Zaru soba - cold noodles for hot days

Long ago the Japanese created clever dishes to eat during their incredibly hot summers. Hiyashi Chuka is a ramen served over ice cubes. Another tasty dish for hot days is called zaru soba. Soba is a noodle made from healthy buckwheat. The noodles are dipped into a savory cold broth, and served on a woven plate called a zaru to drain the water. It may sound fancy, but the dish simply translates to “strainer noodles.”

Why is Zaru Soba a great food for emergencies?

The dried noodles last indefinitely. Soba is made from buckwheat and has more protein, fiber, and manganese than traditional noodles. The dipping broth is made of shelf stable ingredients and the combination of the salty broth and the hearty noodles makes for a great meal.

Servings 4
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 4 Bundles Soba
  • Nori (sliced into strips ⅛” wide and 1” long)(Optional)
  • Green onions (optional)
  • Wasabi (optional)

Soup broth

  • 1 Cup dashi (Add 2 heaping teaspoons of dry dashi to 1 cup water)
  • ¼ Cup Soy sauce
  • ¼ Cup Mirin
  • 2 Tbs Sugar


  1. Mix the powdered dashi into water. Be sure to taste the broth as you add the powdered dashi. Too light and you don’t get a strong savory taste, too much and it’s extremely salty. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. 
  2. Reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. Remove it from the heat and set aside. This broth is served cold, so, if possible, place in your refrigerator to bring the temperature down. The broth will keep for up to five days in the refrigerator.
  3. Cook the noodles according to the package, generally five minutes. Remove the noodles and rinse under cold water in a strainer. Save the boiled water for later. 
  4. If you have a Japanese Zaru, great. If not, just place your noodles in a small pile on a plate or bowl. For picnics we place the noodles into a plastic container with a few ice cubes. Sprinkle the nori and green onions on top of the noodles. 
  5. Pour the dipping broth into a small bowl or cup. Add wasabi if you like it spicy.
  6. Dip your noodles into the dipping sauce, and enjoy. 
After you have finished eating the noodles, pour the remaining water you used to cook the noodles into your dipping broth. You now have a broth you can drink to finish your meal with, which captures the remaining nutrients from the noodles.