This Mentsuyu Recipe (Cold Soba Noodle Sauce) is ready in minutes! Made from soy sauce, mirin, sake and dashi powder, it’s a super refreshing dipping sauce for a hot summer’s day.
Isn’t it funny how a bite or a sip can take you back to a single moment in time?
How food has the uncanny power to ignite your memory and link you back with the people you met long ago?
Or how this simple little cold soba with mentsuyu recipe can whisk you away across the seas and deep into the heart of Japan!
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So I’ve started typing my journals from our yearlong Wandercooks adventure. A month and a half down and I’m just shy of 20,000 words written and 5 and a half notebooks to go! Eep.
It’s been an adventure even just reading back through those first two months of our journey. Right now I’m lost in our wandering travels – west and south along the coast of Japan from Osaka to Shikoku and Kyushu.
Along the way we often found ourselves staying with locals in small towns and villages off the beaten track, or in the occasional bustling city for a change of perspective.
Travelling this way opened our eyes to a different side of Japan that we’d never seen before on our previous visits in Osaka and Tokyo. Beneath the exterior, Japan is a complex and often contradictory country – never more so than in its cuisine!
We just love Mandy’s (from Lady & Pups) attempt to put her feelings into words on this subject. (And not gonna lie, her sriracha senbei recipe sounds incredible!)
How can such contradictory ingredients come together in perfect harmony, and delight your tastebuds with subtle complexity?
And just how can one simple little bowl of soba noodles and mentsuyu sauce be so satisfying?
I don’t know about you, but our addiction all started after an exhausting day of cycling around Matsuyama, Shikoku. Wandering where we willed, we eventually realised we’d made our way deep into the middle of suburbia with growling stomachs and wavering energy.
And we were HUNGRY.
(Not quite HANGRY, but a few stomach growls away, for sure).
Like a lifeline on the horizon, the neon lights of a supermarket flashed before our eyes, beckoning us inside for a quick and easy (and bonus: inexpensive) meal.
There a little plate of cold soba noodles sat beside an unassuming tub of black dipping sauce. With no idea what it would taste like, we bounded outside and sat in the carpark, too hungry to walk a minute further, wooden disposable chopsticks flicking back and forth as we slurped up cold noodles with glee.
It was then we knew: we needed to find this recipe!
Quick Mentsuyu Recipe (Cold Soba Noodle Sauce)
So what’s the secret to the most refreshing bowl of noodles you could ever ask for?
Four simple little ingredients:
These key players are all you’ll need for this simplified mentsuyu recipe, but if you feel like taking things even further you can always make your own dashi stock from scratch with fresh kombu and katsuoboshi (bonito flakes).
We love adding aonori (seaweed powder) as a garnish for our mentsuyu, it brings an extra depth of flavour and colour to your dipping bowl, but it’s not super essential.
And if you’re feeling really inspired, you could also make your own noodles too!
Have you tried cold noodles before? What did you think? Cold noodles are so different to their warm counterparts, and super refreshing too! P.S. If you love noodles, check out our Mountain-Style Udon Noodles recipe or Temple-Style Noodles (hint hint: they’re both made with your feet!).
And if you’re after more BBQ style stir fry sauce check out our Japanese Yakisoba.
- This one’s an easy one guys. Simply stir together your soy, mirin, sake or rice wine and dashi powder in a saucepan and gently bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Take it off the heat and set aside, allowing it to cool completely before use. Garnish with a sprinkling of
aonoripowder or thinly sliced nori for extra flavour.
- If you’re raring to eat already, go ahead and bring a medium pot of water to the boil, then add in your soba noodles. Cook according to packet directions (usually around 3 mins or so), then drain and remove from the heat.
- For the most refreshing experience, allow your noodles to cool completely before serving. You might like to run them under cold water to speed this up, or pop them in the fridge for 10 mins or so before serving so they cool down more quickly.
Mentsuyu sauce is quite strong, so feel free to add extra water to dilute the flavour and make it more like a soup if you prefer.