Summertime makes anything chilled seem instantly more appealing. With that in mind, it seemed the perfect time to try Soba noodles in the Rikumo Kitchen. This quick, unfussy dish can be served cold or hot and has a satisfying, hardy flavor. Soba (Japanese for buckwheat) are beige colored noodles with a nutty flavor and flat spaghetti-like appearance. We tried the most basic soba dish, “Zaru” soba (zaru means ‘strainer’ in Japanese).
Besides being delicious, pure buckwheat is popular for numerous health benefits; it’s gluten free and contains all the essential amino acids. Don’t be fooled by the name though, buckwheat is actually not wheat nor is it related to wheat.
Dashi is a basic Japanese fish stock used as a base in noodle and miso soups. Similar to chicken stock in Western cooking, dashi plays a major role in flavoring many Japanese dishes. Today we’ll be making dashi from the most common combination of kombu (dried kelp) and dried bonito flakes. Other varieties of dashi can be made from dried baby sardines and dried shiitake mushrooms. You can find these ingredients at Wholefoods, local Asian and Japanese food stores or online at Asian Food Grocer.
2 cups Bonito flakes
4 inches, shredded Kombu (dried seaweed)
1 cup Soy
1 cup Mirin
1-2 large spoonfuls of Sugar
½ cup Sake (optional)
1 Soba noodle package
Over low to medium heat, add all ingredients to a pot. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat and let simmer for 5 min. Cool off. Pour through a strainer prior to use. Store leftover dashi in an airtight container in the fridge.
1) Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. *Do not add salt to the water.
2) Add dried soba noodles to the boiling water and stir in a circular motion while separating the noodles from each other.
3) Boil soba noodles according to the package instructions (each one is slightly different). Ours says boil for 6-8 minutes. Occasionally stir the noodles so they don’t stick to each other. Do not overcook.
4) Drain the noodles into a colander and rinse with cold, running water. This step is important to get rid of the slimy texture. Store in fridge and prepare Dashi.
5) Serve with dashi, green onions and wasabi in small dipping bowls.