aside.

Noodles

  1. Place a saucepan on high heat and fill with water. Bring the water to a boil and season generously with salt.
  2. Then add the spaghetti noodles to the saucepan and cook for 8 minutes, according to packet instructions.
  3. Strain the cooked noodles and begin to assemble the yakamein.

Assemble

  1. Into four bowls add the cooked pasta noodles.
  2. Top the pasta with beef broth and stewed beef.
  3. Garnish each bowl with half a hard-boiled egg and top with chopped scallions.
  4. Serve the yakamein noodles hot, seasoned with hot sauce or ketchup to taste.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 Yakamein Noodles
Serves 4
Amount Per Serving
Calories450
% Daily Value*
Cholesterol 225 mg75%
Sodium 871 mg37.9%
Potassium 868 mg18.5%
Protein 46.7 g93.4%
Total Fat 11.2 g14.4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Where can I buy yakamein?

Yakamein is a family dish, popular through the African-American community and can be found throughout New Orleans at small mom-and-pop restaurants. Further out than the city the dish is fairly unknown as it is one of New Orleans best-kept secrets, so the easiest way to experience yakamein noodles for yourself is to follow our simple homemade recipe for yourself.

What does yakamein taste like?

The soup is also known as ‘New Orleans old sober soup’, named for its use as a hangover cure thanks to the dish's rich and satisfying properties. Yakamein is a complete meal providing noodles, broth, meat, egg and vegetable garnish all within one bowl. The base of the broth is a delicious meatiness which is then heightened by a combination of spicy, savory, sweet and salt flavorings. The flavors and simplicity of yakamein noodles make this dish a recipe that you will keep returning to.

Where is yakamein from?

The dish originates in New Orleans as a culmination of Chinese and Creole traditions. The base of the dish is a Chinese soup made from a soy-salty broth which is then seasoned with a blend of Cajun or Creole seasoning. Bringing together elements of many cultures yakamein uses ingredients such as Creole seasoning, spaghetti noodles, hot sauce and ketchup which are not traditional to Chinese cuisine and show the adaptation of the recipe using ingredients which are familiar and loved by the local community.

There are conflicting stories of what brought yakamein noodles to New Orleans with two main origin stories. One belief is that the noodle broth was introduced through Chinese immigrants who were brought to New Orleans to build railroads and work the sugar plantations. The second theory is that returning African-American soldiers from the Korean war created a demand for the food they had become exposed to in Asia. No matter the origin yakamein is here to stay and has become a classic staple throughout New Orleans.

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