Kake soba is a simple Japanese soba noodle soup. If you love Japanese noodles, you might want to try these warm and flavorful soba noodles. Enjoy the variety of toppings with umami-rich dashi soup.
Have you ever tried soba noodle soup and wondered how to make it?
There are so many variations of soba noodle soup, but this the most simple recipe called Kake soba.
Also, I will show you how to make the soup from scratch. It might be overwhelming for the first time, but don't worry, it's actually easy.
- This recipe is for you if:
- You love Japanese soba noodles.
- You want to make simple or hearty soba noodle soup.
- You want to make soba noodle soup from scratch.
In addition to the recipe, you will get info about soba noodles, details of ingredients, how to make dashi and soup, and vegan options.
Let's get started!
About this recipe
- Authentic Japanese soba noodle recipe
- Many ideas for toppings
- Make the soup from scratch
- Vegan adaptable
What is Kake soba?
Kake soba is a noodle dish made by pouring warm soup on boiled soba noodles. "Kake" means "pour something over" in Japanese, so if it's udon, it's called "Kake udon".
Topping can be simple, like only chopped scallion, or if you like hearty noodles, then you can have lots of toppings.
I am going to introduce what ingredients are good for toppings later.
An extended version of Kake Soba
Kake soba is a broad term for warm soba. Here are some of the extended versions of Kake soba.
- Tempura soba: Tempura (most likely shrimp) on top of kake soba.
- Kitsune soba: Seasoned aburaage (deep fried thin tofu) on top of kake soba.
- Kakiage soba: Kakiage (a type of tempura) on top of kake soba.
By the way, if you are familiar with Japanese soba noodles, you might wonder what zaru soba (or mori soba) is. The style is different from Kake soba. It's served cold, and the soup is in a separate bowl, so you eat it by dipping soba noodles in the soup.
Kake soba: Basic
Let's dig into how to make kake soba. Basically it's made up of these three components.
- Soba noodles: Dried soba noodles, fresh one, or frozen one is available in a store. Any soba noodles are fine.
- Soba soup: Make dashi (soup stock) from katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes), kombu (kelp), and niboshi (dried baby sardines), and season with mirin and soy sauce.
- Toppings: Scallion, wakame seaweed, some vegetables, and the list goes on.
You will find the details for each one in the following.
Soba noodle is a Japanese traditional noodle and originally made from only buckwheat flour and water, and it's called Juwari Soba. (By the way, udon noodle is made from flour.)
But it contains no gluten and not easy to make the shape and keep the quality. That's why flour is added to increase gluten.
Soba noodle's name is different depending on how much flour included. Here are some variations.
- Juwari Soba (十割そば) - 100% buckwheat flour
- Nihachi Soba (二八そば) - 20% flour, 80% buckwheat flour
- Gowari Soba (五割そば) - 50% flour, 50% buckwheat flour
The ratio of buckwheat flour should be more than 30% to sell as soba, so if it just says "soba" on the package, it probably includes mostly flour, which is more likely darker color udon.
If you want to try real soba noodles, you should pick Juwari or Nihachi. You would enjoy the flavor of buckwheat flour and the texture.
My favorite is Nihachi soba.
By the way, the picture above is freshly made soba noodles that I purchased from a soba restaurant in our neighborhood. It has a rich flavor and texture. However, I usually use dried soba noodles that are easy to store.
Are Soba noodles healthier than Udon noodles?
Buckwheat flour includes a high nutritious value, so in general, we say soba noodles are healthier than udon noodles.
- Soba noodle's Glycemic Index is lower than udon noodles.
- Soba noodles have more dietary fiber than udon noodles.
- Soba noodles have more protein than udon noodles.
If you pay attention to blood sugar level, soba noodles are more recommended than udon noodles.
But remember, some soba noodles include more flour than buckwheat flour (like 70% flour, 30% buckwheat flour), so in that case, it won't make much difference.
If you are looking for a gluten-free option, you should use "Juwari soba," which is 100% made from buckwheat flour.
Soba Soup (Mentsuyu)
Ingredients for the soup
Noodle soup is called "mentsuyu" in Japanese. We make it from dashi (soup stock) and season with soy sauce and mirin.
- Dashi: Katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes), kombu (kelp), niboshi (dried baby sardines)
- Seasoning: Mirin, soy sauce
Dashi is the base of the soup and a key ingredient.
If making dashi is too much work, you can use instant dashi powder to save your time. That's totally ok.
Soba soup is also used for udon noodles. If you go to a noodle stand at a station in Japan, you can choose either soba noodles or udon noodles, and they pour the same soup over the noodles.
How to make soba soup
Once you get all the ingredients, let's make the soup!
- Put ingredients in a pot: Put katsuobushi, kombu, niboshi (snap the head and remove the guts, watch: how to prepare niboshi), water in a pot and bring to a boil over medium heat.
- Simmer: When it starts boiling, lower the heat to low and simmer for about 2 minutes. If you check the taste, you can taste the flavorful umami.
- Add mirin and soy sauce: Add mirin and soy sauce, bring it to a boil again, then remove the pot from heat.
- Drain: Drain in a colander and remove the dashi ingredients.
If you do not use it immediately, let it cool down, put it in a jar, and store it in the fridge for one week.
Please put it in a freezer bag or ice cube maker and store it in the freezer for one month for long-term storage.
Dashi is made from katsuobushi and niboshi, and they are fishes, so it's not vegan-friendly.
But I have a vegan option for you. If you replace it with vegan dashi: Shiitake Kombu Dashi, you can make vegan Kake soba.
It's less umami and flavor, but I'm sure you would enjoy the gentle flavor from shiitake and kombu.
What to Do with the leftover
It's called dashi gara (leftover dashi), and you can make a delicious furikake with it, so don't throw it away!
Finely chop with a food processor, stir fry with soy sauce, mirin, sake, sesame seeds, and maybe a little spice mixture (if you like spices), and you'll have a wonderful furikake.
Go ahead, sprinkle on a bowl of rice, mix in the rice, make onigiri (rice ball), put it on a salad, or use it for seasoning for stir-fried vegetables. So many ways to enjoy it!
This is the fun part! Put your favorite ingredients on, or simmer vegetables with the soup. There are so many options. Let me share the list!
Various toppings go well with Kake soba, but I have listed the classic ones and the ones that are easy to prepare.
- Wakame Seaweed
- Kamaboko: A type of fish cake.
- Onsen Tamago: It's a half-cooked egg. Place eggs in boiled water and leave for 15 -20 minutes to cook slowly.
- Agedama: Pieces of tempura batter.
- Spinach: Boil for 1 minute.
- Tororo Kombu: Flakes of kombu
- Aburaage: Thin deep-fried tofu. Bake on both sides with a toaster.
- Satsuma Age: A type of fish cake.
- Natto: Sticky fermented soybeans.
- Chikuwa: A type of fish cake
- Nori sheet
Which one do you want to try? Here are some examples of servings.
1. Classic Kake Soba：Scallion and Wakame
Scallions and wakame seaweed are classic toppings that we often see at a soba noodle stand. It's simple, easy, and quick.
2. A Hearty Kake Soba #1
Scallions, wakame seaweed, onsen tamago, kamaboko, and agedama on top. This is my favorite one as it has more colors and so appetizing.
3. Hearty Kake Soba #2
Scallions, wakame seaweed, spinach, aburaage, agedama, and tororo kombu. It looks so delicious. I'm sure you will be full after finishing this special Kake soba.
4. Use Leftover in the fridge
If you are not sure what to choose, you can try it with your leftover!
Even if you don't prepare the toppings, it's also delicious putting some leftover side dishes on it. This is leftover stir-fried vegetables from the previous day. It tastes good as other variations.
You can try theses for toppings:
- Tempeh stir fry
- Hijiki salad (simmered hijiki)
- Atuage teriyaki
- Eggplant teriyaki
- Japanese style stir-fried vegetables (no recipe yet)
Something season with soy sauce or miso would go well. Or you can go ahead and experiment with your favorite dish!
Simmer ingredients with the soup
If you feel like eating Kake soba with plenty of vegetables, cut them and simmer with the soup.
The photo above is with carrot, shimeji mushroom, and scallion. Cut vegetables, add them to the soup, then cook for 4-5 minutes until tender.
Here are other vegetables you can try:
- Kabocha (pumpkin)
- Mushrooms (maitake, shiitake, eringi)
- Komatsuna (green leaf)
- Napa cabbage
My favorite one is mushrooms. Put maitake, shiitake, eringi in the soup, simmer, and top with scallion. I would be so happy to eat this hearty mushroom kake soba.
Boil soba and Let's Serve Kake soba
Ok, this is the last section. If you already prepare soba soup and toppings, then the rest is so easy. Let's finish it up. (watch: how to make kake soba)
- Boil water: Put water in a pot, bring it to a boil, then put soba noodles.
- Boil soba noodles: Boil it according to the time on the package. This one is fresh soba, so boiling time is only one and a half minutes.
- Drain: After boiling, drain in a colander and quickly rinse under cold running water to remove the starch.
- Serve soba noodles: Prepare a bowl and serve boiled soba noodles.
- Pour soba soup: Gently pour the warm soup over the noodles.
- Topping: Place chopped scallions and wakame seaweed.
Here you go! Once it's served, please eat right away. Otherwise, the soba noodle soaks up the soup and becomes soggy.
If you like a little spice, sprinkle with shichimi togarashi (Japanese spice blend) and enjoy!
Thanks For Stopping By
Like I mentioned earlier, Kake soba is the most simple and hearty soba noodle soup. If you find toppings you like, then why not making them at home!
I hope you will enjoy this authentic recipe!
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 include vegan and vegetarian. From traditional Japanese recipes to modern recipes with step-by-step instructions.
Kake soba is a simple Japanese soba noodle soup. If you love Japanese noodles, you might want to try this warm, flavorful soba. Enjoy the variety of toppings with umami-rich dashi soup.
- 200g Soba Noodles
Soba soup (mentsuyu)
- 20g Katsuobushi (bonito flakes)
- 10g Kombu (kelp)
- 2g (5-7 pieces) Niboshi (dried baby sardines)
- 5 Tbsp Soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp Mirin
- 1L Water
Toppings of your choice (Please see the ingredients section)
- Prepare toppings: Pick some toppings you like and prepare.
- how to prep niboshi), and water in a pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. : Put katsuobushi, kombu, niboshi (snap the head and remove the guts:
- Simmer: When it starts boiling, lower the heat and simmer for about 2 minutes.
- Season: Add mirin and soy sauce, bring it to a boil again, then remove the pot from heat.
- : Drain in a colander and remove the dashi ingredients.
- Boil soba noodles: Boil soba noodles according to the time on the package.
- : After boiling, drain in a colander and quickly rinse under cold running water to remove the starch.
- Serve: Serve boiled soba noodles in a bowl, pour the soup, and place toppings of your choice.
- Equipment: A medium-size pot to boil soba noodles, a strainer to drain.
- Storage: Soba soup will last for one week in the fridge and one month in the freezer.
- Substitute: You can substitute dashi with instant dashi powder. Or you can try another dashi recipe such as awase dashi (katsuobushi and kombu), niboshi dashi, shiitake kombu dashi (vegan).
- If the soup is too salty, please add some water to tweak the taste.
- If you want to stew the vegetables, add them to the soup and cook until tender.
Keywords: soba noodle soup, kake soba
More Noodle and Dashi Recipes You Might Like
- Cold Udon Noodles with Vegetables
- Soba Noodle Salad
- Awase Dashi - Basic Japanese Stock
- Shiitake Kombu Dashi - Vegan Stock
- Nibohsi Dashi