Here, this light and satisfying dish is served as something like a cold noodle salad—heavy on the noodles. The beer complements the graininess of the soba noodles well, and the light and fresh flavors mingled with soy contrast with a cold, refreshing wheat beer.
Active preparation time: 1 hour
Total time: 2 hours
1 small daikon radish
1 knob (about 3"/8 cm) of ginger, peeled
1 bunch green onions
4 cloves garlic, peeled
3 cup (710 ml) water
1 cup (237 ml) wheat beer
1 cup dried bonito flakes (katsuoboshi)
1 piece (4" x 6" / 10 x 15 cm) soup-stock seaweed (kombu)
Wash the vegetables. Slice 2" (5 cm) of the radish into eight ¼" (6 mm) discs. Reserve the remaining radish to finish the dish. Cut 1" (25 mm) of the ginger into thin slices, reserving the remaining ginger to finish the dish. Slice the lower 2" (5 cm) of the green onions, reserving the tops to finish the dish. In a medium pot, combine the radish, ginger, green onions, garlic, water, and wheat beer. Bring to a low simmer and cook on low, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until the vegetables have softened. Remove from the heat, add the bonito flakes and kombu, cover, and let stand for 15 minutes, then drain the broth into a bowl and let cool. Discard the solids.
Grate enough of the remaining daikon radish to make 1 cup. Grate the remaining 2" (5 cm) of the ginger. Thinly slice the remaining green onion tops. Set aside until time to serve.
½ cup (118 ml) soy sauce
½ cup (118 ml) wheat beer
1½ Tbs white sugar
In a small pot, combine all the ingredients. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and let cool.
1 bunch asparagus
1 carrot, peeled
1 yellow zucchini
1 package dried buckwheat (soba) noodles
Remove the woody stems from the asparagus. Cut the asparagus, carrot, and zucchini into 1½" (38 mm) julienne strips.
Prepare an ice bath and bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Add the vegetables and cook for 1−2 minutes, then remove the vegetables and immediately submerge them in the ice bath. Drain and reserve. Add the noodles to the boiling water and cook following the package directions. When the noodles are still chewy but cooked through, drain and cool them using the reserved ice bath.
Combine 1 cup (237 ml) of the Dashi and ½ cup (118 ml) of the Kaeshi. The sauce should be sweet, salty, and savory.
In large bowls, layer a nest of buckwheat noodles and arrange the blanched veggies, grated radish and ginger, and sliced green onion tops on and around the noodles. Ladle ¼ cup (59 ml) of sauce into each bowl, then add a pinch of wasabi, if using.
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PHOTO: MATT GRAVES