Adding tempura to soup feels very much like adding crackers to soup. The hard crackers soften a bit in the warm broth, while still remaining a little crunchy. Any sort of tempura vegetable, like mushrooms, blanched asparagus, and onions, will compliment this soup. My favorite is tempura avocado. Whatever vegetable you select, be sure to add it to the soup immediately before serving so it doesn’t get soggy.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: About 15 minutes

Makes 4 servings

4 cups (1 liter) Vegetarian Dashi (page 27) or low-sodium vegetable stock
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
½ tablespoon sake
6 oz (175 g) dried soba noodles
2 inari pouches, cut into thin strips
8 pieces prepared Vegetable Tempura (see recipe on opposite page)
One 4 x 7-in (10 x 13-cm) nori sheet, cut into thin strips
2 green onions, thinly sliced
In a medium saucepan, bring the Vegetarian Dashi to a low simmer. Add the soy sauce, mirin and sake. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
Bring 4 quarts (3.75 liters) unsalted water to a boil. Add the soba noodles and cook for about 7 minutes, or until the soba is cooked through, but still firm. Drain in a colander and rinse well with warm water.
Divide the noodles evenly among 4 bowls. Spoon 1 cup (250 ml) of hot broth over each bowl of noodles.
Distribute the Vegetable Tempura pieces, inari pouch strips, nori strips, and green onions equally among the four bowls. Serve immediately.