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Zaru Soba (Japanese cold buckwheat noodles served on a bamboo tray)

Zaru Soba (Cold Buckwheat Noodles with Homemade Mentsuyu Dipping Sauce)

  • Author: Yuto Omura
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 portions 1x


How to make refreshing Japanese zaru soba (cold buckwheat noodles) with homemade mentsuyu dipping sauce.


  • 100ml Awase Dashi (kelp and bonito flake stock)
  • 20ml Soy sauce (4 tsp)
  • 20ml Mirin (4 tsp)
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 Dried shiitake mushroom
  • 2 portions Soba noodles
  • Ice cubes for chilling
  • 1/4 sheet Nori (optional)



  1. Take a small pan and add 100ml of awase dashi, 20ml of soy sauce and 20ml of mirin.
  2. Place the pan on the stove and bring the sauce to a boil. Allow it to boil for 1 minute to burn off the alcohol in the mirin.
  3. Add 1 tsp of sugar to the pan and mix until it's dissolved into the liquid.
  4. Take the pan off the heat, pour the dipping sauce into a heatproof jug and add 1 dried shiitake mushroom. 
  5. Place the jug in a bowl of ice to cool it quickly. The mentsuyu is complete.
  6. Cook your soba noodles according the the instructions on the packaging. 
  7. Once it's cooked, pour the soba noodles into a strainer to drain away the water. Rinse the noodles under cold running water and add a few ice cubes to make them extra cold.
  8. Take 1/4 a sheet of nori and cut it into thin strips to make kizami nori.
  9. Take two small plates and to each one, add 1/2 tsp wasabi, 1/2 tsp grated ginger, 1 tbsp tenkasu and 1 tbsp chopped spring onion.
  10. Place the soba noodles on the "zaru" (it's also fine to add a few extra ice cubes here). Sprinkle nori over the noodles. (You can use a bamboo sushi mat on a plate if you don't have a zaru.)
  11. Pour your dipping sauce into 2 serving cups.
  12. Each serving should have a portion of soba, a cup of cold mentsuyu dipping sauce and a small plate of ingredients to flavour the sauce.
  13. Enjoy on its own or with light and crispy tempura!


You can use the same recipe to make zaru udon, just replace the udon noodles with soba noodles.

If you're doubling or tripling the recipe, the mentsuyu will take longer to cool.

You can keep left over mentsuyu in the fridge for about 1 month so I recommend making extra if you plan to make zaru udon or zaru soba often during the summer!

If you want to make it vegan, you can use my vegan awase dashi recipe.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cooling Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Noodles
  • Method: Boiling
  • Cuisine: Japanese

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