This is an incredibly easy, healthy, cheap, fast, delicious, and satisfying meal that I have at least a few times a week. It has only a few ingredients and it hits the spot every time!
Soba is Japanese for buckwheat, which is a highly nutritious seed that is made into thin noodles. It’s also gluten free and low in calories. This dish is a staple in Japanese cuisine.
There are many kinds of soba noodles, but they vary in quality. Make sure you buy organic and read the ingredients and get the one with buckwheat flour as the first ingredient, rather than wheat flour, and without preservatives or chemicals. In certain regions of Japan, they have soba noodles made only with buckwheat flour. I dream about eating that someday.
Soba noodles take a lot less time to cook than pasta, so make sure you follow the direction on the package. Soggy soba noodles ruins it.
Rinse the soba noodles thoroughly in cold water and shake off the excess water. In the summer, you can also toss the noodles in ice and serve it on the plate for extra coolness.
Traditionally, thinly sliced cucumbers are used as the topping. You can use Persian, English or Japanese cucumbers. Make sure you slice them thin (julienne) to make it more palatable.
This is the star of this dish. A good dipping sauce with cold soba noodles are a match made in stomach heaven. There are only a few ingredients in the sauce, so make sure each ingredients are the best quality as much as possible. It really does make a world of difference.
You really don’t need a recipe for the dipping sauce, but I’ve included the measurements below. Simply, add all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and stir, and always give it a taste and season to your liking.
Make sure you use good dashi, homemade or store bought. Traditionally, Japanese dashi is made with kombu, sea kelp and bonito flakes (fermented fish). As a vegetarian, I use only kombu or better yet a combination of kombu and dried mushroom that really give it a deep umami flavor. I also use veggie broth or mushroom stock in place of dashi sometimes and it works really well.
Here’s my recipe for a Homemade Vegetarian Dashi
Use good organic soy sauce or tamari. Remember that soy sauce is supposed to be fermented for a long time, but cheap commercial brands take short cuts by adding chemicals. So opt for good quality soy sauce or tamari, which is fermented longer, which is what I use.
Sake is optional. You can leave it out if you don’t have sake or prefer your sauce to be alcohol free. It’s up to you.
Organic soba noodles (good quality)
Organic cucumbers of any; thinly sliced
1 cup dashi; homemade or store bought; preferably organic
3 tablespoons organic soy sauce or tamari
1 1/2 teaspoons organic sugar (adjust to your liking)
Green onions; both white and green parts, finely chopped
Optional in the Sauce:
1 tablespoon sake
Grated daikon or radishes
Soba Noodle Optional Toppings:
Apples; preferably organic like Fuji; thinly sliced
Pears, daikon, radishes, thinly sliced
Toasted seaweed (torn into small pieces) or furukai without bonito (combination of seaweed, sesame seeds, and spices).
In a medium or large pot, place water half way and bring to boil.
Cook the soba noodles according to the package instruction.
In the meanwhile, make the sauce by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Slice the cucumbers thinly along with other toppings, if using.
Rinse the soba noodles in cold water and shake off excess water and place it on a plate or on a large bowl.
Top the soba noodles with cucumbers and/or other toppings.
Enjoy the soba noodles by dipping noodles in the sauce one bite at a time. You can also drink the remaining sauce after the noodles are eaten. So good!