Cha Soba

by Megg

I went to Mitsuwa last Sunday during their “Japanese Gourment Food Fair.” Mitsuwa is one of my favorite places in the world (if I had a car, I think I’d be there every day), and this was my first time going there during an event. I got to nosh on some fresh onigiri, an amazing waygu beef bowl, and enjoy all the flavors of a sake tasting. I even got experience firsthand the alarming volume at which they yell “irasshaimase!” at you when you walk in the door (I had to explain this one to my friend  ^_^).  I’m very disappointed that I forgot my camera, but we had a fantastic time. I came home with a couple bottles of sake, an obento okazu book (in Japanese!), and some great groceries, including cha soba.
Cha soba are noodles made of buckwheat and wheat that are flavored with green tea powder.  This gives the noodles a lovely green shade, as well as a subtle green tea flavor.  I’m always searching for colorful foods for my bento-making, so these jumped out at me right away.  I prepared them simply, to accompany some seared ahi tuna.

It should be noted that making soba noodles is not like making, say, spaghetti. Just Hungry has this great tutorial on how to properly cook and rinse soba noodles.

Cold Cha Soba with Soy-Mirin Dipping Sauce
—-adapted from Gourmet Traveler—-
Makes 3-4 servings
  • 7 oz  dry cha (green tea) soba noodles
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted
  • 1/2 cup roasted shredded nori
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, julienned
For dipping sauce:


  • 1 teaspoon dried bonito flakes (katsobushi)
  • 1/3 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup mirin
  • 1/2 teaspoon superfine sugar
  • Wasabi paste (for serving)
1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.  Add the noodles slowly and gently stir into the water until fully immersed.  Boil for about 4-6 minutes, until cooked just a bit past al-dente.  Rinse the noodles in cold water (as explained at Just Hungry) until the starchiness of the noodles is removed.
2. Transfer the rinsed and drained noodles to a large bowl.  Toss the noodles with the sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds until well coated.
3. Make the dipping sauce: Mix bonito flakes, soy sauce, mirin and sugar with 1 1/2 cups water in a medium saucepan.  Simmer over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly, and strain the sauce to remove the bonito flakes.
4.  Divide the noodles equally into bowls or onto plates.  Top the noodles with shredded nori, green onion, and ginger.  Serve with individual bowls of dipping sauce and wasabi paste.
This easy, satisfying meal is perfect year-round and works well in bento boxes too!
  • tofugirl

    Yum, I love that green tea soba…so yummy. I have a pack in my pantry actually, thanks for reminding me! I went to our Mitsuwa yesterday, they were doing a tuna cutting demonstration and had brought in this enormous bluefin tuna…the crowds were nuts though, so we didn't stay

  • Megg

    That tuna cutting demo sounds awesome!! they don't do stuff like that at this one (I'm guessing the lack of ocean has something to do with it).

  • tofugirl

    Oh, they definitely shipped the fish in from somewhere…but it was pretty impressive. It's HUUUUUUGE!!

    I love the food fairs they hold, but it gets so crowded there that it can get really annoying! But we scored a loaf of amazing super buttery bread, so it was worth it :)

  • Bentobird

    Mitsuwa is heaven, I agree! So psyched to visit the NJ branch next month.

    Thanks for sharing this lovely soba recipe…like you I am always looking for colorful foods to add a vivid note to bento, and this is great inspiration. Happy happy Thanksgiving, may your cooking and feasting be full of delight!

  • Megg

    I actually was looking for that ume soba I first saw in your bento (don't worry, I got some of that too!). Happy Thanksgiving!!

  • OhayoBento

    Thank you so much for the recipe! I bought some green tea noodles as well, but the only thing I've done with them so far is make a cold crab noodle salad. I'm definitely going to try this!

  • Megg

    That crab noodle salad sounds amazing too! I want to try that!

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