Zaru Soba – Cold noodles in dipping sauce

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Japan is usually very hot and humid in the summer. To combat this heat, several dishes get their cold version. One of them is the famous soba, a buckwheat noodle that we talked about in another article. Today we are going to talk especially about zaru soba, a cold (or iced) pasta that is usually dipped in a delicious sauce.

At first glance it may seem strange to eat cold or iced noodles, but the soba pasta goes perfectly with any environment and with dipping sauce. It was one of the greatest delights I ate in Japan, a simple, inexpensive and popular dish among Japanese people.

Unlike western noodles, most Japanese noodles are usually rinsed vigorously under cold running water. This causes them to cool and also removes excess starch, which negatively affects the taste. It is not enough to pour cold water, you must scrub and wash the pasta thoroughly, to have a superior flavor.

Zaru Soba - Cold noodles in dipping sauce

How is cold noodles – Zaru Soba?

Japanese cold noodles are called if zaru soba not because it is cold. Zaru is the name of a drainage basket made of bamboo, where the cold soba usually stays (similar to a sieve). The cold pasta comes over a Zaru where you take what you are going to eat and dip it separately in the sauce. Similar to dipping a sushi in the sauce.

The sauce in which Zaru soba is dipped is called Mentsuyu. It is made from shoyo, sake mirin and hondashi (fish-based seasoning). Mentsuyu known affectionately only as tsuyu can be purchased in a ready-made bottle or made at home with its own variations.

It can be accompanied with chives or wasabi. Sometimes the dish is accompanied with tempura and is known as tenzaru. Bukkake is the name given to the cold soba noodles that come in a bowl with mixed sauce and some additional ingredients.

Zaru Soba - Cold noodles in dipping sauce

Recipe – How to make a Zaru Soba?

Ingredients for soba:

  • Soba pasta package;


  • Chopped chives;
  • Nori sheets cut into strips;
  • Wasabi

For Tsuyu sauce 

  • 2 glasses of water;
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce (soy sauce);
  • 1 tablespoon of mirin sake;
  • 1 spoon (dessert) of hondashi;
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar;
  • 2 pinches of ajinomoto or salt to taste;

If you find Kaeshi, just mix it with hondashi;

There are no secrets, just make the soba, put it in a sieve and eat it dipping in the sauce. If you want to add chives, it is recommended to serve it in a separate container. The sauce should be made with the mixture of ingredients boiling over medium heat. Then it must be put in the refrigerator for a while. Nori can be mixed with pasta before serving.

Zaru Soba - Cold noodles in dipping sauce

Zaru Soba is not the only cold noodles in Japan. There are versions of udon and cold ramen, in addition to several other dishes. What do you think of Zaru soba? Have you had a chance to try this dish? I hope you enjoyed this short article, we appreciate the comments and shares.

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