Zaru Soba is cold buckwheat noodles with dipping sauce, and it is a cool summer noodle dish in Japan. Zaru means a colander or a strainer in Japanese, and cold Soba noodles are usually served on a slotted bamboo mat that lets water drip through. Zarusoba is the great dish to beat brutal summer heat over there.
Soba is a popular Japanese food in the US, and dried Soba noodles can be found at most supermarkets here. One of the reasons why Soba is popular here is because Soba is much healthier than other noodles made from refined flours. Soba has fewer calories and more nutrients such as Vitamin B, various minerals, and fiber. Another reason is that Soba doesn’t contain any gluten. Recent gluten free diet fever may be contributing to the popularity of Soba noodles.
Not only is Soba healthy, but it tastes great, of course. It has a wheaty, nutty, wholesome flavor. It can be wonderful in hot soup too. Hot Soba is for anytime, but there is a special dish eaten on New Year’s Eve, Toshikoshi Soba. Because Soba noodles have no gluten, they can be cut more easily than other noodles. It is believed that eating Soba will cut misfortune of the previous year and bring good luck in the next year.
It is hard to get freshly made Soba noodles in the US, unfortunately, because that’s the best kind. If you can find frozen Soba noodles at Japanese supermarkets, that may be the next best option, but dried Soba noodles are pretty good too. Besides, that’s better than having no Soba noodles at all. That would be tragic!
Zaru Soba is such a perfect dish to eat when you don’t have much appetite in the warm weather. People enjoy the cool sensation of the noodles going down their throat smoothly rather than chewing it well, although you can still taste the aroma of Soba in your mouth. Zaru Soba can be as simple as our recipe here, but you can also dress it up with Tempura and other toppings if you’d like.
- 200g dried Soba noodles
- 1/2 cup Men-Tsuyu (120ml)
- 2/3 cup cold water (160ml)
- shredded Roasted Seaweed (Nori)
- 2 green onions, sliced thinly
- In rolling boiling water in a big pot, add dried Soba noodles and stir. After coming back to a boil, cook for 3-4 minutes (follow the instructions on the package). Strain and cool Soba under running water a bit. Chill in ice water for a couple of minutes. Then strain again.
- Mix Men-Tsuyu and cold water, and divide into dipping bowls.
- Place Soba on plates and top with shredded Roasted Seaweed. Serve with Men-tsuyu, green onions, and wasabi.