A few months ago, a couple of friends introduced us to a soba restaurant in Midtown called Soba Totto, and introduced me to a world of wonders. Soba noodles are fast working their way up my list of favorite noodles, with their resilient bite and nutty flavor, and they were never better than in the soups we tried there. I had a duck breast and yuzu soba noodle soup that was all kinds of crisp, smoky and tart in all the right ways, but what really stole my heart was B2’s choice (this happens all the time, because I am that kind of date) — something they called “sukiyaki soba,” soba noodles served in a dark, lip-smacking broth crowded with thinly-sliced pork belly and wiggly tofu, piled high with bias-cut scallions, and, most wonderfully, finished off with a barely-poached egg that melted into the broth to make it extra creamy, rich, and just the slightest bit sweet.
I was fairly convinced that there was no way something that complex and richly nuanced could be easy or quick or even possible to make myself, especially after Google informed me that sukiyaki is typically (correct me if I’m wrong, Japanese friends) a kind of Japanese hot pot, which seemed inscrutably far from noodle soup. Still, assuming that the clever folks at Soba Totto made a kind of sukiyaki-inspired soba noodle soup, and finding that most recipes for sukiyaki incorporated some measure of soy sauce, mirin, sake, and a touch of sugar into a sauce for dipping, I thought maybe that flavor base would do the trick, along with a quick sear of the pork belly and some onions for flavor. As much to my surprise as anyone’s, that turned out to be perfect. And so fast! All it takes is some good Berkshire pork belly, onion, tofu, soba noodles, and those condiments, and you’re a paltry 30 minutes or less from one of the best noodle soups I’ve ever made at home. I have a feeling it’s going to be one of our favorites on cold or rainy days from now on. I hope you love it as much as I do. You can find the recipe over on Crate and Barrel!
Thanks so much to Crate and Barrel for sponsoring this post and providing all the products shown here! You can find links to individual products in the recipe post on their blog.