Zaru Soba Noodles

Zaru Soba Noodles in bowls

The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
157 Calories
1g Fat
29g Carbs
8g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 157
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 1mg 0%
Sodium 1072mg 47%
Total Carbohydrate 29g 11%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 12mg 1%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 232mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Zaru soba is boiled and chilled buckwheat noodles (soba) served on a bamboo basket (zaru). The name of this dish was derived from the way the noodles were served over a bamboo strainer during the Edo Period. Usually, the noodles are served with a refreshing dipping sauce (mentsuyu or tsuyu) and some toppings. Light and refreshing, this Zaru Soba will be your go-to staple on hot summer evenings.

You will find 2 kinds of soba noodles in the Asian grocery store, the primary differences between the varieties are texture and flavors. Ju-wari Soba is made entirely from buckwheat flour, giving it a dry and rough texture, but strong nutty aroma. Hachi-wari Soba is a combination of 80 percent buckwheat flour and 20 percent wheat flour, so it's much smoother and has an al dente texture when cooked. It's easier to prepare and enjoy but has less buckwheat flavor. It’s hard to say which soba is tastier and more delicious; it really depends on personal preference. You might also see packages of green (matcha) or pink (ume plum) soba noodles in Japanese grocery stores.

The loveliest and the most authentic way to present soba is on a zaru, which means “a strainer” in Japanese. Place the scallions and wasabi in the center of the table with the noodles. Each diner then mixes a dab of the wasabi and 1 tablespoon of the scallions in a portion of dipping sauce and, using chopsticks, dips noodles into the sauce. If you like, add flavors like grated ginger or orange zest into the sauce for extra flavor.


For the Dipping Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cup kombu and katsuobushi dashi

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup mirin

For the Noodles:

  • 14 ounces dried soba

  • 1 teaspoon wasabi paste, optional

  • 1 green onion, finely chopped, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Zaru Soba Noodles ingredients in bowls

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Put the mirin in a saucepan and heat. Add soy sauce and dashi soup stock in the pan and bring to a boil. Stop the heat and allow the sauce to cool.

    soy sauce and dashi soup stock in the pan on a burner

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the dried soba noodles to the boiling water, gently stirring noodles with chopsticks. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until just tender.

    Soba noodles cooking in a pot on the burner, and noodles removed from the pot with a stick

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Put the noodles in a colander and rinse under cold running water to remove the starch. If it's necessary, add a little bit of cold water in the pot to prevent overflowing.

    Soba noodles in a colander

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  5. Divide soba among four serving plates or zaru.

    Soba noodles in bowls

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  6. Divide dipping sauce among four small cups. Put toppings on small plates and serve them on the side of soba.

    Soba noodles in a bowl, served with a side of sauce and green onions

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi