Japanese Squash-and-Soba-Noodle Soup

Prep Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
30 mins

Unlike the other soups in this story, this one shouldn't be made ahead. But it can be prepared very quickly.


  • 5 cups water

  • ¾ ounce kombu (four 5-inch pieces)

  • cup bonito flakes

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce, plus more for seasoning

  • 1 pound kabocha or buttercup squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 3 ½ ounces White Beech (Bunapi), enoki, or shiitake mushrooms, trimmed

  • 8 ounces soba noodles, preferably 100 percent buckwheat

  • Silken tofu (optional), for serving

  • Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish


  1. Bring water and kombu to a boil in a large saucepan. Remove from heat, stir in bonito flakes, and let stand 5 minutes. Pour broth through a fine sieve into a bowl, discard solids, and return broth to pan.

  2. Add soy sauce, squash, and mushrooms to broth. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender, about 10 minutes. Season with more soy sauce if desired.

  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles, and cook, stirring occasionally, until noodles are al dente, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain, and rinse under cold water.

  4. Divide noodles among 4 bowls. Ladle soup over noodles, dollop with tofu, and garnish with scallions.

Cook's Notes

There are no substitutes for kombu and bonito flakes -- two necessary ingredients in the simple Japanese sea stock called dashi -- but they are easy to find at Asian markets, many supermarkets, and asianfoodgrocer.com.

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