Sesame Soba Noodle Soup with Cucumber Salad

Sesame Soba Noodle Soup with Cucumber Salad
Bill Bettencourt


  •   Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  •   One 8- to 9-ounce package soba noodles
  • 2 Tablespoons  canola oil
  • large onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 Cup  sake
  • 3 Tablespoons  naturally brewed soy sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon  toasted sesame oil
  • quarts fresh vegetable stock or low-sodium store-bought vegetable broth
  • heaping tablespoon wasabi powder
  • 1 Tablespoon  room-temperature water
  • small English cucumber, sliced very thinly*
  • 1 Tablespoon  toasted sesame seeds

I'm a soba noodle fanatic. In Japan, the noodles are often served as is with a dipping sauce of soy, dashi, and scallions. Why not, I wondered, use them in soup? Here's the result of my self-interrogation, a great soup, enhanced with sake, and served with a cool cucumber salad.

This makes a great — and healthy — light lunch or first course.

Click here to see Beam Ming Tsai into the Kitchen.


Fill a large bowl with water and add ice. Bring a medium-sized stockpot or soup pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the noodles until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain and transfer to the bowl. When the noodles are cold, drain well and set aside.

Return the pot to the stove and heat over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the canola oil and swirl to coat the bottom. When the oil is hot, add the onions, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and sauté, stirring once, until caramelized, 10-12 minutes.

Add the sake, and scrape the bottom of the pan to incorporate the brown bits, about 30 seconds. Add 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce, sesame oil, and stock and bring to a simmer. Add the noodles and heat through.

Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl combine the wasabi, water, remaining soy sauce, and remaining canola oil. Add the cucumber, toss, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add half of the sesame seeds and toss.

Divide the soup among 4 soup plates. Make a mound of the noodles in each, top with the cucumber salad, garnish with the remaining sesame seeds, and serve.


*Note: If you have a mandoline, use it to slice the cucumbers.

To Drink: Chilled Ty Ku Sake Black


Calories per serving:

415 calories

Dietary restrictions:

Vegan, Vegetarian, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Milk Free, Peanut Free, Tree Nut Free, Fish Free, Shellfish Free, Alcohol Free

Daily value:



  • Fat 40g 62%
  • Carbs 235g 78%
  • Saturated 4g 19%
  • Fiber 9g 36%
  • Trans 0g
  • Sugars 17g
  • Monounsaturated 22g
  • Polyunsaturated 12g
  • Protein 47g 93%
  • Sodium 4,856mg 202%
  • Calcium 380mg 38%
  • Magnesium 393mg 98%
  • Potassium 1,755mg 50%
  • Iron 10mg 58%
  • Zinc 7mg 44%
  • Phosphorus 913mg 130%
  • Vitamin A 72µg 8%
  • Vitamin C 36mg 59%
  • Thiamin (B1) 1mg 97%
  • Riboflavin (B2) 1mg 35%
  • Niacin (B3) 10mg 50%
  • Vitamin B6 1mg 61%
  • Folic Acid (B9) 231µg 58%
  • Vitamin D 0µg 0%
  • Vitamin E 5mg 25%
  • Vitamin K 79µg 99%
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