Niku Soba 肉そば Cold Buckwheat Soba Noodles with Beef

Niku Soba

I love noodles and I’m lucky to live in Seattle part of the year where there are many great Asian markets. I can pretty much find all of my favorite noodles, dry and fresh, to prepare at home. One of my favorite noodles to prepare is Japanese Soba, or buckwheat noodles.

When I am at our Tokyo home I can walk through our front door and find the best soba restaurants within walking distance or a short subway ride away. Yes we are very lucky. One of noodles shops I love to visit when I’m in Tokyo is Minatoya. Minatoya specializes in one type of Soba dish, Niku Soba, or Cold Soba with Beef. Thinly sliced seasoned beef (similar to Sukiyaki beef) over cold Buckwheat Soba topped with lots of sliced green onion, Kizami Nori (shredded toasted seaweed), toasted sesame seeds and a dashi dipping soup with a touch of spice (chili oil) on the side. They do have a few other things on the menu but this is what most people order when they visit. The Niku Soba is addictive. There is always a line out the door but since it is a stand up noodle shop people are in and out very quickly so the wait usually isn’t too long.

After visiting Minatoya a couple of times I was ready to try and recreate this dish at home in Seattle and I think I was successful! At least it’s very close in my honest opinion. I tried it out on my Parents over Labor Day weekend and they loved it. If my Mom likes it I know it has to be good. She will definitely give you her honest opinion so I always trust her. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. I serve the dipping soup chilled but you could serve it at room temperature or even warm if you prefer.

Ingredients: 4 servings

4 Servings of Buckwheat Soba Noodles, dried or fresh, cooked according to package instructions, drained and rinsed under cold water until chilled.
1 teaspoon Canola Oil
1 1/2 pounds of thinly sliced Beef (available at Asian grocery stores labeled Sukiyaki Beef. You can freeze beef for one hour before if slicing it yourself or ask your butcher to slice it for you)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup Sake
1/4 cup Mirin
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
One bunch of scallions, chopped
Kizami Nori, shredded toasted seaweed
Toasted Sesame Seeds
Layu, Chili Oil (optional)
Mentsuyu (noodle dipping sauce) chilled or at room temperature. Dashi and Mentsuyu Recipes Below (You can use store bought but I really recommend homemade)

Method:

In a medium skillet add Canola Oil and place over medium heat. Add beef and sprinkle with the sugar. Sauté for a few minutes until halfway cooked and sugar is dissolved. Add garlic. Then add sake and mirin and cook for a minute to cook off most of the alcohol. Add soy sauce and mix thoroughly making sure everything is mixed with the meat. Lower heat and cook slowly, separating the meat, until completely cooked. Remove from heat and set aside.

Divide the boiled noodles between four large Donburi bowls and divide the beef mixture on top of each bowl. Top with chopped scallions, toasted sesame seeds and Kizami Nori. Serve with a small bowl of the Mentsuyu (noodle dipping sauce) with a few drops of chili oil, on the side of each bowl of noodles. Mix noodle and beef mixture together as you dip each bite in the soup.

Katsuo Kombu Dashi for Mentsuyu:

6 1/4 Cups Water
1 5-6 inch piece of Kombu (dried kelp)
1 large handful (about 2 cups) Katsuobushi (Dried Shaved Bonito Flakes)

Combine the Kombu and water in a pot over medium-low heat. The water should be approaching a boil after about 20 minutes (adjust the heat if the water looks like it’s coming to a boil too soon or too slowly). Once the water comes to a boil, immediately turn off heat and remove the Kombu.

Add the dried bonito flakes all at once. Wait until they absorb the water and sink to the bottom of the pot, about 20-30 minutes.

Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve (You can also line a regular strainer with two layers of cheesecloth or paper towels).

Let strain for a couple of minutes, do not squeeze the excess liquid from the bonito flakes, this will make the Dashi cloudy and bitter.

Note: Dashi is best used the same day but it may be kept in the refrigerator for up to three days and can be frozen for up to two months.

Mentsuyu (Noodle Dipping Sauce):

Ingredients:

6 cups Dashi
1/2 cup Soy Sauce
1/2 cup Mirin

Preparation:

Put Mirin in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add soy sauce and Dashi stock and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside to let cool to room temperature, put in the refrigerator to chill or serve warm.

Info about MINATOYA:

Address: 3-1-10, Nishi-Shinbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Nearest train station: Tokyo Metro Kamiyacho or Toranomon (6 minute walk)
the Tsumetai Niku Soba (Cold Buckwheat Noodle with Beef) is 850 yen

Niku Soba 肉そば Cold Buckwheat Soba Noodles with Beef
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 4 Servings of Buckwheat Soba Noodles, dried or fresh, cooked according to package instructions, drained and rinsed under cold water until chilled.
  • 1 teaspoon Canola Oil
  • 1½ pounds of thinly sliced Beef (available at Asian grocery stores labeled Sukiyaki Beef. You can freeze beef for one hour before if slicing it yourself or ask your butcher to slice it for you)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup Sake
  • ¼ cup Mirin
  • ¼ cup Soy Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • One bunch of scallions, chopped
  • Kizami Nori, shredded toasted seaweed
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • Layu, Chili Oil (optional)
  • Mentsuyu (noodle dipping sauce) chilled or at room temperature. Dashi and Mentsuyu Recipes Below (You can use store bought but I really recommend homemade)
  • ----------
  • INGREDIENTS FOR: Katsuo Kombu Dashi for Mentsuyu:
  • 6¼ Cups Water
  • 1 5-6 inch piece of Kombu (dried kelp)
  • 1 large handful (about 2 cups) Katsuobushi (Dried Shaved Bonito Flakes)
  • ----------
  • INGREDIENTS FOR: Mentsuyu (Noodle Dipping Sauce)
  • 6 cups Dashi
  • ½ cup Soy Sauce
  • ½ cup Mirin
Instructions
  1. In a medium skillet add Canola Oil and place over medium heat. Add beef and sprinkle with the sugar. Sauté for a few minutes until halfway cooked and sugar is dissolved. Add garlic. Then add sake and mirin and cook for a minute to cook off most of the alcohol. Add soy sauce and mix thoroughly making sure everything is mixed with the meat. Lower heat and cook slowly, separating the meat, until completely cooked. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Divide the boiled noodles between four large Donburi bowls and divide the beef mixture on top of each bowl. Top with chopped scallions, toasted sesame seeds and Kizami Nori. Serve with a small bowl of the Mentsuyu (noodle dipping sauce) with a few drops of chili oil, on the side of each bowl of noodles. Mix noodle and beef mixture together as you dip each bite in the soup.
  3. ----------
  4. INSTRUCTIONS FOR: Katsuo Kombu Dashi for Mentsuyu
  5. Combine the Kombu and water in a pot over medium-low heat. The water should be approaching a boil after about 20 minutes (adjust the heat if the water looks like it’s coming to a boil too soon or too slowly). Once the water comes to a boil, immediately turn off heat and remove the Kombu.
  6. Add the dried bonito flakes all at once. Wait until they absorb the water and sink to the bottom of the pot, about 20-30 minutes.
  7. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve (You can also line a regular strainer with two layers of cheesecloth or paper towels). Let strain for a couple of minutes, do not squeeze the excess liquid from the bonito flakes, this will make the Dashi cloudy and bitter.
  8. Note: Dashi is best used the same day but it may be kept in the refrigerator for up to three days and can be frozen for up to two months.
  9. -----------
  10. INSTRUCTIONS FOR: Mentsuyu (Noodle Dipping Sauce)
  11. Put Mirin in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add soy sauce and Dashi stock and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside to let cool to room temperature, put in the refrigerator to chill or serve warm.

 

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