Zaru soba is a delicious summer noodle dish, made from chilled buckwheat noodles and served with a light dipping soup. Simple, light, and easy to make, zaru soba is immensely popular in Japan, and with this recipe it is sure to become a favourite in your home as well!
We need to cook our noodles first, so grab a bunch of soba and allow them to cook in boiling water for 4-5 minutes. There is so need to add salt to the water before boiling.
While the noodles are cooking we can start preparing the dipping soup. You can of course make the soup yourself by mixing soy sauce, mirin, dashi stock and a little sugar with water, or you can simply buy a pre-made tsuyu (Some tsuyu brands need to be mixed with water before serving).
Once you have finished preparing the dipping soup, check the soba are of a suitable consistency and then drain the noodles in a colander with another saucepan underneath to catch the discarded water. Do not throw away this drained water as we are going to use it again later.
It is important to thoroughly wash the soba at this stage to get rid of any excess starch. Rinse the noodles under a cold running tap and swish them around until the water runs clear.
Grab a traditional zaru bamboo tray and carefully arrange the soba on it. Then shred some nori seaweed and sprinkle on top of the soba noodles before serving. Add a small amount of wasabi and some finely sliced spring onions to your soup and dip the noodles in it briefly before eating.
Remember the drained water we were saving for later? As the soba noodles were cooked in this water it still contains many of the nutrients from the soba. Mix some of this water with the remainder of your dipping soup and drink it as a perfect finish to this tasty dish.
• There are a huge variety of different types of soba available, all with slight differences to the taste or texture.
- Hachi-wari 80% Soba Noodles
Hachi-wari means 80% in Japanese. These are a very common type of soba made from 80% buckwheat and 20% wheat flour.
- Jyu-wari 100% Soba Noodles
These soba are made from 100% buckwheat so they have a delicious, slightly nutty flavour.
- Soba Noodles with Yam
These noodles have a small amount of yama-imo yam added which makes them a healthier option.
- Green Tea Soba Noodles
A small amount of green tea powder is added to these soba to give them a subtle green tea taste and green colour
- Ume Plum Soba Noodles
Similar to green tea noodles, but these soba are flavoured with traditional Japanese ume plum and have a pink colour.
• The amount of time you cook the soba depends on the type of soba you purchase. You can find the number of minutes you need to cook them for on each pack. The Japanese character for minutes is 分 so look out for that one.