Summertime, Sarah Vaughan, and sweet lullaby. Sunny gardens and languid nights, windows open, gentle breezes, fecund insects, fireflies… Cool grass, fruiting vegetation, comfort. Zara soba, slippery refreshment, simple food. Breathe easy…
Noodle Dipping Sauce
from: The Japanese Kitchen
•250 Recipes in a Traditional Spirit•
by Hiroko Shimbo
- 6 Tablespoons shoyu (soy sauce)
- 2 teaspoons tamari
- 2 teaspoons sugar
Heat the two soy sauces together in a small saucepan over low heat until hot. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for a week before using it to make tsukejiru. The flavor matures over time.
Finishing the tsukejiru:
- 3 cups ichiban dashi (first fish stock)
- ½ cup kaeshi
- ½ cup katsuobushi (dried bonito fish flakes)
In a medium pot, bring the dashi and kaeshi to a boil over moderate heat. Add the fish flakes and immediately remove the pot from the heat. Strain the mixture through a sieve lined with a cotton cloth. Let the sauce cool, then refrigerate it (covered) for up to three days.
Cook the soba according to package directions, wash under cold running water until the water is clear. Removing the starch this way keeps the noodles from turning into a gummy mass. You can refrigerate them for an hour or so, then arrange the noodles on shallow bowls or plates. A nice way to arrange the noodles is to pick up small bunchs of noodles with your fingers and curl them into little bundles on the plates. I put a few small ice cubes in each shallow bowl to keep the noodles cold. I would love to have noodle baskets so the noodles would drain!
Serve the dipping sauce in a small bowls on the side. To eat, pick up a bunch of noodles and dip them into the sauce. Feel free to bring the sauce bowl up to your lips and slurp.
Good condiments to serve with soba noodles:
finely sliced green onions, wasabi, seven-flavor pepper (tohgarashi), toasted sesame seeds, shredded green shiso leaves, finely cut nori (cut with a pair of kitchen scissors), grated fresh ginger, or grated yuzu peel. I like a bit of lemon or lime juice as well.
We rounded out the meal with a cucumber purslane salad and cold sliced tori namban.