Tuna and Arugula on Soba

Emma Lee

This tasty noodle salad couldn’t be easier to make — the only cooking involved is preparing the noodles. The rest is just a simple assembly job. The all-purpose noodle sauce doubles up as a salad dressing and noodle sauce.


  • 7 ounces dried soba noodles
  • 3 1/2 ounces arugula
  • 9 ounces can tuna, in spring water, drained
  • shichimi-togarashi, seven-spice chili powder, to serve (optional)

For the pouring sauce:

  • 1 cup noodle pouring sauce (scant 2/3 cup All-purpose Noodle Sauce (recipe below) mixed with a generous 1/3 cup water)
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Cook Japanese at HomeCook Japanese at Home
by Kimiko Barber


Cook the noodles, drain and portion between two dishes.

Put all the ingredients for the pouring sauce in a glass jar with a lid, and shake well to mix.

Place the arugula on top of the soba, then place the drained tuna on top.

Pour the sauce over the noodle arrangement. Sprinkle with chili powder, if using, and serve.

* * *

All-Purpose Noodle Sauce
Makes about 6 cups

There are many ready-made noodle sauces available. Although they’re a useful standby and many Japanese home cooks have them (including myself, I confess) homemade is much better, and more economical. This keeps for up to 4 weeks refrigerated, and can be used for simmered dishes and broths too.


  • 2 postcard-size pieces of dried kelp
  • 3 to 4 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • scant 1 cup mirin
  • scant 1 cup sake
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 ounce katsuobushi, dried bonito flakes
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons light soy sauce


Put the kelp, shiitake, and 4 1/2  cups of water in a large glass bowl, and let it stand in a fridge overnight.

Put the mirin and sake in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil for 2 minutes to burn off the alcohol. Add the kelp, mushrooms, and soaking water to the pan, and bring to a boil, then add the salt and bonito flakes.

Bring it back to a boil again, then reduce the heat to simmer for 5 to 6 minutes, skimming off any scum that floats to the top, then add the soy sauce.

Remove from the heat, and strain through a cheesecloth-lined strainer. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Transfer the sauce into a sterilized glass jar with a lid. Store refrigerated for up to 4 weeks.

How to Use

The above recipe gives a concentrated sauce and needs to be diluted according to different uses:

  • noodle soup broth: 1 part sauce and 1 part water
  • noodle pouring sauce: 3 parts sauce and 2 parts water
  • noodle dipping sauce: 2 parts sauce and 1 part water

The above dilution proportions are a rough guide and you may adjust the seasoning to suit your taste.

* * *

Taken from Cook Japanese at Home by Kimiko Barber, priced at $29.95. Published by Kyle Books, photography by Emma Lee.

Cook time: 
Serves 2
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