Zaru soba is a Japanese cold noodle dish, best for when you have little time to cook. The reason? It is so simple there is hardly any cooking or assembling to do. Perfect for week night dinner. Soba is also incredibly healthy as it is made from buckwheat – rendering it high in protein and other minerals. For health reasons I have reduced my consumption of durum wheat pasta and replacing it with soba.
Zaru soba is commonly served on a zaru (bamboo colander). I don’t have a zaru, so for presentation purpose I served it on my sushi mat! 😀 Zaru soba is served with chopped spring onions, white radish, and a dipping sauce. I had trouble getting white radish here in London, so I made mine without.
Ingredients (serves 1):
- 1/3 packet of soba
- 1/2 cup of dashi stock (I sometimes use less to reduce sodium consumption)
- 1 tbsp of soy sauce
- 1 tbsp of mirin (sweet cooking sake)
- a handful of finely chopped spring onions and white radish (if you can find it)
- Optional: a tsp of wasabi
1. Boil the soba according to instructions on the packaging. It takes only a few minutes to cook. Once cooked, drain the soba in a colander or sieve and wash it under running tap with cold water. Use your hands to gently wash off excess starch. Starch is not good!
2. Once washed, chill the soba in the fridge.
3. Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce.
4. Heat mirin, soy sauce, and dashi in a saucepan and bring to boil. Once ready, chill it in the fridge.
5. When the soba and sauce are cool enough, serve them on a zaru or plate. Top the soba with kizami nori (fine nori strips).
6. To eat, mix the nori and spring onions together. Then using your chopsticks, grab a little of the soba, dip it in the sauce, and enjoy.
This wonderfully simple dish gives a lovely mouth feel – the smooth texture of the soba, with the slight crispiness of the nori, and spring onions for added crunch. To substantiate the dish, I serve it with miso soup and a side of pan-fried gyoza wrapped a day earlier (to save time).