When there’s a heatwave outside and you want to switch up your usual meal with something cool and light – there’s no better way than a simple cold soba noodle (zaru soba) with genmaicha tea infused dipping sauce!

These past few weeks have been rough. Long story short, our cottage trip ended early, and we came home to a very dead fridge – completely kaput dead. Everything in the freezer defrosted into a smelly mound of gross and everything in the fridge was warm. I’m pretty sure a little bit of me died inside when I had to throw out all my eclectic ingredients – a foodies worst nightmare.

 

On the bright side, it’s a purge of old stuff and this has taught me how to love food on a more minimal level and to appreciate things in smaller quantities. For now until we hear back from the manufacturer, we will be living off our garden, chest freezer and mini beverage fridge which means I’ll have to be a lot more creative in my next few posts.

 

Zaru Soba (Cold Soba Noodles) with Genmaicha Dipping Sauce

 

I am ALL ears if you have any recipe tips for me on how to survive without a fridge! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

In all honesty, with all these events my mood for cooking and eating hasn’t really been there at all but we all got to eat right? When I came up with this recipe for zaru soba (cold soba noodles) I wanted it simple and I didn’t want to slave over the stove. What perfect way then to use tea as the base for the dipping sauce?

 

You’re probably wondering how I managed to do a “cold” soba noodle with no fridge. I didn’t. I had luke-warm soba noodles – not exactly refreshing sounding – I know. To address part of it, I used a sandwich bag to freeze some water so I could at least have a icy water bath for my noodles. ๐Ÿ™‚ So I had semi-cold soba noodles. Better than nothing, right?

 

INGREDIENTS

Soba noodles (aka buckwheat noodles), mirin and bonito flakes can be found at an Asian grocery store or specialty grocery store.

 

Zaru Soba (Cold Soba Noodles) with Genmaicha Dipping Sauce

 

Genmaicha is also known as roasted brown rice green tea and can be found at your local Asian grocery store as well however tea shops are getting quite popular nowadays so you may be able to find them at tea shops as well.

 

Zaru Soba (Cold Soba Noodles) with Genmaicha Dipping Sauce

 

I used prepared wasabi since this was what I had on hand, however if you can get powdered wasabi or fresh wasabi those work as well. Just a warning, prepared wasabi is POTENT – a little goes a long long way.

 

Daikon radish and dried seaweed (nori) sheets can usually be found at your local grocery store or Asian supermarket.

 

PUTTING IT TOGETHER

Making the Genmaicha Tsuyu Dipping Sauce
  1. Steep approximately 4 tablespoons of genmaicha tea in 3 cups of hot water for about 15 minutes. I have a huge tea ball but ideally you would want to put this in some sort of tea ball or teabag. If you don’t have one you can strain out the tea leaves with a strainer once the tea has been steeped.
    Zaru Soba (Cold Soba Noodles) with Genmaicha Dipping Sauce
  2. Once the tea is done, in a pitcher add in about a handful of bonito flakes (approx. 4 tbsp), pour in the tea and let it meld for about 10-15 minutes
    Zaru Soba (Cold Soba Noodles) with Genmaicha Dipping Sauce
  3. Then add in the soy sauce, mirin, sake (optional)
  4. If you are using a pour-able pitcher you don’t need to really strain the bonito flakes since it sinks to the bottom and you can get away with just slowly pouring out the sauce into dipping cups but if you are using a bowl to make the sauce then strain out the bonito flakes.
  5. Let the sauce chill in the fridge for about an hour.

 

Prepping the Toppings

I used a lot of toppings in this post. You don’t need to go this overboard – this was more to give you options and ideas. ๐Ÿ™‚ ย If you want to keep it simple, green onions (scallions) and seaweed (nori) is more than enough for some good flavourings.

Zaru Soba (Cold Soba Noodles) with Genmaicha Dipping Sauce

  1. If you are using seaweed, I found it easiest to use scissors to snip them up into slivers
  2. For ginger and daikon, use a fine grater to shave it into mush. Once grated, they have a lot of excess water – squeeze and drain the excess liquid out.
    Zaru Soba (Cold Soba Noodles) with Genmaicha Dipping Sauce

 

Cooking the Soba Noodles
  1. In a pot, add water and set it on medium heat until the water boils. Do not add salt to the water – the dipping sauce is already very salty so we don’t want to go overboard with the salt.
  2. Follow the directions on the packaging to cook the soba noodles. I usually cook it for 1 minute less than it says and then taste it for done-ness so I don’t overcook it and get mushy noodles. For my batch I added the noodles into boiling water and cooked it for about 4 minutes.
  3. [Tip] Watch the noodles like a hawk. They boil over very easily. When you start to see the bubbles go insane and rise up, gently blow into it – it’s wierd but it works, it makes the bubbles die down a bit.
  4. Once the noodles are done, run it under cold water and rinse off all the starches. When the noodles are cool, add it into a ice bath for a few minutes.
    Zaru Soba (Cold Soba Noodles) with Genmaicha Dipping Sauce
  5. [Optional] Sesame oil during the ice bath is optional. It is not traditionally added but I find a hint of nuttiness adds a nice flavour. A little goes a long long way, so less is more. I would go with only adding a few drops in to a maximum of no more than 1/4 teaspoon.

 

Serving & Slurping the Noodles
  1. Pour the dipping sauce into small cups or bowls and serve with the soba noodles with a side of toppings! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Zaru Soba (Cold Soba Noodles) with Genmaicha Dipping Sauce
    No need to dunk all the noodles in, just the bottom bits and the slurp it up!
  2. When the meal is done, you will most likely have a lot of the dipping sauce left. Traditionally zaru soba would use the leftover soba noodle water to water down the dipping sauce to make it into a soup! Instead of the soba water, I re-steeped the tea in a teapot and used that to water down the dipping sauce to make the soup instead. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Neat eh?
    Zaru Soba (Cold Soba Noodles) with Genmaicha Dipping Sauce

 

I went overboard on the wasabi ( I warned ya, prepared wasabi is p.o.t.e.n.t.!) so making a wasabi tea soup wasn’t exactly appealing to me haha but go nuts with it and most of all have fun with your food. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

Zaru Soba (Cold Soba Noodles) with Genmaicha Dipping Sauce

 

Don’t forget to slurp your noodles!

5 from 1 vote
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Zaru Soba (Cold Soba Noodles) with Genmaicha Dipping Sauce
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 


Course: Main Course, Noodles
Cuisine: Japanese
Servings: 2
Author: Pups with Chopsticks
Ingredients
  • 180 g soba noodles (2 individual bundles)
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil [optional]
Genmaicha Tsuyu Dipping sauce
  • 4 tbsp genmaicha tea (roasted brown rice Japanese green tea)
  • 3 cups water (hot)
  • 4-5 tbsp bonito flakes (handful)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 1 tsp sake
Toppings [Pick and choose the ones you like!]
  • 2x2 cm ginger (grated)
  • 1 sheet dried seaweed sheets (cut into slivers)
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 5x5 cm daikon radish (grated)
  • 1 tsp wasabi
  • 1 stalk green onions (finely chopped)
Instructions
Making the Genmaicha Tsuyu Dipping Sauce
  1. Steep approximately 4 tablespoons of genmaicha tea in 3 cups of hot water for about 15 minutes. Ideally you would want to put this in some sort of tea ball or teabag. If you donโ€™t have one you can strain out the tea leaves with a strainer once the tea has been steeped.

  2. Once the tea is done, in a pitcher add in about a handful of bonito flakes (approx. 4 tbsp), pour in the tea and let it meld for about 10-15 minutes

  3. Then add in the soy sauce, mirin, sake (optional)

  4. If you are using a pour-able pitcher you donโ€™t need to really strain the bonito flakes since it sinks to the bottom and you can get away with just slowly pouring out the sauce into dipping cups but if you are using a bowl to make the sauce then strain out the bonito flakes.

  5. Let the sauce chill in the fridge for about an hour.

Prepping the Toppings
  1. Pick and choose the toppings you like. You don't need to use them all. If you want to keep it simple, green onions (scallions) and seaweed (nori) is more than enough for some good flavourings.

  2. If you are using seaweed, I found it easiest to use scissors to snip them up into slivers

  3. For ginger and daikon, use a fine grater to shave it into mush. Once grated, they have a lot of excess water โ€“ squeeze and drain the excess liquid out.

Cooking the Soba Noodles
  1. In a pot, add water and set it on medium heat until the water boils. Do not add salt to the water โ€“ the dipping sauce is already very salty so we donโ€™t want to go overboard with the salt.

  2. Follow the directions on the packaging to cook the soba noodles. I usually cook it for 1 minute less than it says and then taste it for done-ness so I donโ€™t overcook it and get mushy noodles. For my batch I added the noodles into boiling water and cooked it for about 4 minutes.

  3. Once the noodles are done, run it under cold water and rinse off all the starches. When the noodles are cool, add it into a ice bath for a few minutes.

  4. [Optional] Sesame oil during the ice bath is optional. It is not traditionally added but I find a hint of nuttiness adds a nice flavour. A little goes a long long way, so less is more. I would go with only adding a few drops in to a maximum of no more than 1/4 teaspoon.

Serving the Noodles
  1. Pour the dipping sauce into small cups or bowls and serve with the soba noodles with a side of toppings! ๐Ÿ™‚
  2. When the meal is done, you will most likely have a lot of the dipping sauce left. Traditionally zaru soba would use the leftover soba noodle water to water down the dipping sauce to make it into a soup! Instead of the soba water, I re-steeped the tea in a teapot and used that to water down the dipping sauce to make the soup instead. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Neat eh?
Recipe Notes
  • When boiling the noodles, watch it like a hawk. They boil over very easily. When you start to see the bubbles go insane and rise up, gently blow into it โ€“ itโ€™s wierd but it works, it makes the bubbles die down a bit.
  • ย Sesame oil during the ice bath is optional. It is not traditionally added but I find a hint of nuttiness adds a nice flavour. A little goes a long long way, so less is more. I would go with only adding a few drops in to a maximum of no more than 1/4 teaspoon.
  • Just a warning, prepared wasabi is POTENT โ€“ a little goes a long long way, so use it sparingly as a topping.
Zaru Soba (Cold Soba Noodles) with Genmaicha Dipping Sauce

 

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2 thoughts on “Zaru Soba (Cold Soba Noodles) with Genmaicha Dipping Sauce”

  1. I love this healthy dish, fast making for lunch or dinner. I can put in less wasabi for my own taste. Simple healthy and fast especially if I don’t want to make a more complicated mundane food. Thanks.

    1. I definitely put too much wasabi in mine haha! Lesson learned! ๐Ÿ™‚

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