The Art of Soba
Making soba, the popular Japanese buckwheat noodle, is definitely an art form that takes great skill and much time to perfect. The high buckwheat content can make this a tricky little—er, big—dough to work with. The work must all be done by hand, which can be uber time-consuming but also great fun, if that’s what you’re into—and I am.
After using the proper techniques to mix the flour and water—you have to know how to work it—the dough must be rolled out into a circle and then rolled out again into a rectangle that’s 1.5 millimeters thick. Of course, this requires a huge rolling pin, and then cutting the dough requires a huge knife. Getting the precise measurements correct and knowing how to work the dough can be difficult, unless you’re a soba master—and I am not.
It’s shameful, I know, but that is why I stick to store-bought noodles that can easily be cooked in minutes. Eating the healthy and tasty noodles makes me feel balanced and energized. I know it sounds crazy and hippyish, but it’s true.
Soba can be enjoyed hot or cold; both ways are good. The Spicy Soba Noodles With Shiitakes and Cabbage pictured here is right in the middle, with cold noodles tossed in a warm sauce. Pair this with a little unfiltered sake—I like to say “sake to me”—and you’ll have a little Japanese feast.