Refreshingly cold and served with a light and tasty sauce, Zaru soba is the perfect go-to noodle dish for summer. It’s delicious, healthy, and so easy to make. You can bring the taste of traditional Japan into your home with this quick and easy dish.
What is Zaru Soba?
Zaru soba is cold noodles made from buckwheat flour, boiled and cooled under running water and then served on a bamboo strainer (called Zaru in Japanese). This cold soba noodle dish is served with dipping sauce called “mentsuyu”.
Why you will Love Cold Soba Noodles
Refreshing noodle dish, great lunch for hot summer
Soba noodle has lower GI of 46
Easy and quick to make
Soba Noodles (dry or frozen) – You can buy this from Japanese grocery stores, Supermarkets, Health products shops, and online.
Dipping sauce (Mentsuyu) – you can purchase bottled dipping sauce from Japanese grocery stores or online stores, but also you can make dipping sauce for cold soba noodles easily at home if you stock Japanese sauces and condiments in your cupboard. You will need Katsuo (bonito flake), kombu kelp, soy sauce, and mirin.
Condiments (yakumi) – Yakumi, such as green onions, ginger, myoga (Japanese ginger) and wasabi, add and enhance the simple cold noodle dish flavour.
Shredded nori seaweed for topping
How To Make it?
At the soba noodle speciality shops in Japan, you can eat soba noodles that are freshly made and boiled, but it is difficult to have such luxury. Especially since the majority of my readers are living outside of Japan. Don’t despair, there is a way to bring out the delicious taste of fresh Soba noodles with dried noodles. The difference between freshly made and dried is the amount of moisture. So before you cook it, soak the dried noodles in water and let the noodles absorb the moisture. Read more about Soba noodles that I explained in detail in the soba noodles post here.
Tips & Tricks
- Soak the dried soba noodles in water for 15 minutes before cooking the noodles
- Use a large pot to cook with plenty of water
- Cook in shorter time because the dried noodles are already pre-soaked in water.
- Wash the cooked noodle immediately under running water to remove sliminess.
- Accompany with condiments that have fragrance and refreshing flavour
How to Serve Cold Soba Noodles?
If you have a bamboo strainer like in the photos, rinse the soba noodles under running water and drain the water and serve them on the bamboo strainer. Top with shredded nori seaweed and accompany mentsuyu and your choice of condiments. I usually eat cold soba noodles with grated ginger, chopped scallions, shiso leaves and myoga if I have. Oh, and tenkasu (the byproduct of tempura). Also you can serve soba noodles with Tempura, which is called Ten-zaru-soba.
A: Cold soba is eaten with dipping sauce in a small bowl, called soba-choko. I don’t drink the dipping sauce,. I throw it away once used, though leftover that has not been used can be used for different recipes such as making seasoned rice.
More Japanese Noodle Recipes
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Cold Soba Noodles
- large pot
- 1 serving dried soba noodle
- 12 cups water for boiling
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil *1
Mentsuyu dipping sauce
- 1 cup water
- 1 piece Kombu kelp *about 2 inch(5cm)
- 1 cup Bonito flake (Katsuobushi) *10g
- 3 tbsp Mirin *2
- 3 tbsp soy sauce *3
- 1 tbsp shredded nori seaweed
- 1 tbsp finely chopped scallions
- 1 tbsp Tenkasu *4
- 1 tbsp finely sliced myoga
- 1/2 tbsp grated ginger
- Place soba noodle in a shallow container and add enough water (not listed in ingredients) to just cover the noodles for 15 minutes.
- While the noodle is being soaked in water, start to boil 12 cups of water in a large pot over high heat.
- Also make the dipping sauce at this point following the instructions below.
- Add the vegetable oil into the pot.
- Remove the noodles from the soaking water and put them into the boiling water in the large pot.
- Cook the noodles for 3 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and drain the cooking water.
- Wash the cooked noodle under running water.
- Drain the water, remove excess water and serve the soba noodle on a bamboo strainer.
- Top with shredded nori seaweed and serve with a cup of mentsuyu dipping sauce and your choice of condiments.
Make Dipping Sauce Mentsuyu
- Place the water and kombu kelp in a small saucepan over high heat to bring it to boil.
- Add the bonito to the saucepan and turn the heat off.
- Drain the dashi stock and add mirin and soy sauce.
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