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Soba with Shoyu-Mirin Dipping Sauce and Garnishes

Soba noodles dressed in a cool, summery blend of fresh scallions, seaweed, and toasted sesame seeds. Grated daikon and wasabi paste are dipping sauce accessories.
difficulty:
yield:

3 or 4 first course portions

time:

30 minutes

introduction

We serve these soba noodles at room temperature with a chilled sauce that starts with dashi—a broth flavored with katsuobushi (dried bonito tuna flakes) and kombu (dried kelp)—that’s used in much Japanese cookery. We cool the dashi and add sparkling liquid aromatics—shoyu (Japanese soy sauce), mirin (rice wine), and a few drops of citrusy yuzu vinegar. (These ingredients are available in specialty markets and online.) But soba is miraculously versatile at any time of year. We like it just as well in the winter, served in a hot dashi bath with roasted shiitakes.

equipment mise en place

For this recipe, you will need a small saucepan, a pair of tongs, a fine-mesh sieve, and a small bowl or heatproof liquid measuring cup. You will also need serving bowls for the noodles and the dipping sauce.

    • 1
      recipe Soba, cooked and drained
  • for the dipping sauce:

    • 1
      (6-inch) piece kombu
    • ½
      cup packed katsuobushi, preferably wide-shaved
    • 2
      cups spring or filtered water
    • 1
      tablespoon Japanese soy sauce
    • 1
      tablespoon mirin
    • ½
      teaspoon yuzu vinegar (optional)
  • for the garnishes:

    • 1
      tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted in a dry pan over low heat until golden
    • 1
      sheet nori, cut into quarters with scissors and toasted in a hot, dry pan for a few seconds per side, then cut into fine shreds
    • 1
      scallion, white and green part, thinly sliced
    • 1
      small piece daikon, peeled and coarsely grated
    • 1
      tablespoon wasabi paste (optional)
  1.  

    Make the sauce: Wipe the kombu with a damp paper towel. Place it in a small saucepan, add the water, and heat slowly over low heat. When the water is just shy of boiling (do not let it reach a boil), remove the kombu and transfer it to a small bowl. (The kombu can be reused for a subsequent milder-tasting brewing of dashi.) Increase the heat to medium-high. Just as the liquid begins to boil, stir in the katsuobushi. As soon as the liquid does boil, turn down the heat to low and cook very gently, without boiling, for 5 minutes.

  2.  

    Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl or heatproof liquid measuring cup. You will have about ¾ cup. Stir in the soy sauce, mirin, and vinegar, if using. Cover and refrigerate until chilled and ready to serve.

  3.  

    Garnish and serve: Gently rinse the soba under cold running water and drain well. Portion the noodles into individual bowls and the sauce into dipping bowls. Garnish the noodles with sesame seeds, nori, and scallion. Pass the grated daikon and wasabi separately, allowing each person to season the dipping sauce to taste.