Thursday, June 19, 2008

Soba Noodle Basics

Soba, or buckwheat noodles, are a popular "fast food" in Japan, served cold in summer with dipping sauce and immersed in hot broth in winter. The high protein content of buckwheat flour makes soba a more nutritious pasta than those made solely of wheat flour. Their versatility, ease of preparation, and unique flavor make soba noodles a year round staple in my kitchen. Cook soba in lots of boiling water as you would any pasta, and avoid overcooking.

2 quarts boiling water
8 ounces soba noodles

Add soba to boiling water and simmer on a medium flame, stirring a bit to separate. Add a little cold water if pot threatens to boil over. Noodles are done when still "al dente" and of uniform color inside when broken in half.

Drain cooking water ("soba yu"), into a bowl and reserve for later use. Place soba in a colander and rinse under cold water to keep noodles from sticking together. Allow to drain thoroughly.

Serving suggestions: Toss cooked soba with your favorite stir fried vegetables. Prepare vegetables as usual in skillet or wok. Then add soba to the vegetables in the pan. Toss gently with a little hot soba yu and heat for another minute or two. Serve immediately.