For the Dipping Sauce
- In a medium saucepan, add ¼ cup sake and bring it to a boil over medium high heat.
- Add soy sauce and mirin. Then, add kombu kelp and katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes).
- Bring it to boil and cook on low heat for about 5 mins. Remove from heat and set aside until it cools down. Strain sauce and set aside. Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to a month.
For the Soba Noodles
- In a large pot, boil about 3-4L of water. Unlike pasta, do not add salt to the water. In a circular motion, add dried soba noodles in the boiling water to separate the noodles from each other. Cook soba noodles according to the instructions on the packaging. Stir the noodles once in a while to avoid them from sticking to each other. Check the texture of the noodles and do not overcook.
- Using a sieve, drain the soba noodles and rinse the noodles under cold running water to get rid of the starch.
- Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Shake the sieve to drain completely, then transfer the noodles to the iced water. Set aside till the noodles are cool.
- Make ready the hegi, or a flat bamboo sieve. Take a few strands of the noodles at a time. Loop the strands onto the sieve to make a nice little bundle. This is one portion. Allow for about 10-12 portions or so per person. Arrange each bundle separately, to allow for easy pickup with chopsticks.
- To serve the noodles: serve directly on the hegi, or place a plate under the bamboo sieve to catch any drips. Put soba noodles and garnish with shredded nori sheet on top. Put one part of cooled dipping sauce and 2-3 parts of iced water in a serving pitcher or small individual bowls.
To Eat Soba Noodles
- First fill out a dipping bowl with diluted tsuyu, and add green onions and/or wasabi (optional). Then pick up a bundle of soba noodles at a time, dip in the tsuyu briefly, and slurp the noodles up. The dipping sauce is very salty, so don’t soak the noodles in the sauce for a long time.