Cool and refreshing when little else appeals, this traditional noodle dish is a favorite Japanese lunch on a hot summer day. Light, delicate soba varieties such as ito, cha, and mugwort soba are especially appealing. Whole wheat somen noodles are a good substitute.
3 cups Shiitake Dashi (See Shiitake Mushroom recipes)
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons tamari or shoyu
2 tablespoons mirin
8 ounces uncooked soba
1 teaspoon wasabi powder (Japanese horseradish), optional
1 teaspoon peeled and finely grated ginger root
1/4 sheet toasted nori, broken into bite-sized pieces
3 tablespoons minced scallions
Prepare stock in a medium-sized pot. Add salt, tamari or shoyu, and mirin. Simmer 1 minute, remove from heat, and refrigerate.
Cook noodles according to the directions on the package, then rinse under cold running water, drain, and set aside. Add one drop of water at a time to wasabi and mix until it forms a thick paste. Prepare other condiments. Divide cooked noodles into small noodle baskets, plates, or soup bowls. (If noodles stick together, rinse under cold water and drain well before serving.)
Pour chilled dipping broth into small individual bowls. Set out prepared wasabi, ginger, nori, and scallion in separate bowls so they can be added to the broth according to individual tastes. (About 2 teaspoons scallion and 1/8 teaspoon wasabi or ginger is recommended for every 1/2-2/3 cup broth.) Dip each bite of noodles in chilled broth. If dip becomes weak, replace with fresh broth.