Sunday, March 30, 2014

Zaru Soba (Cold White Buckwheat Noodles)

The weather in our little red dot can be so hot these days, coupled with thunderous showers in the afternoons.  No, I am not complaining. I am going to be grateful for the rain which ended the 27-day dry spell started last month. The rain certainly provides relief to the parched earth, which had turned brown during Singapore's record dry spell.

This is me taking matters into my hands, making my own cold soba noodles.

Soba is the Japanese name for buckwheat. It is a type of thin noodle made from buckwheat flour. Soba noodles are served either drained and chilled with a dipping sauce in the summer, or in hot in the winter with a soy-based dashi broth. Chilled soba is often served on a sieve-like bamboo tray called a zaru, sometimes garnished with bits of dried nori seaweed, with a dipping sauce known as soba tsuyu on the side. 

For a cook noob like me, this is a very easy recipe to combat the heat.     

(Adapted from Just Hungry)
  1. Boil a large pot of water up to a boil. Unlike pasta, you DO NOT add salt to the water. Add dried soba noodles in the boiling water in circular motion, separating the noodles from each other. Boil soba noodles, according to the package instructions (each one is slightly different). Once in a while stir the noodles so they don't stick to each other. Check the tenderness and do not overcook. 
  2. At this point, you may want to reserve some of the cooking water. This is called sobayu, literally 'hot soba water', and many people like to add it to the remaining soba dipping sauce at the end of the meal to drink like soup!
  3. Drain the noodles into a colander. Once the water and the noodles are cool, start to 'wash' the noodles. Take handfuls and gently swish and rub them in the water. Your goal is to wash off any trace of starchiness or gumminess on the noodles. When you're done, the water should run clear. This is very important and key to great tasting noodle.
  4. Put chopped green onions and wasabi on a small plate. Serve soba noodles on a tray or dish. Sprinkle Yakinori (roasted seaweed) on top right before you serve.  
  5. For the dipping sauce, it is supposed to be a little salty because you will be "dipping" the soba noodles instead of soaking them to eat. You can always dilute it later if needed. 


  1. Hi Dalyn,

    Heard about Singapore weather too from my relatives. I remember that it was raining like crazy for CNY 2013 but nothing much this year... Strange? Must be global warming!!!

    To combat hot weather, eating your cold noodle sounds good!


    1. Hi Zoe,
      Well, we enjoyed the cool weather especially in the morning and evening in Jan/Feb, temp was hovering around 25 deg C. There has been a change in weather around the world. I was caught in the heaviest snowstorm in Jerusalem last Dec but witnessed this ancient city blanketed in white snow. Beautiful.