Japanese summers are notoriously hot and humid, with peak temperatures in Tokyo reaching highs of 95°F (35°C ) in July and August. On sweltering summer days when preparing a warm meal feels unthinkable, cold noodles are an ideal, no-fuss option.
This recipe for a slightly sweet and deeply savory tsuyu dipping sauce is the perfect complement for chilled udon or soba noodles. Even better, it’s made with just three pantry ingredients and stores well in the fridge. As the weather heats up, keeping a batch of tsuyu on hand ensures that a light, refreshing meal is only a few minutes away!
Tsuyu, also known as mentsuyu, is a multi-purpose soup base used in Japanese noodle dishes. It is enjoyed in two main ways:
- Hot - Tsuyu is diluted with boiling water to make a warm broth, then poured directly over cooked noodles.
- Cold - Tsuyu is served as a dipping sauce alongside chilled noodles. This is the version that we are making!
Different dishes call for different ratios of tsuyu to water. Generally, broths tend to be more watered down than dipping or seasoning sauces. To find your preferred concentration, try slowly adding water, tasting, and adjusting accordingly!
Our tsuyu dipping sauce recipe combines the smokiness of dashi, the saltiness of soy sauce, and the sweetness of mirin to create a simple, yet flavorful sauce that allows the true flavors of the noodles to shine.
We recommend serving with either 5 grain beauty udon or 100% soba noodles. To vegan-ize this recipe, simply use vegan dashi stock. Optional toppings include seaweed strips, sesame seeds, or green onion.
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl and use as a dipping sauce for cold noodles (we recommend either 5 grain beauty udon or 100% soba noodles)
*Available in our Creative Beginnings: Redefining “Wa” Care Package
Recipe intro provided by Britney Budiman
Britney Budiman (@booritney) is a writer, minimalist, aspiring effective altruist, and runner-in-progress with a penchant for saying “yes.” Previously, she has worked in Cambodia at a traditional arts NGO, in Brazil as a social sciences researcher, and in San Francisco at a housing start-up. She currently lives in the countryside of Kagoshima, Japan, where she teaches English. Her favorite thing in the world is good conversation.