Oodles of noodles
Japanese style noodles are becoming very popular in the States. We have Ramen, which may have originated in China, shops popping up all over the place these days and people are familiar with Udon and Soba too. When it comes to ramen, Ken and I make a great team – I love the broth and he loves the noodles. I can never eat all the noodles and the broth is so full of flavor and perfectly seasoned I can’t get enough of it so I am happy to fill up on just that.
Noodles are served both hot and cold in Japan and other Southeast Asian countries such as China and Vietnam. Cold buckwheat soba was my first meal when I landed in Japan. I was fresh off the plane from America and had no idea how to eat it.
Did I say that Ken loves noodles? The day I arrived in Japan to visit in the middle of summer he assumed, mistakenly, that I would really love a plate of cold noodles. I was starving and had been dreaming about hamburgers for several hours of the very long flight and when that basket arrived with a heaping pile of cold brown noodles and a cup of similarly cold brown liquid, I felt that tight feeling in your throat you get when you are holding back tears.
I was not adept at chopsticks and did not know how I was going to eat these noodles using them, much less how I was going to fake enjoying that lunch.
I so wanted a hamburger.
I did my best and honestly do not remember what I thought of the brown cold noodles at the time, probably not much, but I do know that I still wanted a hamburger.
It did not take long for my palate to adjust to Japanese ingredients and the lack of hamburgers and I came to enjoy any sort of cold noodle and I am being completely honest when I say that zaru soba, cold buckwheat noodles, soon became one of my favorite summer meals.
Now I really get the whole “refreshing cold noodles on a hot summer day” thing and believe it or not our kids love cold noodles dipped in cold dipping sauce too!
To prepare this type of dish you should use dried buckwheat, thin rice noodles (somen) or if you can find them, try the delicately green tea flavored chasoba. Boil the noodles then run cold water over them and keep them chilled on bed of ice or on a plate surrounded by ice. Get your condiments prepped: thinly sliced green onion and thinly sliced sheets of nori really make the dish and don’t forget the wasabi! Without the condiments the noodles are fairly bland so you need to prepare the condiments along with the noodles.
If you are the adventurous type and looking to try something new with the distinct flavor and ambiance of Asia take the plunge and make yourself some cold noodles.
Inside tip for successfully eating cold soba: First add small amount of wasabi to your sauce cup and mix thoroughly. Scoop up noodles and drop gently into the sauce then top with green onion and nori. Use chopsticks to pick up noodles, onion and nori and carefully bring to open mouth.
You will need:
Soba Tsuyu– comes in concentrated or “straight” . Straight is far more expensive but you can just pour straight (get it?) from the bottle
Cold Green Tea Buckwheat Noodles
- May 28, 2020
- 10 min
- Print this
- 4-5 bundles dry noodles
- 1/2 c thinly sliced green onions
- 1/2 c thinly sliced seaweed
- wasabi paste
- soba dipping sauce
- Step 1
- Bring large pot of water to boil. Add noodle bundles (approx. 1 bundle per person)and cook according to package directions
- Step 2
- While noodles are boiling thinly slice green onion
- Step 3
- Fold nori sheets in half and half again lengthwise and slice thinly about 1″ lengths 1/8″ thickness
- Step 4
- Prepare cups with soba dipping sauce for each person
- Step 5
- When noodles are done drain into a colander and immediately run very cold water over them using your hand to move noodles so that entire batch is cooled off.