I know it may seem kind of odd to be eating a cold noodle dish in the dead of winter. But hey, it’s something new and I’ve got the ingredients on hand so why not?
Enter, zaru soba.
Zaru soba is yet another Japanese dish that consists of chilled soba noodles accompanied by an umami-laden dipping sauce. Buckwheat, green tea, or any other flavoured soba noodle may be used to your liking. The sauce, usually a mixture of metsuuyu (Japanese soy sauce, mirin, and sometimes sugar) and dashi broth, is very strong in flavour to compliment the bland noodles as soba, unlike Italian pasta, is not seasoned with salt when cooked. The dipping sauce, if diluted, may also double up as a soup. It is then topped with an assortment of toppings – thinly sliced green onions, togarashi spice, shredded nori, yuzu rind, fried egg, etc. – and served with tempura.
Maybe it’s weird, given the seasonality of this dish, to be serving this mid-January but I say why the hell not? Sure, it’s more “normal” to be eating warm, heavier, comfort food in wintertime and lighter, fresher and raw food in the summertime.
But I don’t necessarily buy that crap all the time.
How do you think people on raw food diets, juice cleanses, and fitness junkies do it? They sure as hell don’t follow that “rule”.
If you have the ingredients, cook it (or leave it raw), especially if it’s something new. Challenge yourself.
I had this dish when I was in Japan and it was simple and satisfying. I had mine with tempura on the side and the dipping sauce was laced with yuzu rind. It was divine. I still haven’t been able to find yuzu yet (okay, I’m really not looking) but I think it would really make the dish – next time!
Zaru soba (from Just One Cookbook)
What you’ll need:
– 2 bundles buckwheat soba noodles
– 1 1/2 cup dashi
– 1/4 cup mirin
– 1/4 cup soy sauce
– Green onions, shredded nori, yuzu rind, togarashi spice (optional)
What you’ll need to do:
1. Cook your soba according to packaged directions. Drain and rinse with hands. Set aside on a bamboo mat.
2. In a small saucepan, combine and heat dashi, mirin and soy sauce.
3. Assemble sauce into 4 bowls.
4. Dip noodles into sauce. Makes 4 side dishes.