Tensoba is a delicious Japanese noodle dish that can be both hot and cold so it’s versatile and perfect for any weather! For this recipe I’m sharing a recipe for the cold version, because it’s a bit too hot over here in Australia to be eating noodles with hot soup but if you live in an area that’s heading into winter, you can easily make it hot. Cold Tenzarusoba usually consists of a plate(zaru) of soba noodles, a plate of assorted tempura, and a dipping pot of soup along with some garnishes. This dish is a basic and simple dish that can be really nicely presented to look much more elegant to serve for dinner to your friends and family!
Zarusoba is a common dish during the hotter months in Japan, so you’ll most likely be able to find it at many restaurants during that time. My daughter went to Japan in the summer this year and said she had really delicious Tensoba in Kyoto at a nice restaurant in the city. She can’t really handle hot foods so she always prefers the cold versions of everything, especially when it comes to noodles. In Japan we call people who can’t handle hot foods “neko-jita”, meaning “cat tongue”, because cats apparently don’t like hot stuff, so her grandpa (my dad) always calls her “neko-chan” (which is just an endearing way to say cat). So if you have a “neko-jita” like my daughter then this dish will be perfect for you.
Soba is actually the healthiest type of noodle as well because it’s made from buckwheat and it’s also low GI! So this dish is pretty healthy…besides the fried tempura. Although, even though the tempura is fried, it is made with prawns and vegetables so this is a pretty well-rounded dish. I’m just trying to convince myself now that this is healthy so I can justify eating it all after the photos I took.
I took the photos in November but it is good time to eat Soba in December. Eating Soba called “Toshikoshi Soba” on New Year’s Eve is an integral part of traditional Japanese new years celebration. Most people in Japan spend the new year’s eve at home with family watching TV eating Toshikoshi Soba together. Toshikoshi means to clime over from the old year to the new and also soba is supposed to signify strength and resiliency, since the buckwheat plant itself bounces back even after being flattened by wind and rain. Others focus on the long, thin shape of the noodles, which may signify the wish for a long life. (The Japan Times)
Just a little tip, if you’re eating Tensoba at a restaurant don’t pour heaps of the noodles and the tempura into the little soup pot like my daughter does because Japanese people may think you’re a bit weird. You just grab a bit of noodles and tempura and dip them into the soup and eat it straight away, don’t leave it in the cup; my daughter’s just super lazy so she chucks as much as will fit into the cup…don’t do this. However, if you make this at home then eat it however you want! Remember slurping noodle is perfectly OK too. Follow my recipe for Tempura then boil the noodles and serve and enjoy!