When I was younger, my sister’s favorite dish to eat was cold noodles with a soy based broth that my mom used to make. The other day I cleaned out my pantry and found a huge bag of Japanese bonito flakes and buckwheat soba noodles, it brought back memories of my mom making these noodles, and I decided to try and make it on my own. These cold noodles are a fancier version than the one from my childhood, and I’m so glad I made it myself. The noodles have a nice bite, and the buckwheat gives them complex nutty flavor and the broth is out of this world. Mentsuyu is a Japanese soup base used to dip soba noodles in for most Udon noodle dishes. There are a list of ingredients that you most likely don’t have in your pantry, but if you invest in them, you can use them in a ton of different dishes. Bonito flakes and kombu are used to make most dashi (soup) bases in Japan and are also the base for the rice seasoning furikake. Save the kombu and bonito after you drain the broth, you can make homemade furikake with them. I have included some links to the more unusual ingredients if you have trouble finding them on your own.
- for the mentsuyu:
- ¾ cup mirin
- ¾ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 2x4 inch piece of kombu
- 1 cup packed bonito flakes
- For the noodles:
- 14 oz. buckwheat soba noodles
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ¼ pound shitake mushrooms, trimmed and cut into ¼-inch slices
- 1 bunch of broccolini, trimmed and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
- sesame oil for serving
- For the mentsuyu:
- Add 4 cups of water to a medium saucepan. Add the kombu to the pan and let sit for 20-30 minutes until the seaweed has softened.
- Add the soy sauce, mirin, and sugar to the water and kombu, and place over medium heat.
- Just before it comes to a boil add the bonito flakes and boil for 2-3 minutes, then remove from the heat and let it steep for 10 minutes. Pass the mixture through a fine mesh sieve and the broth is ready to use.
- For the noodles:
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the soba noodles according to package directions, be careful not to overcook. Drain the noodles and run cold water over them until completely cool.
- Heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet and add the shitakes. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the mushrooms have softened and started to brown slightly. Add the broccolini to the pan, add a tablespoon of water, cover and cook for 2 minutes until the broccolini is bright green and tender but still has some bite. Add soba to the pan, 1 cup of the mentsuyu and cook until just heated through. Taste and add more broth or water as desired. Serve topped with a drizzle of sesame oil and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
This post includes affiliate links to products featured in the recipe. I have included links to items you may find difficult to source locally. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but I will receive a small commission.
These are some of my favorite songs to listen to when I’m creating in my kitchen. The phosphorescent album was recommended by a good friend of mine and I can’t get enough of it. It is big and bold and makes me think of sunny days with the wind running through my hair. There is a purity and clarity to Matthew Houck’s music that brings shivers to my spine.
Wye Oak is a band that I’m dying to see live. They fluctuate between the quiet and the loud, the soft and the hard, I don’t know which I prefer but the combination is irresistible.
This is the only song I’ve ever heard from Flight Facilities but it haunts me. It makes me want to hop in my car and take a ride down the coast. It’s exhilarating and captivating and I never get tired of playing it.