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Zaru Soba


  • 14 oz soba noodles
  • 1/2 cup Mentsuyu, homemade or storebought
  • 1/2 cup ice cold water

Mentsuyu (Dipping sauce; this recipe makes 1 cup concentrated mentsuyu; you can also skip this and use storebought mentsuyu from your local Asian market).

  • 1/4 cup sake
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 1" x 1" piece of kombu (dried kelp)
  • 1 cup packed katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)


  • Shredded nori (dried seaweed)
  • scallions, thinly sliced
  • wasabi, optional


Homemade Mentsuyu

  • In a medium saucepan, bring sake to a boil over moderate heat. Let the alcohol evaporate; this will take about 30 seconds.
  • Add the soy sauce, mirin, kombu, and dried bonito flakes (katsuobushi).
  • Bring everything to a rolling boil, then simmer on low heat for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, and set the sauce aside until it cools down. Once cool, strain the sauce and set aside. (This sauce keeps well in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to a month.)

Soba noodles

  • Cook soba noodles according to the package instructions. (Note: don't add salt or oil to the water like you would for pasta).
  • Occasionally stir the noodles to ensure they don’t stick to one another and check on the tenderness; don't not overcook them. Sometimes they are done earlier than the package instructions. If that's the case, remove them when you feel they are done.
  • Strain the noodles and run under cold water for a few seconds while tossing the noodles around with your hands to not only cool them, but to also remove starches.
  • Give the sieve a good shake to rid of excess water. You can leave them in the sieve while you prep your garnishes, or you can submerge them into an ice bath set up in a large bowl until the noodles are cool. I tend to just let the noodles sit since I give them a good and thorough rinse through cold water anyway.


  • Place bamboo mats or sieves over a plate. Place soba noodles over the mats and garnish with shredded nori.
  • In a small bowl, combine equal parts mentsuyu and water; stir to combine. Distribute the mentsuyu into small individual bowls and serve alongside noodles, a small bowl of sliced scallions, and wasabi (optional).
  • To eat, simply grab soba noodles with your chopsticks, dip into mentsuyu, and slurp away. You can mix wasabi into your dipping sauce, and add scallions as you see fit.