Tuesday, June 18, 2013

DIY cold soba

I saw a friend's posts on FaceBook about eating healthy and one post was about zaru soba. Cold buckwheat noodles are popular fare in Japan during the summer as it is both healthy and refreshing. It is among my favorites and I usually bought a set for lunches at the lab or dinner at home from the Family Mart or Yamazaki convenience stores near the university and my home. Until only recently, we only ate zaru soba at Japanese restaurants here and usually as a set with tempura (ten zaru soba). And so I decided to prepare zaru soba myself and bought the ingredients during one trip at the supermarket near our home. It's really quite easy...just follow the steps below:

Buckwheat noodles and individually packed dried seaweed from the supermarket.

Descriptions and some instructions at the back have been translated and appears on a sticker posted on the packaging.

Cook the buckwheat noodles (about 6 minutes).

Place the soba on a strainer.

Wash the soba with running water.

Gently wash it with your hands [Make sure hands are clean before you do this. ] to make sure excess starch is washed from the noodles. This is a process that's also recommended for your typical instant noodles.

Transfer to a plate or bowl (if you don't have zaru or the small bamboo mat over a shallow bowl). You have a choice to place the soba on top of ice cubes if you use zaru. Otherwise, you'll end up with soupy soba. If you really want to have cold soba just wash it with cold water.

Add seaweed and other toppings (Bonito flakes are highly recommended for the authentic Japanese taste.).

Zaru soba dashi (dipping sauce) from the supermarket.
An English translation is also found on a sticker at the back of the bottle.

Pour yourself ready made dashi (dipping sauce) in a bowl. You can also mix in some wasabi for that extra kick in the dip.

Voila! Cold soba for lunch or dinner!
Japanese restaurants in the Philippines usually serve zaru soba with quail's egg. I find this quite unusual as the egg is not usually part of the meals I've eaten in restaurants while in Japan (Of course, there are no eggs with the set you can buy at convenience stores there.). Perhaps this is just a variation of the dish so I don't really question its authenticity. Nevertheless, I prefer mine without th quail's egg and so my zaru soba is practically vegetarian fare. Itadakimasu!


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