I craved eating Japanese Soba noodles after watching the Japanese show ‘Midnight Diner’ (Season 3 – Episode 10) currently on Netflix with subtitles. It’s the scene where the merry group celebrates New Year’s Eve by eating and slurping their noodles at their favorite cozy hangout. The recipe below is for a single serving.
- A handful of Japanese buckwheat soba noodles (I like choosing the package that has the noodles made with yam)
- Tsuyu dipping sauce (you can buy it pre-made in a bottle in the Asian section at your local grocery store or at an Asian store. Same goes for finding a package of soba noodles.)
- wasabi (the kind served at sushi bars or you can get wasabi that comes in a tube or squirt bottle)
- Fresh green onion (optional)
Boil the soba noodles for about 4-5 minutes in lightly salted water. While waiting for the noodles to boil, finely chop the green onion. When it’s time, drain the water from the noodles (or save the water if you want to make tea*) and plunge noodles into a bowl of ice water to cool it off. Transfer cooked soba onto a plate or a Japanese bamboo soba tray called zaru. Sprinkle some green onion if you’d like over the soba noodles and serve the soba with a side of wasabi and a small cup or bowl of tsuyu dipping sauce.
The way to eat soba is when you take the very first bite, enjoy the nutty flavors of the noodles by itself without condiments or sauce. Then use your chopsticks and pick up a tiny dab of wasabi as well as the soba noodles and dip the last third or ends of the noodles (not whole or halfway) into the smokey flavor of the tsuyu and enjoy ‘slurping’ your delicious Soba noodles as you eat. The loud slurping is welcomed because it’s said the slurping captures the full flavor of the soba. What a fine meal! Now enjoy while watching the ‘Midnight Diner’ show.
Sometimes I like to add a piece of baked chicken (here’s how I cook it) or cooked seafood (e.g. salmon [my Mom’s recipe], shrimp, etc.) on the side with fresh lemon slices.
* If you want to make an after-meal tea, you can use what’s left of your tsuyu from the meal and mix it with a bit of the water that was used to boil your soba.