Soba noodles are noodles made of buckwheat flour and prepared in various hot and cold dishes. Soba dishes are very popular and easily available nationwide. As 100% buckwheat soba noodles tend to be brittle, many restaurants add some wheat flour when preparing their noodles. Depending on the shop, the percentage of buckwheat flour in soba noodles typically ranges between 30% and 100%.
Soba is a good nutritional addition to a diet reliant on white rice and wheat flour. Thiamine, missing from white rice, is present in soba and eating thiamine (vitamin B1) prevents the thiamine deficiency. It contains lysine, which is lacking in wheat flour. Soba contains all eight essential amino acids. The tradition of eating soba arose in the Edo period from 1603 to 1868.
Soba served in a soup are enjoyed by using your chopsticks to lead the noodles into your mouth while making a slurping sound. The slurping enhances the flavours and helps cool down the hot noodles as they enter your mouth. The broth is drunk directly from the bowl, eliminating the need for a spoon. It is not considered rude to leave some unfinished soup in the bowl at the end of the meal.
– 1 litre water
– 20g kombu
– 5g (2p) dried shiitake mushroom
– 200ml water
– 1 litre kombu water
– 180ml shiitake water
– 20g bonito flake
– 20ml mirin
– 30ml kikkoman usukuchi light soy sauce
– 7g salt
– 75g soba noodles (dried)
– 50g wakame
– 20g scallions, finely chopped
– 1 ume (Japanese pickled plum)
– 1 shiso leaf (perilla)
– 10g chives, finely chopped
1. For the kombu water soak kombu in 1 litre water and leave overnight.
2. For the shiitake water soak dried shiitake in 200ml water overnight. Take the shiitake out from shiitake water and slice thinly.
3. Place the kombu water, shiitake water, mirin and light soy sauce into a pot and bring to boil.
4. Take the kombu out from pot and add 10g bonito flake. Turn off the heat and leave 5 minutes.
5. Strain the udon dashi. Place udon dashi back into the pot and heat, add salt to taste. Bring to the boil and add bonito flakes. Turn off the heat and leave 5 minutes.
6. Strain udon dashi again and add sliced shiitake.
7. Boil soba noodles in water for 5 minutes and strain, wash and rinse in cold water. Strain and throw into the udon dashi pot, bring to the boil.
8. Place cooked soba noodles and dashi broth into a bowl and garnish with scallions, wakame, shiso leaf, ume and chives.
Takashi’s 20 years Japanese cooking experience includes catering for heads of state and celebrities, and holding a number of Head Chef positions in both Japan and Ireland. Takashi was named “Chef of the Year 2015” by John and Sally of The McKenna’s Guide. He is an advocate for Japanese cooking here in Ireland and his aim for Miyazaki is simple: “There are so many types of Japanese food. It is like a treasure box. I want people to enjoy the real flavours of Japan.”