Soba or buckwheat noodles is a Japanese staple ingredient made from buckwheat flour. It is a form of thin noodles eaten cold while dipped in a soy based sauce or used like udon and other noodles in a hot broth. The cold version is one of my favourite easy and fast recipes to have on a hot day. It’s called ‘zaru soba’ because it’s served on a ‘zaru’, a draining and serving plate made from bamboo.
It was so unfortunate that I didn’t get to visit a specialty soba restaurant when I was in Japan, however we did manage to eat a lot of it at regular restaurants both as hot soup noodles and cold like this recipe. Watching a soba maker make the soba from scratch would be such a fantastic experience.
This recipe was created for our recipe app for iPad but since it unfortunately doesn’t seem like this venture will continue, I thought it would be a waste to not use the photos and recipe so here it is! It’s perfect for the summer weather that’s taking over the northern part of the world at the moment, although not at all bad for us on a cold day by any means since it’s so delicious!
Zaru Soba (buckwheat noodles)
Time to prepare: 5 minutes
Time to cook: 10 minutes
Notes: Cool the dashi stock before preparing the dipping sauce (tsuyu) and add ginger/daikon/wasabi to taste. These ingredients are available at Asian and Japanese grocery stores and large supermarkets.
• 300g dry soba noodles
• 1 cup of dashi stock (make dashi stock according to dry dashi packet instructions, usually just dissolving in water)
• 2 tbsp light soy sauce
• 1 tbsp mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
• 1/2 spring onion, finely sliced
• 1/2 tsp ginger, grated
• 2 tbsp daikon radish, grated
• 1/2 tsp wasabi
• Cut nori (dried seaweed) for garnish
1. Cook soba noodles according to packet instructions or until just cooked through (approx. 4-5minutes).
2. Remove soba from heat and wash under cold water until it runs clear, then drain thoroughly.*
3. For the dipping sauce, combine dashi, mirin and soy sauce and mix thoroughly.
4. Serve soba with prepared dipping sauce and garnished with nori. Add desired amount of grated daikon, ginger, sliced spring onions and wasabi to dipping sauce, stir well and dip noodles to eat.
* Washing the noodles cools it down and removes excess starch, ensuring a chewy and non-gluggy texture.
I tend to prefer eating soba noodles cold in this exact way over putting them in noodle broth. I feel that udon tastes better in hot broth for some reason.
Question time: Have you ever had zaru soba before? Do you like eating soba noodles cold or hot in broth?