Recipe for Kurumi Soba- refreshing Japanese chilled soba noodles paired with a walnut dipping sauce and thinly sliced green onions.
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Updated photos and recipe (October 4, 2018): I came across this recipe for Kurumi Soba in Japanese Farm Food and it was perfect for the warm days we are still having here in Los Angeles. Soba noodles are cooked until tender (I recently found Yuzu soba at the Tokyo Centra and Main in Gardena), rinsed in ice water, and drained to make sure they are completely chilled and free of starch. The tender soba noodles are paired with a homemade Mori Tsuyu (dipping sauce) that has been seasoned with ground walnuts. It is such a light and refreshing dish that comes together in less than 30 minutes for an easy lunch.
To serve, lift each bite of the chilled soba noodles and dip them briefly in the seasoned dipping sauce before slurping up. The Mori Tsuyu tends to be salty so don’t let the noodles soak too long. You just want to give them a bit of the flavor. The leftover sauce can be diluted further with sobayu (the reserved cooking water from the soba) to make a soup.
Dashi is a stock used often in Japanese cooking. It is made with a combination of Kombu (dried Japanese kelp) and Katsuobushi (bonito/tuna flakes) simmered in water. I have been able to find both of these ingredients at Whole Foods and markets specializing in Japanese ingredients. You can make your own dashi or use instant dashi granules (be sure to check the ingredient list if using instant).
Mirin is a sweet Japanese cooking rice wine. I use hon-mirin (true mirin) in recipes calling for mirin. I have been able to find it in Asian food markets and Whole Foods. Many grocery stores have aji-mirin, but those usually have a lot of additives. Other types of mirin are shio-mirin (includes salt) and shin-mirin (very little alcohol). It is also available on Amazon: Eden Foods Mirin Rice Cooking Wine.
Looking for more Japanese noodle recipes? Try Niku Udon (Japanese Meat Udon), Yakisoba Pan, and Hiyashi Tanuki Udon (Japanese Chilled Raccoon Dog Udon).
Kurumi Soba (Soba with Walnut Dipping Sauce) Recipe
Adapted from Japanese Farm Food
Kurumi Soba (Soba with Walnut Dipping Sauce)
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1 1/3 cups dashi
- 1 pound soba noodles
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
To make the Mori Tsuyu:
- In a small saucepan, simmer the mirin over high heat, whisking constantly, for 3-5 minutes until the alcohol smell disappears. Whisk in the sugar until dissolved and then the soy sauce. Remove from heat.
- Mix 6 tablespoons of this mixture into the dashi. Set aside the remaining and store in the refrigerator for up to a year.
To assemble the soba:
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the soba and cook until just tender, 4-5 minutes. Drain and place in a large bowl filled with ice water. Swirl the noodles, drain, rinse, and divide among serving plates.
- Grind the walnuts in a small food processor or mortar and pestle until just powdery.
- Place the powdered walnuts and thinly sliced green onions in small bowls next to the mori tsuyu (dipping sauce). Season the dipping sauce with desired amounts of walnuts and green onions. Dip each bite of soba noodles into the sauce before eating.