Kobayashi Maru (aka Yakisoba)

A couple weeks ago, Jayme asked me to help him look up a recipe. Now I happen to remember exactly how many times this sort of thing has happened because it’s NEVER!! “So, when I was in the Army,” he begins, “they used to serve this stuff in the mess hall. I don’t know what it was called but it was like spaghetti with no sauce.” Ummm, okay. Help me out Google!
So I type “Army Sauceless Spaghetti” in the Google box and up pops a page worth of items. The very first one looks to be some sort of discussion board and it says, “When I was in the Army they used to serve this stuff in the mess hall that was like spaghetti with no sauce…” So I guess my hubby isn’t the only fan of this mystery dish. Anyway, I click on it and someone has answered the guy. According to them the dish is called Yakisoba and it’s a Japanese style dish. When I said the word Yakisoba, Jayme said, “YES! THAT’S IT!!”
So I look around some more and find that there is a basic recipe that you can adapt to your tastes and preferences. I even found the actual Army mess hall recipe that feeds 600 people but I figure I need to try a smaller version first. I bought all the ingredients and added it to the menu. But when I went to write it on our menu, I couldn’t remember what it was called. I knew it was a Japanese word and for some reason all I could think of was “Kobayashi Maru”. Now before any Trekkies track me down and hurt me, I want to make clear that I knew it WASN’T Kobayashi Maru and I really do know what the Kobayashi Maru is. For whatever reason, though, it pops into my head every time I think of the dish name so for our family, this meal is called Kobayashi Maru!

The Ingredients

1 pound of lean ground beef
1 onion
1 green bell pepper
3 cloves garlic
1 can water chestnuts
2 Tbsp oil
Soy sauce (to taste)
½ pound cooked, drained spaghetti

Since I am using a very lean hamburger meat I did not cook it separately and drain it. If you are using meat that cooks up with a lot of grease you will want to drain it before adding it to the rest of the dish. That being said, first I started the oil in a large skillet. I added the garlic and let it cook for a minute then added the carrot, let that cook some, then added the green pepper, and a minute or two later, the onion and water chestnut.

After the vegetables are softened to your personal liking, add the meat and cook until browned.

When meat is browned, add the cooked noodles and stir-fry it all together for a few minutes. This is also when I added the soy sauce. My husband isn’t a huge soy sauce fan so I went light with it.

This meal turned out wonderfully! We were all very pleased with it. In my humble opinion, the water chestnut is a MUST. That crunch is awesome. I can definitely see this as something you can customize to the extent that you never make it the same way twice. You could make it with shrimp or pork (***UPDATE*** I just made a similar dish with a teriyaki seasoned pork loin that I sliced into rounds and pan fried. Very tasty!) or chicken too. Have fun with it; add your own twist with some ginger or flavored oil or hot Asian spices. I think next time I will look around for some real Japanese noodles, or lo mein type noodles. Maybe add some snow peas or bamboo shoots or bean sprouts or…..


  1. This looks really good. I think I will give it a try sometime. It would be an easy recipe to just whip up. I often have ground meat of some sort (beef or turkey usually) in my freezer. And spaghetti noodles are a pantry staple too. Just throw in veggies on hand. Wow! Thanks for the inspiration and recipe. ;)

  2. Heartland PatriotMay 2, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    I was looking for "chowhall yakisoba" (had it in the USAF) and found your recipe. Don't remember the water chestnuts but otherwise sounds right. Thank you.

  3. YUM. As a Trekker, I had to laugh about the name since it seems you did resolve your "impossible mission" quite nicely. I'm also in TX so howdy.

  4. THANK YOU!! My husband came home from his deployment talking about "the spaghetti with meat and no sauce" LOL :) I am making this tonight for him.


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