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Sauces and Condiments

Soba-tsuyu (dipping sauce for cold soba noodles)

At Akila Inouye's Tsukiji Soba Academy in Tokyo, a specially made wooden cabinet has 108 small cubbyholes, each containing a scroll of thick brown or green paper printed with a question. "How to finish the soba dough so that the ... Read more

Total time: 25 minutes, plus cooling time | Makes about 6 1/2 cups of dipping sauce

Hongaeshi (dipping sauce base)

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus a scant 3 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 cups plus a scant 2 tablespoons soy sauce

Step 1Place the sugar and mirin into a pot over medium heat and dissolve the sugar completely. Add the soy sauce and heat until a thermometer inserted reaches 158 degrees, then remove from heat. Cover the pot with a clean cloth (instead of a hard lid). Set aside and cool to room temperature. Store the liquid, covered, in the refrigerator. You can keep the base for a couple of months. This makes about 2 1/2 cups of hongaeshi.


  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 4 loosely packed cups (35 grams) dried bonito flakes
  • 3/4 cup hongaeshi dipping sauce base
  • Dash of mirin (optional)
  • Dash of sake (optional)

Step 1Boil the water and add the dried bonito flakes. Lower the heat to a simmer and continue cooking for a minute. Strain the dashi liquid in a fine strainer.

Step 2Add the hongaeshi to the dashi and then heat it to 158 degrees. Add a dash of mirin and sake, if using. Cool the pot in an ice bath. This will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days. Serve on the side with soba.

Note: Adapted from Akila Inouye. Mirin (look for mirin made with just rice, rice spirit and malt) and dried bonito flakes are available at Asian markets.
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