I'm asked almost daily why I moved to New Orleans, and my responses vary depending on the day, my mood, and who's asking. Nevertheless every answer is true, and today I say it's because of Yakamein. Of mysterious origin and with no written recipe to be found, Yakamein consists of hot beef or chicken based broth poured over noodles and meat (beef, chicken, pork or seafood) garnished with a hard boiled egg and showered with green onions. These simple ingredients are seamlessly seasoned together from recipes that exist in memories and stories. Street food. Second line food. Festival food. Styrofoam cup food. Hangover food. Good news, bad news, sunny day, rainy day, any day kinda food. New Orleans food. And as far as the name, as one of my dear friends recently instructed, "It's not Ya-ka-mein, it's Yakamein. Say it like there's music in your voice." So, I moved to New Orleans so that I could be told exactly that.
- 1 (3 to 4 pound) stewing beef roast (chuck, chuck tender, round, rump)
- 4 to 5 quarts of beef stock
- 1 teaspoon of seasoned salt
- 2 teaspoons of Creole seasoning - I use this one
- 1 teaspoon of onion powder
- 4 tablespoons of canola or vegetable oil
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- 1 pound of spaghetti noodles(or linguini)
- 8 hard boiled eggs, peeled (or count one half egg per soup bowl)
- 1 green onion, sliced
- Soy sauce, hot sauce, to tasteWorcestershire sauce
- Fill a stockpot halfway with water. Add the seasoning salt, Creole seasoning, onion powder, oil, pinch of salt and couple turns of the pepper grinder to the pot and whisk to mix up.
Place the meat in a stockpot – the beef stock should cover the meat plus about an inch. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 2 to 3 hours, or until the meat is tender and begins to fall apart.
Remove the beef from the broth and using forks, pull it apart and return the shredded beef to the broth. Add salt and pepper, taste and adjust seasonings. Hold the soup over low until needed.
Meanwhile, boil the eggs, cool and peel them; set aside. Cook the spaghetti noodles according to package directions.
To assemble the soup, place a serving of spaghetti noodles in the bottom of a bowl. Use a slotted spoon to extract a serving of the shredded beef and add that on top of the noodles. Add a boiled egg, either whole, halved lengthwise or cut into chunks.
Spoon about 1-1/2 cups of the beef broth on top and sprinkle with sliced green onion. Add a few dashes of soy sauce, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce.