Soba noodles being dipped in sauce

Soba noodles and vegetable tempura Vegan traditional Japanese Recipe

Soba is a thin noodle made of buckwheat and is served with a soy sauce based dipping sauce called tsuyu. During my trip to Japan, it was a life-saver, as most soba is vegan! This meal was prepared by our Airbnb host in Mishima, complete with vegetable tempura, fresh wasabi, and a Sapporo. It was the best thing I ate in Japan - I knew I had to make the same recipe at home!

Vegan Traditional Soba

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz soba noodles
  • Dried seaweed, cut into strips, for garnish
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 cup mentsuyu concentrate (available at Asian markets)
  • Fresh wasabi root, if desired

Vegetable Tempura

Ingredients:

  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 1/2 cup sifted cake flour
  • Zucchini, sliced
  • Asian eggplant, sliced
  • Japanese sweet potato, sliced

Directions:

  • Cook soba noodles in a pot of salted water for about 6 to 8 minutes. Drain off water and return to the pot.
  • Prepare the tsuyu by combining 2-3 parts water for each 1 part mentsuyu concentrate.
  • For the vegetable tempura, pour oil into a large pot so that the oil is two inches deep. Heat over medium-high heat until oil is 350 degrees. Set aside a baking sheet lined with paper towels.
  • Pour 1 cup of ice-cold water into a medium bowl. Add 1 cup of cake flour and whisk to blend lightly. Place 1/2 cup cake flour into a separate bowl. Dip each slice of vegetable into the dry flour, then dip into the batter.
  • Make sure the vegetables are not crowded in the pan. Place 4 to 5 vegetables into the oil, turn once or twice, and remove once golden and crisp. This should take around 3 minutes.
  • Transfer the vegetables to the baking sheet to drain. Continue until all vegetables are fried.
  • Serve the vegetable tempura on a napkin so that the excess moisture will be absorbed. This will help prevent soggy tempura. When serving the soba, garnish both the noodles and the dipping sauce with a few strips of dried seaweed. If desired, grate some fresh wasabi to add to the dipping sauce.

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