Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Soba Noodle

Soba (buck wheat noodles) with Cold Dipping Sauce 

There are many regional soba noodles you can enjoy while you are in Japan.  Next time when you travel within Japan, try to stop at a soba shop to truly enjoy the local cuisine. 

Ingredients (for four):

For home made noodle dipping sauce, see the basic noodle soup direction below. Alternatively you may use ready-to-use noodle sauce. 

Basic Udon/Soba Soup:
  • 4 cups water
  • 6-8inch / 15-20cm of dried kelp(こぶ/こんぶ)
  • Dried bonito flakes (if you are using packaged ones, use 4 packages) (かつお節)
  • 5-7 dried anchovies(Niboshi 煮干し/にぼし)- heads and guts removed
  • 1/3 cup of mirin (みりん)
  • 1/3 cup of sake (酒)
  • 2/3 cup of soy sauce (しょうゆ/醤油) 
Udon Noodle:
  • Dried or fresh udon noodle for four (うどん4人前)
  • 12 cups of water (for cooking noodles)
In a large pot, soak dried kelp (for best result, soak the kelp in the water for an hour before you start cooking) and bring it to simmer. Take the kelp out and add the bonito flakes and anchovies, and bring to boil. Boil for 8-10 minuets. Scoop out the bonito flakes and anchovies, and discard them. Add the sake, mirin and soy sauce and boil for 5 minuets. Adjust the soup to your taste by adding more soy sauce and/or mirin, and turn the heat off. 

Cook soba noodles in a boiling water until the noodles become al dente, about 5-7 minutes. Wash the soba noodles under cold running water. Take one chopstick full of noodles and mount it on a serving plate by making a circular motion or folding motion.  Repeat this process for a couple of more time till you have one serving amount of soba noodles on the plate. Serve the cold noodles with the soba sauce and your favorite toppings. 
Suggested toppings:
  • Sliced scallions or long green onions
  • Wasabi paste
  • Grated ginger 
  • Japanese basil (oh-ba 大葉)
  • Japanese ginger (myoga みょうが)
  • Sliced cooked eggplant 
  • A pinch of chili pepper

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