Cold Soba Noodles with Walnut Paste and Dashi

It’s hot outside. You need cold pasta. You need radishes. You need this soba noodle salad.

This easy entree is a little bit salty, a little bit sweet, and entirely refreshing. You may not be used to seeing walnuts in a Japanese-style dish, but don’t omit this part. Trust me, it works.

Cold soba noodles with walnut paste and dashi

Ingredients:

1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar
2 1/2 cups water
3 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 4-inch square dried kombu seaweed
2 ounces bonito flakes
1 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
6 ounces daikon, peeled and grated
6 green onions, thinly sliced
12 ounces soba noodles

1. Make the dashi: In a saucepan, combine water with mushrooms and let stand for 1 hour. Add kombu and bring the water to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat, discard the mushrooms and kombu, and stir in bonito flakes. Let steep for 10 minutes. Pour the dashi through a sieve set over a bowl and discard the bonito flakes. Set aside.

2. Make the kaeshi sauce base: in a small saucepan, combine soy sauce, mirin, and 2 tablespoons sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the sugar dissolves, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the sauce cool. Set aside.

3. In a food processor, grind the walnuts with the remaining sugar until it forms a paste. Set aside.

4. In a small bowl, stir the dashi with the kaeshi sauce base to make a dipping sauce. Set aside. Decoratively place the grated radish and green onions on a serving plate, keeping each in its own separate pile.

5. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the soba noodles until al dente, about 3 minutes. Drain the noodles and rinse the noodles under cold running water until the water runs clear. Drain again divide the noodles among 6 serving bowls. Serve the noodles immediately with the dipping sauces, grated radish, and scallions.

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