Of mysterious origin and with no written recipe to be found, yakamein consists of hot beef- or chicken-based broth that’s vigorously spiced with Creole seasoning (typically, the specific blend is guarded by the family) and poured over any available noodle (usually spaghetti) and cooked meat (beef, chicken, pork or seafood), then garnished with a hard-boiled egg, sliced green onions, and chopped cilantro or parsley. Depending on your preference, the finishing touch comes from ketchup, hot sauce, or soy sauce.
While the ingredient list is simple, the soup is salty, spicy, and fragrant from its special blend of seasonings (paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper); the guidelines for making it exist in memories and lore rather than cookbooks. —Martine Boyer
For the soup:
2 1/2 to 3 pounds
boneless chuck roast
8 to 9 cups
1/2 to 2/3 cups
soy sauce, plus more to taste
ketchup, plus more for topping if you like
1 1/2 tablespoons
hot sauce, plus more to taste
spaghetti (ramen, or udon), cooked according to package directions
Place the beef roast in a large stockpot. Cover with water, and then add the Creole seasoning. Place over medium-high heat, bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3 to 4 hours, until the beef is tender. Remove the beef to a large bowl and allow the beef and stock to cool for 20 to 30 minutes.
Remove beef from stock and shred or chop the cooled meat, removing and discarding any large chunks of fat. Skim the fat from the top of the stock. Add the soy sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce to the stock, tasting as you go and adjusting the seasonings if needed. Once you’re ready to serve, reheat the skimmed stock over medium heat until simmering.
To serve, divide the spaghetti and meat among 10 bowls. Top each with scallions and half an egg, then ladle some stock over the top. Garnish with a handful of chopped cilantro or parsley. Serve with hot sauce, ketchup, and/or soy sauce.
For the Creole seasoning:
Combine all ingredients together until well combined. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.