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Zaru Soba (cold Japanese buckwheat noodles)

This version of soba noodles is as simple as it gets. Served at room temperature or chilled, this is the perfect meal for a hot summer day. Although it's wonderful in winter as well.

You'll need:
1 ten ounce package of dried soba noodles
and to make the dipping sauce:

  • 1 1/4 cups of dashi (Japanese soup stock)
  • 1/2 cup of shoyu (soy sauce)
  • 1/4 cup mirin (Japanese sweet cooking wine)

for condiments:

  • 1 sheet nori seaweed (lightly toasted over the stove top flame and then crumbled)
  • 1/2 block of chilled silken tofu cut into small one inch cubes
  • 4 tablespoons of finely diced scallions
  • 1 tablespoon of wasabi (Japanese horseradish) paste

Ahead of time, mix and heat the dipping sauce ingredients in a small saucepan, remove and let cool (you can chill this if you like). Cook the dried soba, then rinse them well in a colander using cold water, drain, then place in ice water, drain again. Serve the soba on a woven bamboo tray (zaru) meant for noodles or in small lacquer bowls. Place the cubed tofu on top, and garnish with the scallions, crumbled nori, and wasabi. Using hashi (chopsticks), dip the noodles into the cold dipping sauce.

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