Zaru Soba: Summertime cold Soba noodles with dipping sauce (Tsukejiru)

When the weather gets hot, I love to eat cold soba noodles.  In Japan, you'll see these in many restaurants, and it's especially popular to top them with tempura shrimp.

Good soba noodles are made from just buckwheat and water.  Check the ingredients as many cheaper soba will be made of primarily wheat.

If you want to serve them hot, check out this post on kakejiru.   When cold, serve soba noodles with a dipping sauce called tsukejiru.  Both tsukejiru and kakejiru contain dashi, sugar, and soy sauce; just in different proportions.

In a pot, bring up to a boil:
3 C dashi
6.5 TB soy sauce
1 TB sugar
Let cool in the fridge.  You can do this up to a week ahead of serving.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Dried soba noodles are usually bundled into 1 person serving sizes, so pull out 2 bundles for 2 people or more bundles for each person you are feeding.

Place the noodles into the boiling water and simmer uncovered for 4-6 minutes or until al dente (check the package for instructions).  Once cooked to your liking, cool them down.  

I like to drain them off, then plunge into a big bowl of ice water.  Once they are cooled, you can either drain off the ice water and serve, or fold the noodles into little bundles.  This post has some great serving ideas and photos for reference.

Soba and Hot Broth (Kakejiru)

I love soba. It is quite delicious when done right. Most of the soba on the shelves is wheat flour with a sprinkle of buckwheat flour.  Seek out the kinds that are 100% buckwheat flour-- that's the real deal.  At some point I want to figure out how to make soba noodles on my own.

Soba can be enjoyed in either a hot or cold broth.  In this post, we're doing hot soba, which is served with a dipping broth/soup called Kakejiru.

I served this with a salad of shredded daikon, toasted sesame seed oil and aonori flakes (or use furikake), steamed vegan gyoza and steamed sugar snap peas to make it a meal.

For two people

First, make dashi stock. Great dashi instructions are over at Serious Eats, of you can reference my notes on dashi in my secrets of miso soup post.  Feel free to make the dashi ahead of time (store in the fridge, or freezer).

In a pot, bring up to boil:
1 quart dashi
1.5 TB sugar
1.5 tsp salt
2 TB soy sauce

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. This pot is for the noodles. Once the noodle water and the dashi are hot, then put the dried soba noodles into the boiling water, stir to break up the clumps of noodles and let simmer uncovered for 4-6 minutes or until al dente (check the package instructions).  Drain, rinse and drain and set aside.

Place a wad of the cooked noodles in each soup bowl. Pour over the hot tentsuyu/flavored dashi soup stock and eat immediately.

Here are the bowls prior to being filled with soup:
Leftover tips: do not store the noodles in the soup, they will get too mushy. Store them separately then heat up the soup and pour over the noodles.