The combination of cold, chewy homemade soba noodles with steaming-hot crispy duck and dashi-enriched dipping sauce is an unparalleled delight. Timing is key when making this dish—cook the soba just before you serve. Work ahead by steeping the dashi and seasoning the duck the night before or the morning of cooking. For the purest flavor, seek out hon mirin (“real mirin”), which has no added sweeteners or salt.

March 2021


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

8 hrs 50 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Stir together 4 cups filtered water, kombu, and shiitakes in a medium bowl. Let stand at room temperature at least 8 hours or up to overnight. Remove kombu and mushrooms; discard or, if desired, reserve to make another batch of dashi.

  • Sprinkle duck breasts all over with salt. Place duck, skin side up, on a plate. Refrigerate, uncovered, at least 8 hours or up to overnight.

  • Combine soy sauce, hon mirin, and sugar in a large saucepan. Cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until mixture just begins to simmer and sugar is dissolved, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in dashi, leek strips, and, if using, sake. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until leek is tender and mixture has reduced to about 4 cups, 20 to 25 minutes. Cover dipping sauce, and keep warm over low until ready to serve.

  • Heat a medium skillet over medium. Place duck breasts, skin sides down, in skillet; reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, undisturbed, occasionally spooning off drippings from skillet, until fat is rendered and skin is golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Flip duck breasts; cook until a thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 130°F for medium-rare, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer duck to a cutting board; let rest 10 minutes.

  • To serve, divide dipping sauce evenly among 4 bowls. Cut duck breasts crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices, and add to bowls. Top evenly with citrus peel and ginger strips; garnish with mitsuba, togarashi, and serrano. Serve immediately with cold soba noodles.

Make Ahead

Dashi can be stored in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 week; dipping sauce can be refrigerated up to 2 days.


Find hon mirin, yuzu, mitsuba, and togarashi at Japanese markets or online.