How To Make Mentsuyu (Japanese Noodle Soup Base)

5 from 2 votes
JUMP TO RECIPE & VIDEO

Try this authentic mentsuyu recipe for a deliciously rich taste!! Enjoy the irresistible umami flavors, perfect for slurping up with your favorite Japanese noodles!

mentsuyu in a glass jar.

Mentsuyu is a Japanese noodle soup base and a must-have for noodle enthusiasts!

With its versatility, this savory noodle broth can add umami to both hot and cold dishes, featuring delicious staples like udon noodles, soba noodles, and somen noodles. Dive into the depths of flavor with Mentsuyu today!

    This recipe is for you if:
  • You love Japanese noodle dishes.
  • You are looking for a mentsuyu recipe.
  • You want to know how to use mentsuyu.

Let me walk you through the ingredients and the instructions. If you want to check the recipe, jump to the recipe. Let’s get started!

About This Recipe

  • Japanese noodle soup base
  • Authentic mentsuyu recipe
  • Basic sauce for Japanese dishes
  • Concentrated type

What is Mentsuyu?

Mentsuyu, soba noodle soup, and noodle dipping sauce.

Mentsuyu is a Japanese soup base that transforms simple udon or soba noodles into a delicious meal served in hot or cold broth.

This multipurpose sauce is essential in Japanese cuisine; the savory flavor can be used for anything from hot soups to salad dressings or dipping sauce for tempura.

It’s crafted with just three main ingredients–dashi stock, soy sauce, and mirin. Buying a store-bought mentsuyu in Japan is common, but it’s easy to make at home.

Mentsuyu comes in two different types. The straight type can be used as is, and the concentrated type is required to dilute with water. (This recipe is the concentrated type.)

📋 Ingredients

Here are the ingredients (amounts are in the recipe card below).

Ingredients for mentsuyu.

Dashi ingredients

Dashi is a Japanese soup stock and the mantsuyu’s umami flavor base. Katsuobushi and kombu are the typical ingredients for dashi in Japanese cooking.

You can use instant dashi powder if you prefer shortcuts or can’t find katsuobushi and kombu at a store. I always have some instant dashi powder for making miso soup.

Vegan adaptable

If you are vegetarian/vegan, substitute katsuobushi with dried shiitake mushrooms. Click here to find out more about vegan dashi.

🔪Instructions

Let me show you how to make it. Click here to watch the recipe video.

How to make mentsuyu.
  1. Add water and kombu to a medium saucepan and soak for 30 minutes or more.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium heat
  3. Turn off and take out the kombu.
  4. Add soy sauce, mirin, and katsuobushi and cook over medium heat.
  5. When boiling, lower the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Let it cool down.
  6. Place a coffee filter on a strainer over a glass jar and strain the mentsuyu to remove the katsuobushi.
Mentsuyu in a glass jar.

All done! Get ready to savor the delicious umami of mentsuyu soup.

Helpful Tips

  • The white powder on the kombu is an umami element, so do not rinse it with water.
  • Kombu releases its umami flavor when soaked. At least 30 minutes and stretching the soaking time overnight is also okay.
  • Mentsuyu will be more flavorful by firmly pressing the katsuobushi with chopsticks while straining.
  • Leftover katsuobushi and kombu can be turned into a delicious onigiri filling (rice ball)- see the instructions in the following.

How To Use It

mentsuyu in a glass jar.

Mentsuyu is the best soup for classic Japanese noodle dishes such as udon, soba, and somen noodles. You can make a warm bowl of soup and cold dipping sauce.

In addition, you can add a tasty depth to various dishes, like tempura dipping sauce or simmered dishes, turn seasoned rice into something special, and give soups and salads an extra punch of rich flavor.

Here are some of the simple recipes you can try!

Hot Noodles

Soba noodle soup in a bowl.

Dilute 200ml of mentsuyu with 100ml of water or more according to your taste. It’s a great noodle soup for any Japanese noodles.

Click here for Soba noodle soup (Kake soba)

Cold Noodles

Cold udon noodles in a bowl.

Use straight or dilute with some water according to your taste. It’s a great dipping sauce for any Japanese noodles.

Click here for cold vegetable udon noodles

Tentsuyu

Tempura dipping sauce.

Use straight or dilute with some water according to your taste. It’s excellent for tentsuyu (tempura dipping sauce).

Click here for Vegetable tempura

Storage

mentsuyu in a glass jar.

Keep the pre-made mentsuyu in a glass jar or airtight container and store it in the fridge for one week. Or freeze it for long-term storage. Put it in a freezer bag or ice cube tray and store it in the freezer for one month.

What to do with the leftover dashi ingredients

dashi leftover (dashi gara)

When you make mentsuyu from scratch, you will have the leftover, called dashi gara (leftover dashi). Don’t throw it away; you can make a delicious onigiri filling!

Finely chop kombu and katsuobushi, cook them in a pan over low heat, and let them evaporate any extra liquid. Mix them with steamed rice and make an onigiri rice ball.

You will enjoy the perfect harmony between savory dashi ingredients and plain rice in this delicious onigiri!

Udon Noodle Dishes

Try These Easy Udon Noodle Dishes

4 udon noodle dishes.

Satisfy those udon cravings! You will love these flavorful Japanese udon noodle recipes. From hot soups to refreshing cold dishes, there are many ways to enjoy these chewy noodles!

13 Must-Try Udon Recipes For a Quick Meal
5 from 3 votes
Satisfy those udon cravings! You will love these flavorful Japanese udon noodle recipes. From hot soups to refreshing cold dishes, there are many ways to enjoy these chewy noodles!
Make This Recipe
4 udon noodle dishes.

FAQ

Can you use soy sauce instead of mentsuyu?

No, you can’t. Using only soy sauce is too salty as mentsuyu has a milder flavor.

What does Mentsuyu sauce taste like? Is mentsuyu sweet?

It’s not sweet but mildly salty, and you can taste the savory flavor from the dashi stock.

What is mentsuyu sauce made of?

Mentsuyu is crafted with just three main ingredients–dashi stock, soy sauce, and mirin. Buying a store-bought mentsuyu in Japan is common, but it’s easy to make at home.

Thanks For Stopping By!

Kake Soba (Japanese Simple Soba Noodle Soup)

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog♡. If you’ve tried this recipe(or any other recipe on the blog), please give it a star rating below!

Also, feel free to leave comments if you have any questions. I love hearing from you!

Chef JA Cooks is a Japanese food blog that shares simple and healthy Japanese home cooking recipes, including vegan and vegetarian. From traditional Japanese recipes to modern recipes with step-by-step instructions.

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Mentsuyu in a glass jar.

How To Make Mentsuyu (Japanese Noodle Soup Base)

5 from 2 votes
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Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Juri Austin
Try this authentic mentsuyu recipe for a deliciously rich taste!! Enjoy the irresistible umami flavors, perfect for slurping up with your favorite Japanese noodles.

Equipment

  • 1 Medium saucepan 18 cm/7 inches
  • 1 Glass jar or airtight container
  • 1 Strainer
  • 1 Coffee filter or paper towel, cloth

Ingredients

  • 10 g Kombu, kelp
  • 1 L Water
  • 30 g Katsuobushi, bonito flakes
  • 120 ml Soy sauce, 1/2 cup, 130g
  • 120 ml Mirin, 1/2 cup, 130g

Instructions

  • Soak: Add water and kombu to a medium saucepan and soak for 30 minutes or more.
  • Kombu dashi: Bring to a boil over medium heat, turn off and take out the kombu.
  • Add other ingredients: Add soy sauce, mirin, and katsuobushi and cook over medium heat.
  • Simmer: When boiling, lower the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Cool: Remove the pan from heat and let it cool down.
  • Strain: Place a coffee filter on a strainer over a glass jar and strain the mentsuyu to remove the katsuobushi.

Video

Notes

  • Storage: Keep in a glass jar or airtight container and store in the fridge for one week or the freezer for one month.
  • Dilute mentsuyu with water when you use it for dishes. See the “How to use it” section.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 88kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 0.04g
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: mentsuyu, noodle soup
Did You Make this recipe?Please Leave a star rating!

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