In Japan, noodles are eaten hot or cold, and they are served in many different ways. Here are general instructions for cooking any kind of Japanese noodles—soba, somen, or udon—and recipes for serving them hot or cold.


8 oz. noodles, uncooked

Broth ingredients:

3 c. water
1 tbsp. dashinomoto*
4 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. sugar (or to taste) chopped scallions or dried
pepper flakes (optional)

1. Bring 6 c. of water to a boil. Add noodles and return water to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Cook for about 20 minutes or until noodles are soft.

2. Drain noodles in a colander and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process.

3. For hot noodles: set noodles aside and prepare broth.

4. For cold noodles: put noodles in refrigerator to cool while preparing the dipping sauce.

Cooking time: 20 to 30 minutes
Serves 4

1. Combine all broth ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil. Add noodles and bring to a boil again to heat noodles.

2. Remove from heat and serve noodles with broth in 4 individual bowls.

3. Top noodles with chopped scallions or dried red pepper flakes, if desired.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 to 10 minutes

Dipping Sauce:
2 c. water
1 tsp. dashinomoto
6 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. sugar (or to taste)
sliced cucumbers and canned
mandarin oranges (optional)

1. Mix together all ingredients and pour into 4 small dishes for dipping.

2. Divide noodles among 4 bowls and garnish with sliced cucumber and mandarin oranges. Serve with dipping sauce.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

*To make a vegetarian broth, substitute konbu (dried kelp) for dashinomoto. Konbu, also sometimes spelled “kombu,” is available at most specialty grocery stores. As a rule of thumb, use a piece of konbu about 1 inch long per 1 c. of water. Wipe any dust or dirt off the pieces with a damp paper towel, but do not rinse under running water. Cut each piece of konbu into thirds and place in a saucepan with the required amount of water. Soak for at least 15 minutes. Add soy sauce and sugar and place over high heat. Just before boiling, carefully remove konbu with a slotted spoon and discard. Follow the rest of the directions for noodles.