A couple weeks ago in Northern California, the weather was incredibly hot, with temps in the high 80s to 90s. Not wanting to add to the stuffy heat in our apartment, I couldn’t bring myself to use the stove or turn on the oven. After trying nangmyun in a Korean restaurant, I began searching for more cold noodle recipes.
I found this recipe for Zaru Soba from a 2008 SF Gate article. It definitely can be modified to suit individual tastes. I’m actually a little hesitant to post it here because the dipping sauce tastes overly mirin-ish and the sheer volume of sauce that this recipe yields is just too much. You only need a little bit for zaru soba. I would cut it by at least 1/3 next time, and use a lot less mirin and soy sauce. The flavors of the latter two easily overpowered the delicate flavor of dashi stock. So, like the lion’s head meatballs, this dish is going to be a work in progess. Think of this as the first attempt.
(No complaints about the soba noodles though…the ice-cold soba was absolutely refreshing, perfect for a summer’s day.)
Zaru Soba, adapted from SF Gate’s recipe from Toshio Sakamaki, sushi chef of Ozumo in San Francisco
3 c dashi stock
1/2 c mirin (rice wine)
1/2 c light soy sauce
1 (12.7 ounce) package of soba noodles
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 egg, beaten
In a medium pot, bring dashi stock, mirin and soy sauce to a boil. Set aside to cool, then refrigerate until chilled.
Prepare the noodles according to the package instructions. Drain in a colander, thoroughly rinsing under cold water to remove excess starch. Transfer noodles to a large bowl filled halfway with ice water; this will aid in quickly chilling the noodles and stop the cooking process.
Divide noodles into individual portions. Pour some sauce into individual dipping bowls and arrange condiments on small plates. Serve with noodles. Dip small amounts of noodles into the sauce and eat.