Cold Soba (Japanese Buckwheat Noodles)

Ingredients

  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 nori sheet about 4 inches square (available at Asian markets)
  • 14 oz Soba noodles
  • 1 tsp wasabi paste or powder
  • 1 and 1/4 oz Kezuri-bushi (available at Asian markets)
  • 1 cup shoyu (soy sauce)
  • 1 cup Mirin
  • 3 cups water
Cold Soba noodles are a Japanese staple, often eaten in summer and served on a bamboo tray with a dipping sauce. Great care is taken in their preparation and it is considered an art. In Japan they are dipped in a flavorful sauce and eaten with a loud slurping sound, which is said to enhance their flavor.

  • To make the dipping sauce, mix all the ingredients in a small pan.
  • Bring to a boil, and cook for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  • Strain through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth. Cool at room temperature then chill.
  • Soak the spring onion in ice- cold water in a bowl for 5 minutes.
  • Drain and squeeze out the excess water.
  • Toast the nori over a medium flame until dry and crisp, then cut into short strips about 1/8 inch wide.
  • Heat about 9 cups of water in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then add the Soba.
  • Distribute the noodles evenly in the pan, and stir to prevent sticking.
  • When the water is bubbling, pour 1/4 cup cold water to lower the temperature.
  • Repeat this process and cook according to the packet instructions, or about 5 minutes.
  • Noodles should be tender to the touch.
  • Put a large sieve under cold running water and pour the Soba into the sieve, and wash with your hands.
  • Rub the Soba well to remove the starch. The Soba should feel slightly elastic. Drain again.
  • Pour the dipping sauce into four cups.
  • Put the wasabi and spring onions into individual dishes.
  • Divide the Soba among four plates.
  • Sprinkle with nori strips and serve cold, dipping in the sauce.

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