Cold Soba Noodle Salad (Zaru Soba)
Cold soba noodles served with a sauce for dipping are a summertime favorite in Japan. We wanted to translate the dish for the Western kitchen without sacrificing the light, refreshing qualities of the traditional dish.
Why This Recipe Works
For a cold soba noodle salad recipe that could be assembled after a trip to a well-stocked supermarket, we cooked the noodles in at least 4 quarts of water and quickly rinsed them under cold running water to prevent overcooking, tossing them with a little bit of vegetable oil to avoid clumping. For the dipping sauce, which traditionally includes a dashi (broth) made from seaweed and bonito flakes, we had in mind something simpler, a combination of soy sauce, mirin, wasabi, sugar, and ginger poured right over the noodles. To compensate for the ocean-like notes of a traditional dipping sauce, we toasted nori (flat sheets of seaweed), cut it into strips, and sprinkled them over the noodles along with bonito flakes.