Soba noodles in a warm dashi is comforting, healthy, and chock full of umami flavors. Essential to Japanese cooking, dashi is a soup stock made from water, dried kombu (kelp), and dried bonito (shipjack tuna) flakes. This stock has a delicate savoriness that tastes slightly of the sea. Dashi aside, the best part about eating a bowl of noodles is the toppings! In this version, I used what was on hand–soft boiled eggs, steamed fish cake, kale, scallions, and shredded nori.
The how to…
Dashi recipe from Just One Cookbook
6 oz dried soba noodles (2 single portion bundles)
4 cups water
1 large piece dried kombu
1 cup bonito flakes
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp mirin
1 Tbsp sake
1 tsp salt
2 soft boiled eggs
4 slices kamaboko (steamed fish cake)
handful kale (massaged with a pinch of salt & a few drops dark sesame oil)
handful chopped scallions
handful shredded nori
- Prepare the dashi (Japanese soup stock). In a medium pot, place kombu in cold water and let sit for 30 minutes (if possible, soak overnight to achieve optimal umami flavor). Bring water and kombu to a boil, then immediately remove kombu and discard. Add bonito flakes and simmer for 30 seconds. Turn off heat and let bonito flakes soak for 10 minutes. Strain dashi through a fine sieve.
- Add additional flavors to dashi. Add mirin, sake, soy sauce, and salt to dashi. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Cook soba noodles. Bring a pot of water to boil. Cook soba noodles according to package instructions until al dente. Drain noodles. To get rid of excess surface starch, rinse with cold water and set aside.
- Top with toppings. If necessary, reheat dashi. Divide soba noodles in two separate bowls and ladle hot dashi over noodles. Divide toppings among bowls. Serve immediately.
*When using kombu, do not wipe the surface!! The white powdery substance on the seaweed imparts a lot of umami flavor.
*Reheat frozen shrimp tempura in a 400 degree oven and use as a topping.