Soba Noodles are the Japanese noodles, which are prepared from buckwheat flour. The word soba in Japanese refers to buckwheat. These noodles are mostly served as cold noodle soup with hot broth or spicy dipping sauce. The soba( the name by which the noodles are also commonly referred to), prepared from the newly harvested buckwheat, is known as “shin-soba” and it is considered as more flavorsome and sweeter than the regular soba.
The noodles made up of soba are very popular in Japan because they are inexpensive. The noodles are sold at roadside stalls, train stations, and at very exclusive and expensive high-end restaurants too. For a quick meal, dried noodles and men-tsuyu (instant noodle broth) can be purchased from market.
The Japanese eat their soba noodles with chopsticks. Also, it is traditionally accepted to slurp these noodles very noisily because Japanese believe that slurping helps to cool the hot noodles. The noodles made up of soba are mostly served hot in chilling winters and cold in summers. When served cold it is teamed with dashi sauce.
These noodles are normally distinguished by their combining ingredients and place of preparation.
History of Soba Noodles
It is believed that these noodles originated during the Tokugawa period, when the Tokyoites ate these noodles to save themselves from beri beri. As, Tokyoites were wealthier than other Japanese , so they mostly consumed white rice. The white rice was low in thiamine and its deficiency caused beri beri. It was found that beri beri could be prevented by eating soba-rich dishes. During the Tokugawa period every street in the city had one or two establishments selling soba dishes. These restaurants served as the modern cafes, where people would usually drop to have an informal meal.
Types of Soba Noodles
- Pure Buckwheat Noodles: These noodles are prepared using water, buckwheat flour and salt.
- Tea Infused Buckwheat Noodles: This is another variant of buckwheat flour noodles which is prepared with green tea powder.
Soba Noodles Recipe: Ingredients and Method of Preparation
- Cold Peanut with Soba: This dish is prepared with soy sauce, peanut butter, water ,honey, garlic, rice vinegar, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, buckwheat noodles, red bell pepper, carrot, green onions, and peanuts. The peanuts are added towards the end of cooking time, and seasoning is adjusted as per the taste preferences before serving the dish.
- Cold Soba Noodles with Dipping Sauce: The noodles are cooked like the regular noodles and the dipping sauce is prepared with kaeshi and vegetarian dashi stock.
- Soba with Toasted Sesame Seed Juice: This dish can be easily preparedwith any number of vegetables. Sesame seeds, balsamic vinegar, dried soba noodles, white sugar, soy sauce, dark sesame oil, garlic, broccoli florets and green onions are used in the preparation of this dish. The toasted sesame seeds are tossed and broccoli is added before serving.
In Japan, these noodles are mostly gifted to families who plan to purchase new homes or move into the new homes.