Umami Mart Registry

DSCN2053_s Cold noodles are one of the best things about the summer. My favorite cold noodles are soba noodles. When it's hot outside and steaming rice sounds like the last thing I want to do, I can always rely on soba noodles. But there have been more than a few times that I find that my tsuyu (soba dipping sauce) supply is bone dry or when my wallet is feeling the burn. Premade tsuyu in bottles is convenient if you do not regularly have a dashi-making method. But premade tsuyu is pricey - over $4 for only 12 ounces (about 6 or 7 servings) and if soba is a staple meal for the summer at your household, it's comforting to know that there is a budget-friendly alternative with very little fuss. Making tsuyu from scratch is astonishingly easy and uses only three ingredients.

1 cup dashi stock (please refer to my post a few weeks back on how to make dashi)
1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup soy sauce

DSCN2036_s Put the three liquids into a saucepan and bring to a boil. DSCN2037_s Store in an air-tight container until cool. DSCN2039_s Insider's tip: for the soba, boil it a few minutes longer than what the package tells you. DSCN2041_s Once you have passed the soba noodles through a strainer, immediately dunk the strainer full of noodles into an ice-cold bath of water. DSCN2042_s Keep the noodles dunked for about 10 minutes - this makes the soba "al dente." DSCN2044_s Serve soba with freshly chopped green onions, some nori and a dab of wasabi on the side of the tsuyu bowl. DSCN2046_s DSCN2051_s DSCN2048_s This meal is ideal for the summer because it's quick, easy and doesn't weigh you down.

Column: Japanify


  • Hi, I’d like to try this. Just looking for clarification on the measurements… Is it 1/4 cup of mirin and soy sauce?


    Cathleen on

  • It doesn’t get overcooked when you boil longer than indicated? I’m afraid to try that. I hate mushy noodles.

    I’ll have to try this. I always cheat and use pre-made menmi + water.

    Do you ever make balls out of the noodles for easy consumption?

    seri on

  • Ohhh, ok. I will have to try the extra boiling plus ice bath. Although… I am not very patient so no guarantees! I would also have to make ice cubes.

    I didn’t realize Menmi was a Hokkaido thing. Ha! And yes, I buy the Kikkoman menmi.

    Yeah, like those, but mine are more deformed and not uniform in size. They don’t stick when you have it all in one bunch? Maybe the ice water bath makes them not sticky…?

    seri on

  • No, you don’t have to worry about the noodles getting mushy. When cooking it for an extra few minutes, make sure that you submerge the noodles in ice-cold water for a full 10 minutes. The cold water not only tightens up the noodles but also brings a sheen that would not be present if you just passed running water through it.

    I was also afraid that it would be mushy – but soba noodles don’t really have the same characteristics as say, pasta or western types which can be really sensitive to getting very mushy.

    Menmi has been mentioned to me for the second time regarding this article. I did not know what menmi was! I guess, Menmi is a Hokkaido type of tsuyu that Kikkoman has marketed and sold heavily to the US market. This is the impression that I am getting. Please someone correct me if I’m wrong.

    I did a search in Japanese on Menmi and it turned up in the wiki “chomiryou” (condiment) post. Therefore, I am thinking that it is within the condiment umbrella. It mentioned that it was originally a Hokkaido thing and that Kikkoman produces a bottled version.

    As a side note, tsuyu can be sold either diluted or un-diluted.

    I have not made balls for easy consumption but I know what you are talking about… kind of like this right?

    yoko on

  • omg i’m totally guilty of using the bottled tsuyu. i’m so effing LAZY!!! will def need to get into the habit of making my own— it really does make a HUGE difference (less salt, less MSG).

    mmm MSG…

    kayoko on

  • Yes, exactly, the ice bath eliminates the sticky factor. I really recommend it. I swear by it since it really makes a HUGE difference. It’s really “churu churu” if you do the ice bath thing.

    yoko on

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