Tanuki soba is a traditional Japanese noodle dish prepared using buckwheat soba noodles. The dish is typically served in a dashi broth which is seasoned with soy sauce and then finished off with crumbled tempura batter.
The tempura helps to provide the dish with a crunchy texture. Usually consumed hot, this Tanuki Soba is sometimes also accompanied by seaweed strips and fish cakes.
Ingredients, including sliced green onions and dry fish flakes, can be sprinkled over the dish before serving. In Osaka, people commonly know this dish under the name “haikara soba.”
Origin & Cultural Significance
There are many theories regarding the name of the dish. The most common one states that “tanuki” translates to “raccoon dog”, which is an animal found in Japan. It is also a famous character featuring in several stories and the country’s culture, and hence the dish is named after them.
However, according to another theory, it was named after another noodle dish called kitsune noodle dish. Several people also believe that “tanuki (tane-nuki)” sounds much like “ingredients removed” in Japanese, and considering tenkasu doesn’t include any vegetables or shrimp like normal tempura, the dish may have gotten its name this way.
Japanese Tanuki Soba Recipe
- Flour - 3 tbsp
- Water - 3 tbsp
- Deep-frying oil
- Dashi - 4 cups
- Salt - 1/4 tsp
- Soy Sauce - 2 tbsp
- Mirin - 3 tbsp
- Sake - 2 tbsp
- Dried soba noodles - 200g
- Green onions (thinly cut) - 2
- Shichimi Togarashi (hot pepper powder) - optional
- Begin by preparing tenkasu. Take a small bowl and add flour and water to it. Combine both the ingredients until the flour dissolves in the water. Make sure to not overmix as it will begin to create gluten.
- Now, take a medium sized pot and add enough oil to deep fry the mixture. Using a brush or chopsticks, drop the prepared mixture in the oil. Remember to keep the flame at medium high (350F or 175C).
- Using a fine-mesh skimmer, take out the fried batter as soon as it begins to get golden in colour and starts to float on the surface. Transfer them on a plate lined with paper towel. You can also store the additional tenkasu in an airtight container and place in the refrigerator for about a 1 week. However, if you place it in the freezer, it will be fit for consumption for up to 2-3 months.
- It’s turn to take dashi and bring it to a boil. Add soy sauce, mirin, sake and salt to taste. Once done, cover the container in order to keep it warm.
- Next, prepare the dried soba noodles according to the instructions given on the package. Transfer cooked soba noodles to the freshly prepared hot soup and allow the dish to simmer for about a minute.
- Lastly, serve your noodles and soup into different bowls and add the cooked fried Tenkasu and chopped green onion on top. If you prefer, you can also add shichimi to top it off and there you have it. Your delicious tanuki soba is ready to be served!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 365Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 1961mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 1gSugar: 10gProtein: 19g