Soba Noodles (1)
Mentsuyu dip (2)
Sesame Seeds, toasted
Yuzu Peel, grated
Make - (20 min +15 min sauce, make ahead)
- Cut Condiments as desired. Scallions are pretty much
mandatory, then one or two others.
- Bring plenty of Water to a boil. The Japanese don't usually
salt the water because the dip will be salty.
- Hold the bundle of Soba vertically over the pot and have
the noodles drop into the pot a few at a time to assure they don't
stick together. Stir well for a minute or so, bringing back to a
boil, then turn down to a slow simmer and cover.
- Simmer Soba until cooked evenly all the way through (not
al-dente). The noodles should be softened, but still strong
enough to wash, and not at all mushy.
- Drain Soba. Return to the pot and fill with Cold Water.
Tumble them around with your hands to wash them well. Change the
water and wash some more. Drain well.
- Serve with Dip and Condiments (yakumi) on the
side (see Note-3 and Note-4).
These noodles are often accompanied with chilled Tofu dice or
Tempura, both of which can use the same dip.
- Soba Noodles: These are noodles made
with buckwheat flour. Many "health conscious" recipes presume they are
"gluten free", but they almost always contain some wheat flour so there
is enough gluten to hold them together. Pure buckwheat Soba is made,
but rare, and probably more difficult to handle. In Japan, a common mix
is 3-7, 30% wheat, 70% buckwheat - but you'll not find that in the
Asian markets around here - I've seen as little as 3% buckwheat, but
most don't say, just listing buckwheat as the second ingredient. A well
known Japanese Soba enthusiast here in Los Angeles makes hers about 20%
wheat, 80% buckwheat. Note that some brands include "Yam" (konnyaku
powder) which makes the noodles sturdier and easier to handle.
- Mentsuyu: This is the standard
Japanese noodle dip / broth, very easy to make, and will last for a
couple weeks in the fridge. It is finished in various concentrations.
For dip, I like 1/2 Dashi, 1/2 Kaeshi. See our
Mentsuyu & Kaeshi
- Eating: You eat these noodles by
picking up a small bunch with chopsticks, dip briefly into the
sauce (some recipes saying 2/3 of the way). I have seen photos on the
Internet of a cylinder of noodles wrapped neatly and tightly around a
pair of chopsticks. This is essentially impossible to do at the table
and had to be carefully constructed for the photo. What I do is pick up
some noodles with chopsticks, lower them into the dip, then let go. I
immediately pick them up again, across the dip bowl. This brings them up
in a less stringy bunch, and brings more condiment with the noodles.
Whatever method, don't leave the noodles in the sauce for more than a
- Condiments: Most recipes have you
add condiments to the dip, though some hold nori aside and sprinkle
it over the noodles. Don't overload the dip with condiments, add a
bit more when needed. In Japan, some people capture some of the water
drained from the Soba (sobayu). After the noodles are eaten,
they add some to the remaining dip and drink it as soup.
- Shichimi Togarashi: OK, you
want to know what this is. It's a table condiment - red chili flake
mixed with ground yuzu peel, szechuan peppercorns, nori (seaweed),
toasted white and black sesame seeds and toasted poppy seeds - or some
other stuff. Often called "7 flavor pepper".
- U.S. measure: t=teaspoon,
T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce,
#=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required