Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Cold soba

Cold soba is another dish that I love in the summer, or in this summer-like spring weather. Soba is a type of noodles made of buckwheat. They are normally light brown but can also come in green (with green tea added) or even pink (with ume/plum flavour). After being cooked in boiling water, the noodles are rinsed thoroughly in cold water to get rid of excess starch. The cold water also gives the noodles a springy texture and bite.

The dipping sauce for cold soba is a mix of dashi stock, light soy sauce, mirin and sugar. The proportions differ in various parts of Japan depending on how sweet the local cuisine tend to be, so feel free to vary the amount according to taste. Other ingredients such as spring onions, wasabi, sesame seeds, shredded nori (dried seasoned seaweed), chilli powder and other condiments are often added. I served mine with some chopped spring onions and a sprinkle of furikake mix (sesame, nori and bonito (dried tuna flakes)). Cold soba is often served with tempura prawns or vegetables, using the same dipping sauce. We had a chicken and mixed vegetables stir fry on the side for a balanced meal.

Cold soba

Ingredients (serves 2):

Two bundles of soba noodles
300ml dashi stock (or use ikan bilis, vegatable or chicken stock)
4 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp mirin
2-3 tsp sugar
1-2 stalks of spring onions, finely chopped
Toasted sesame seeds/wasabi/shredded nori (optional)


1. Combine the dashi, light soy sauce, mirin and sugar in a small saucepan and simmer until the sugar dissolves. Leave to cool.
2. Cook the soba noodles according to packet instructions. When cooked, rinse the noodles with cold water until the water is clear. Swish the noodles with your fingers to get rid of excess starch and to cool the noodles down completely. Drain well.
3. Place the noodles in bowls and top with sesame seeds and shredded nori if using. Serve with a bowl of dipping sauce for each person. When eating, add the spring onions to the dipping sauce. Pick up a small bundle of soba, dip them into the sauce and enjoy the cool noodles with the savoury sauce.

(Tip: This dish can be suitable for vegetarians if you replace the dashi with vegetarian stock.)

This is my entry for Presto Pasta Nights this week, probably an entry with the least cooking!


VeggieGirl said...

I've always enjoyed cold soba noodle dishes - especially when the weather gets warmer! Sounds fabulous; and it's a great entry for Pasta Presto Nights!

Greg said...

OH, your soba looks great. I'll have to make it one of these days. I have fond memories of eating cold soba in the mountains of Kyushu. The restaurant had one wall open to the outside. The soba was served on a bamboo mat. The dipping sauce had real fresh grated wasabi.

didally said...

I love cold soba noodles. It's one those dishes I never fail to order when I eat in a japanese restaurant.

mycookinghut said...

Beautiful. light and healthy dish. It's a great idea for the mentioned summer-like spring weather :) I like the sauce, need to get all the ingredients and try to make :)

noble pig said...

I was just searching the web looking for a recipe of this sort...wow I lucked out!

noobcook said...

yummy yummy yummy! I have this at home quite often but I cheat with pre-made dipping sauce, hee. Love your photo :)

I've not seen pink soba b4! =O

Kevin said...

Soba noodles with cool dipping soup is one of my favorite light summer meals.

Nilmandra said...

Veggiegirl: It only occurred to me belatedly that I could submit this to Presto Pasta Nights. I still tend to think of it as pasta!

Greg: Fresh wasabi! Potent stuff!

Didally: I love to order cold soba and tempura; they often come together in a set. Not as heavy as one of those huge bento sets with too many items.

My Cooking Hut: One of the reasons I like Japanese cooking is that as long as you have mirin, sake, light soy sauce (used for Chinese cooking anyway) and some dashi stock (liquid or granules), you can make just about any dish!

Noble Pig: Have fun making some :)

Noobcook: I've only seen pink soba once in a picture online. AP didn't like the green tea ones, said they tasted strange, even though he drinks green tea *shrug*

Kevin: Same here.

tigerfish said...

You know, I developed my liking for cold soba after I mix it with furikake mix! :D

Maya said...

One of my fav thing to make with soba is Otsu or just plain soba with some furikake (like tigerfish).

diva said...

i really just love soba noodles on its own on a tray of ice, a japanese sauce cup of dipping sauce and a large glass of iced tea from Mos Burger.
unfortunately there isn't a mos burger in england and so i'll just have to use your recipe and work something up for that iced tea :) x

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

Yummy I love soba. Have you ever tried it with grated yamaimo (mountain potato)?

Lizzie said...

I've been meaning to try this for ages and you've given me the push I needed!

I've added a link to your blog under "Food Blogs I Read", hope you don't mind.

Nilmandra said...

Tigerfish: Furikake does make lots of things taste even better :D

Maya: Oh yes! I've forgotten about otsu. Got to make it at some point.

Diva: I didn't know Mos Burger serves cold soba? I alway just go for the rice burgers when I'm in Singapore, heh.

Marc: Thanks! And no, not tried it with grated yamaimo before. Don't think I'll get that here! But I'll keep an eye out for that in restaurants if I have the chance.

Lizzie: Not at all, thanks for the link! And I hope you get to enjoy the noodles soon :)

Ruth Daniels said...

What a great dish...blink and you're done. I love it and it looks so pretty too. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

Nilmandra said...

Ruth: Always a pleasure to take part :)

Pauline said...

Yum! I'm a huge fan of soba noodles and don't make them often enough. Thanks for the reminder -- and kudos on a mouth watering photo.

Nilmandra said...

Pauline: Thanks for the kind comment and I hope you enjoy cooking more soba soon!

Anonymous said...

It was scorching hot today and this made a wonderful dinner-- thanks you for sharing this recipe! (here via tastespotting)

Nicola said...

I've just made this and it was scrummy! i made far too much dipping sauce tho, how long will it last in the fridge?

Nilmandra said...

Nicola: The dipping sauce will keep well in the fridge for a few weeks. Glad you enjoyed the recipe!

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