This quick & easy zaru soba recipe features cold soba noodles dipped in an ultra-flavorful flavorful Tsuyu sauce made with only 4 simple ingredients from your pantry! This light and refreshing meal takes just a few minutes to prepare, and truly the ultimate way to cool down on a hot summer day.
What is Zaru Soba?
Zaru Soba is easily one of my favorite meals to have in the summertime as they are simple to prepare, healthy, and best of all, loaded with incredible umami flavors to complement the ice-cold noodles.
This soba recipe is third on the cold noodle series I am sharing with you to enjoy on a hot summer day and one that I make the most often due to its alluring flavors and easy prep.
Soba noodles are known to be healthier than other alternatives as it is made with a base of buckwheat flour, resulting in fewer calories and more nutrients such as Vitamin B, various minerals, and fiber.
It’s also gluten-free and tastes incredible with a nutty flavor and a wholesome texture. If you’ve been following my blog awhile you’d know that my obsession with noodles is indisputable, and this is a great way to satisfy that noodle craving without taking on the extra calories.
Although there are many different ways to prepare cold soba noodles, the dish that I am sharing with you today is known as Zaru Soba (ざるそば) in Japan, which is the most classic way to serve soba noodles in dipping them in a rich and flavorful Mentsuyu sauce, which can be put together in minutes using this easy recipe.
Although Mentusyu is traditionally made with homemade dashi stock and a long list of ingredients, we will be simplifying the process today as usual but without any compromise to the taste.
Best of all, the soba dipping sauce is good for up to 2 weeks in the fridge, making it the ultimate make-ahead meal to enjoy during the summertime.
What do I need to make Zaru Soba?
This easy soba recipe calls for a seamless two-step preparation of cooking the noodles and making the dipping sauce. Here is everything you’ll need to make this delicious summer meal:
- Soba noodles: to be cooked, chilled and served alongside your Tsuyu sauce. These noodles are sold pre-portioned and only take 3-4 minutes to cook in boiling water, to be strained and rinsed under ice-cold water prior to serving.
- Dashi (or chicken stock), soy sauce, mirin, and sugar: to make the Mentsuyu dipping sauce.
- Dashi stock, which is the backbone of many Japanese dishes, can be made in seconds with a soup stock, which works in a similar fashion as chicken stock or bouillon cube.
- Simply mix the powder into your water, and it’s good to be used in your dishes, including this one. The ratio for the Hon Dashi brand, in particular, is 1 1/3 tsp (4g) for every 2 1/2 cups of water (600ml), so you’ll only need about 2/3 tsp for this recipe, to make a cup of dashi stock.
- Please feel free to use homemade stock as well if you prefer, but this method is a true life-saver for the busy days, without compromising the flavor.
How do I serve Zaru Soba?
There are many different ways to serve Zaru Soba, but my favorite way is to garnish the noodles with some shredded nori, microgreens, and sesame seeds, and dressing my sauce with minced daikon, quail egg yolk, and a large handful of chopped green onion.
Here is a list of popular toppings that you can add to your tsuyu dipping sauce:
- Chopped green onions: or scallions.
- Shredded nori: you can purchase pre-shredded nori, or use a pair of scissors to snip them into silvers.
- Wasabi: fresh or store-bought will both work.
- Grated daikon or ginger: shaved in a fine grater and squeezed of excess liquid
- Raw egg yolk or poached egg: quail or regular-sized
- Tempura: vegetable or shrimp
The best way to serve these soba noodles for a crowd is to serve the noodles and dipping sauce individually, and have the variety of toppings centered at the table for people to dress their sauce to their liking!
Zaru Soba is quick & easy to prepare and makes for a fun activity for everyone to enjoy together, which makes it a popular choice for a shared meal during the summertime.
I hope you enjoy this easy and delicious soba recipe, and please feel free to leave a comment below or message me on Instagram with any questions. Happy cooking!
For visual instructions, please refer to the video tutorial above (you will need to disable AdBlock if you are on your computer!).
Other easy dinner recipes you may like:
- Mayak Eggs (Korean Marinated Eggs)
- 10-Minute Sesame Noodles (Ma Jiang Mian)
- 5-Minute Korean Silken Tofu
- 10-Minute Bibim Guksu (Korean Spicy Cold Noodles)
- 10-Minute Tomato Egg Stir Fry
- Easy Dubu Jorim (Korean Braised Tofu)
10-Minute Zaru Soba (Cold Soba Noodles)
- 7 oz (two bundles) soba noodles or more
- toasted sesame seeds, shredded nori, and microgreens optional, for the noodles
- green onion, minced daikon, wasabi, and/or egg yolk optional, for the dipping sauce
- Add dashi, soy sauce, mirin, and sugar into a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to ensure the sauce is well combined. Set aside to cool, or place in the fridge/freezer to speed up the process.
- Cook noodles according to package instructions. Drain and rinse the noodles under ice-cold water tossing them to cool evenly, and drain them of excess water. Garnish your noodles with shredded nori, sesame seeds, and/or microgreens as desired.
- Pour the dipping sauce into a small bowl and dress to your liking. Dip your noodles in the sauce and enjoy!