Zaru Soba (笊蕎麦)is Japanese chilled buckwheat noodles (soba) served with a soy-based dipping sauce. They are usually served in a basket or a bamboo mat (zaru). The chilled noodles are refreshing and perfect for summer. They go well with any side dishes or finger foods.
I love to cook this at home on busy days because both the sauce and noodles can be prepared in minutes and in advance. This is a truly fuss-free and healthy (oil-free) dish. I used to buy pre-made dipping sauce (just need to dilute the concentrated sauce with water) and there is absolutely nothing wrong with them – I love the convenience. But I stopped buying pre-made sauce ever since I learnt how easy and cheap it is to make your own. If you are into Japanese cooking, you probably already own all the ingredients for the dipping sauce in your pantry. Nowadays I always stocked dried soba at home, as I know I can whip this up any time and with little effort.
Besides regular soba, you can use other Japanese noodles such as cha soba (green tea buckwheat noodles) and somen (thin wheat noodles).
Prep Time:10 mins
Cook Time:10 mins
2 servings (about 150 grams) of soba (buckwheat noodles) may substitute with chasoba or somen
8 ice cubes
2 small handfuls of shredded nori (roasted seaweed)
1 tbsp chopped spring onions
2 raw quail eggs optional
2 thumb-sized wasabi
Soba Sauce (A)
300 ml water
2 tbsp Japanese soy or light soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin
1/2 tsp dashi powder
In a pot of boiling water, cooked soba according to timing indicated in package. Drain cooked noodles, rinse in cold running water and transfer to a bowl with ice cubes. Secure bowl with cling wrap and chill in fridge.
In a small pot, bring Sauce (A) to a simmer for 1 minute. When the dipping sauce is cooled, transfer to a bottle with lid and chill in fridge.
When ready to serve, divide and serve chilled noodles (topped with nori) and dipping sauce into two portions. Serve each portion with a saucer of chopped spring onions, quail egg and wasabi at the side.
Noob Cook Tips:
If you prefer pre-made sauce, you can buy instant soba sauce or all-in-one soup base (can be used for tempura, vegetable stew and soup broth). Dilute sauce with appropriate amount of water as indicated on the package instructions.
Use a recycled jam bottle for chilling the dipping sauce in the refrigerator.