Japanese Soba

Experience the authentic flavors of Japan with my Japanese Soba recipe! These buckwheat noodles, served chilled with a flavorful mentsuyu dipping sauce, are perfect for beating the summer heat! Try this refreshing and easy-to-make dish for a taste of Japanese cuisine at home!

Japanese cold noodle soba made with edamame noodles being picked up with a pair of chopstick and dipping into mentsuyu sauce.

Why I Love This Recipe

Growing up eating Japanese food all my life, my Japanese Soba recipe was a staple lunch during the summer weekends! It’s a classic Japanese noodle dish, similar to my Beef Udon and Beef Yakisoba recipes, but served chilled, just like my Asian Noodles Salad recipe, adding a refreshing twist perfect for cooling down on a hot summer day!

But what truly sets my version apart is my homemade mentsuyu sauce, bursting with natural flavors and free from any additives! With perfectly cooked noodles bathed in savory, slightly sweet sauce, it’s a delightful taste of Japan in every bite that I promise you can’t beat! So if you’re craving authentic Japanese cuisine that’s easy to make and utterly satisfying, you’ve got to try this recipe now!

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • Noodles – Japanese buckwheat soba noodles found at Asian grocer stores.  For low carb use Edamame Noodles.
  • Japanese Sake – typically will come in a large bottle labeled junmai sake. Can also substitute with dry sherry wine or Chinese cooking wine, found at local grocery stores or Asian markets. 
  • Soy Sauce – low-sodium Soy Sauce preferred. Can also use tamari for gluten-free.
  • Sweetener use your preferred sweetener. 
  • Bonito Flakes – made from shaved Dried Bonito fish. Commonly used to make broth and responsible for giving Japanese cuisine that signature umami flavor. Can replace with Hondashi.
  • Cold Water  filtered cold water.
  • Green Onions – fresh chopped green onion scallions.
  • Ginger – freshly grated ginger.

Additional Add Ins

For additional flavor and texture, consider incorporating chopped Umeboshi, Dried Seaweed, Wasabi, Myoga, or Green Onions directly into your mentsuyu dipping sauce.

🍶 Mirin Ingredient Note

While mirin is traditionally used to make mentsuyu sauce, we’ve considered that mirin might not be readily available in all areas. To accommodate this, the recipe modifies the ratio of Japanese sake and sweetener.

Japanese cold noodle soba served in a wooden bowl with mentsuyu sauce in the middle.

Directions

Step 1 Begin by preparing the mentsuyu dipping sauce in a saucepan. Combine Japanese sake, soy sauce, sweetener, and bonito flakes or hondashi. Simmer until the sauce slightly thickens, then remove from heat. If using bonito flakes, strain the sauce and transfer to a serving bowl.

Mentsuyu sauce being made.

🥢 Mentsuyu Pro Tip

For a simpler preparation of the mentsuyu sauce, opt for Hondashi instead of bonito flakes. With hondashi, there’s no need to strain the sauce, saving you time and effort.

Step 2 Boil your noodles in a large pot following the packaging instructions, approximately 3-5 minutes for zarusoba. Run the noodles under cold water, strain and serve on a plate.

Soba nooldes in water.

🍜 Noodle Serving Pro Tip

For optimal freshness and texture, OInly Boil the Amount of Noodles You Plan to Eat, as leftovers may not hold well.

Step 3 Adjust the mentsuyu sauce’s concentration to your liking by adding cold filtered water, then garnish with your choice of toppings and dip the noodles into the mentsuyu sauce.

🍽️ Serving Pro Tip

If the noodles begin to stick together, simply pour some water over them to loosen them up. For an Extra-Chilled Noodle, serve your noodles in a bowl filled with Ice Water.

Recipe Variation

For a delightful twist, consider preparing a Hot Soba version of this recipe. Utilize the flavorful mentsuyu sauce as a base, gradually adding hot water to create a savory soup. Once the broth is ready, simply add the soba noodles to the bowl.

Pairing Recommendations

This Japanese Soba recipe is a meal on its own but will serve well with other chilled Japanese side dishes like Japanese Spinach Salad, Japanese Cucumber Salad, or Japanese Tofu Yudofu, along with a cold glass of Mugicha.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is mentsuyu sauce?

Mentsuyu sauce is a delectable, sweet, and savory dipping sauce bursting with umami flavors, perfect for dipping soba noodles.

What Noodles to Use For Japanese Soba?

For traditional Japanese soba noodles, also known as buckwheat noodles, the primary choice is noodles made primarily from buckwheat flour. These noodles typically have a light brown tint, though variations in color can occur depending on the wheat flour used in the mixture. If looking for an low carb alternative, edamame noodles serve as an excellent substitute for traditional noodles.

Do I need to rinse the noodles after boiling them?

Yes, we recommend running them through cold water to stop the cooking process.

What can I use if I don't have access to Japanese ingredients like myoga or dried seaweed?

These are optional toppings, so you can simply skip them.

Storage Tips

The noodles are best enjoyed right after preparation as they may not hold well over time. However, the sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 14-21 days.

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Watch How To Make It

Japanese cold noodle soba made with edamame noodles being picked up with a pair of chopsticks.

Japanese Soba

A Japanese soba recipe, learn how to make authentic Japanese soba noodles with homemade mentsuyu dipping sauce. Perfect for a refreshing meal on a hot day!
4.75 from 8 votes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: Japanese soba, mentsuyu recipe
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2
Print Recipe
Calories: 627kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 oz Buckwheat Soba Noodles edamame noodles for low carb
  • 1/3 Cup Japanese Sake
  • 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Sweetener your preferred sweetener
  • 1 1/2 Cup Bonito Flakes can sub with 1/4 tsp of hondashi
  • 2 1/2 tbsp Cold Water add more water for lighter sauce
  • 1 Stalk Green Onion
  • 1/2 Inch Ginger

Instructions

  • Gather all the ingredients.
    Ingredients for Japanese soba.
  • Finely slice green onions and transfer to serving plate.
    Chopped green onions.
  • Grind down ginger with grater and transfer to serving plate.
    Grated ginger.
  • Combine Japanese cooking sake, soy sauce, sweetener, and bonito flakes or hondashi in a saucepan. Bring to a light boil and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat and strain into a bowl, pressing out excess sauce from the bonito flakes. Stir in 2 1/2 tbsp of cool water, then divide the sauce among servings. Adjust thickness by adding more water if desired. Note - if using hondashi, no need to strain the sauce.
    Mentsuyu sauce being made.
  • Add soba noodles to a pot with boiling water and follow cooking instructions indicated on package. Once cooked, use a strainer and wash in cold water. Transfer to serving plate.
    Cooked soba nooldes in a strainer.
  • To serve, add chosen toppings to the mentsuyu dipping sauce and mix thoroughly. Then, dip a small amount of noodles into the sauce.
    Soba noodles dipped in mentsuyu sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 627kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 122g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 119mg | Sodium: 2095mg | Potassium: 1603mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 60IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg
*Values Based Per Serving
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2 Comments

  1. substitute for Japanese sake?

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