Zaru soba is a popular Japanese summer salad. The cold noodles are traditionally served in a zaru (bamboo basket). Chopsticks are used to pick up a small amount of the noodles which are then dipped into the sauce, mixed with some wasabi and ginger. The carrot isn’t traditional but we’ve included it for texture, colour and substance.
- 540 g (2 packets) soba noodles
- 3 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal
- 2 Lebanese cucumbers, cut into julienne
- 2 carrots, cut into julienne
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
- 1 sheet nori (roasted seaweed), cut into thin strips with scissors
- wasabi and pickled ginger, to serve
Soy dipping sauce (mentsuyu)
- 3 tsp dashi granules
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) mirin (see Note)
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) soy sauce
- 3 tsp white sugar
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make dipping sauce, place all ingredients and 410 ml water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve sugar and dashi. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Cook soba noodles in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 4 minutes or until just tender. Drain in a colander and place under cold running water for 3 minutes, tossing the noodles with your fingers, until they feel silky. Drain well.
Place noodles on a platter. Scatter over spring onions, then top with cucumbers, carrots, sesame seeds and nori. Serve with wasabi, pickled ginger and the soy dipping sauce.
• Mirin, available from selected supermarkets and Asian food shops, is a rice wine that is similar to sake.
As seen in Feast magazine, Feb 2012, Issue 6. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.
Photography by Peter Georgakopoulos.