Zaru Soba – Japanese cold buckwheat noodles

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
Serves: 2

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.

Ingredients

• 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

Instructions

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?

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19 comments… add one
  • Maureen @ Orgasmic Chef July 12, 2012, 6:46 pm

    I’ve never had this before but it looks like something I would rip my right arm off for!

    Reply
  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella July 12, 2012, 9:38 pm

    I love zaru soba when it’s hot out. Actually it’s delicious all the time but I do recall having so much of it during a Japanese summer 🙂

    Reply
    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake July 15, 2012, 8:31 pm

      I can so totally eat a lot of this, especially when it’s hot. 😀 I didn’t have zaru soba nearly as much as what I’d have liked when I was in Japan though..

      Reply
  • Hotly Spiced July 12, 2012, 9:53 pm

    I love buckwheat noodles. This zaru soba is a fabulous dish xx

    Reply
  • yummychunklet July 12, 2012, 11:40 pm

    These look delicious!

    Reply
  • Libby July 12, 2012, 11:41 pm

    Nomnomnom! Love love LOVE soba noodles!

    I don’t think there are any restaurants that specialise in soba in Melbourne but there is one on the Gold Coast (in Chevron Island). I really wanted to go there the last time I was up, but it was closed when we drove there 🙁 Booo!

    Reply
  • love2dine July 13, 2012, 1:50 am

    This looks and sounds amazing. I’d love to have (the whole bowl by myself)

    Reply
  • Nami | Just One Cookbook July 13, 2012, 3:22 am

    I’ve been eating zaru soba lately because this week has been quite warm. You take such a beautiful picture of zaru soba! I have to make it again for lunch time soon!

    Reply
  • Jenn and Seth (@HomeSkilletCook) July 13, 2012, 5:42 am

    this looks so delicious, i’ve got to try it!

    Reply
  • Carolyn Jung July 13, 2012, 7:51 am

    One of my fave things to eat on a hot summer day. You’d think noodles would be too heavy in that sultry type of heat. But soba is so easy to digest that you never feel too weighed down from it.

    Reply
    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake July 15, 2012, 8:33 pm

      I totally agree, soba’s just so light and refreshing…it doesn’t taste gluggy or heavy at all. Sooo good…

      Reply
  • Ming @ sweetandsourfork July 13, 2012, 12:51 pm

    This looks even better than the zaru soba I had at Kenzan! Definitely going to make this in the coming summer 🙂

    Reply
    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake July 15, 2012, 8:36 pm

      Haha thanks Ming 😛 Surely it can’t be as good as Kenzan, but I’ve never tried it there. 😛

      Reply
  • Squishy July 13, 2012, 1:49 pm

    What a clean dish–and I never even thought to have it with dashi, how gorgeous!!

    Reply

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