Hello foodies and cooking lovers!
All the way from Japan, I discovered a new recipe that has made its way into my weekly rotation.
Sounds familiar? Maybe not. Well, today, I’ll give you a detailed cooking recipe on how I prepared this summer food staple, and it can easily find a spot on your weekly rotation too.
Zaru Soba is boiled, and chilled buckwheat noodles served with a dipping sauce called tsuyu and some toppings. Soba is the noodles, and Zaru is the bamboo strainer (or basket) used to serve the noodles during the Edo period.
The meal makes for a great summer lunch or dinner, and my kids love how interactive the meal is. They get to practice their chopstick skills and choose what they want from the “toppings bar” that I set up on the table.
The recipe has a few moving parts, and you may have to stock up on a few special ingredients. But once you have it down, it’s quick and easy to make, and the dipping sauce and toppings can be prepared in advance.
So, let’s get cooking. This recipe serves four as a main course:
Step One: Kaeshi
This is the base for the dipping sauce. Put ¼ cup of mirin in a saucepan and leave it to boil; lower the heat and let it simmer for a minute. Next, add 1 tablespoon of granulated or superfine white sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Next, add ¾ cup dark soy sauce. Once it starts bubbling, pull the pan off the heat and set it aside to cool. For easier prep, you can make this base in a larger quantity and store it in the refrigerator for weeks.
Step Two: Dashi
This is the stock that will be mixed with the Kaeshi to make the dipping sauce: soak a small piece of Kombu seaweed in 3 cups of cold water in a saucepan for about 20 minutes. Bring the water to boil, add 1/3 cup of bonito flakes, and immediately pull the pan from the heat. Let the pan sit for 5minutes and then drain the stock through a fine colander, discarding the bonito and Kombu but saving the broth.
You can make a vegetarian version by skipping the bonito and using just Kombu, letting it soak for at least ½ hour, or using Kombu and dried shitake mushrooms.
Step Three: Make the Dipping Sauce
Mix the Kaeshi and Dashi to make the dipping sauce and let the mixture simmer for a few minutes. Then pull it off from the heat and let it cool. I usually let it cool on the counter and then stick it in the refrigerator, so it’s cold when I serve it.
Step Four: Soba
To cook the soba noodles, follow the directions on the package. I usually make one 8 oz. box of soba, and it’s enough for four. Once the noodles are cooked (not soggy), pull from the heat and drain the water. Run cold water over the noodles and use your hands – clean hands – to wash the noodles, rinsing away any starch. Serve forkfuls of noodles on a few plates or a large platter.
Step Five: Condiments/Toppings
You are allowed to be creative with your toppings. Here’s what I usually do: sliced hardboiled eggs, chopped onions, toasted black sesame seeds, cubed firm tofu, and strips of nori seaweed. Other ideas include freshly grated ginger, wasabi, pieces of salmon, and others.
Step Six: Serving
To serve, I pour about ¼ of the dipping sauce in individual bowls for each person. I then put the platter of noodle bundles and the condiments in the center of the table. Each person can grab a noodle bundle, drop it in their dipping sauce and add whatever topping they want. I usually serve some cucumber and radishes on the side for a bit of crunch.
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POSTED IN: FOOD. TAGGED: EASY DINNER RECIPES, FAMILY DINNER, HEALTHY DINNERS