Soba, a highly respected noodle in its native Japan, is typically made from a combination of buckwheat and wheat flours. Because the former contains no gluten and makes a crumbly dough on its own, wheat flour is often employed to give the noodles shape. Nevertheless, since the noodles are prized for the nutty, earthy flavour imparted by buckwheat, the best soba contains a higher ratio of buckwheat to wheat flour. The elegant beige-grey noodles offer a firm, chewy bite.
During the summer months soba are often served chilled on a special slatted tray or basket called a zaru, alongside a dipping sauce. Tahini and Marmite, oily toasted sesame paste plus umami gloop with an enticing bitterness, are an unbeatable combination on their own. Add a splash of savoury dashi, some sweetness from mirin and sugar, and a fruity sprinkling of sake, and you’ll not regret giving this a go.*
If anyone has tips on how to slurp noodles without creating an upward wave of liquid into my eyes, please share them in the comments below.
*if you do have regrets, maybe don’t share tips in the comments below.
Tahini Marmite Soba Noodles
While the style and flavours in this soba dish might be dissimilar from any you’ll find on a Japanese menu, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t experiment with food and flavours. This vegan soba noodles recipe is a far cry from authenticity, but it’s quick to prepare and makes a moreish snack to slurp on a warm day. Sometimes it’s possible to find soba made with matcha or ume plum, but for this recipe stick with plain buckwheat.
- About 90 grams dried soba noodles
- 125 millilitres (½ cup) kombu dashi
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 2 teaspoon sake
- 2 teaspoon marmite
- 2 teaspoon tahini
- 1 teaspoon shoyu
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- Shredded spring onion and/or leek
- Cook the soba noodles per packet instructions. Remove the noodles from the water with a spider and rinse with cold water. Divide the noodles between two trays or plates. Reserve the cooking water.
- Add the dipping sauce ingredients to a saucepan and heat just to melt the ingredients together. Pour into small cup or bowl.
- Top each portion of soba with a large pinch of shredded spring onion. Dip the ends of the noodles in the sauce to eat, and slurp them up.
- When you are done with the noodles, top up your dipping sauce with some of the noodle water and sip as a soup.
- Author: Kip Dorrell
- Serves: 2 as a snack, 1 as a main
- Cuisine: Japanese fusion