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.
For more info on the art of soba, check out these great resources: FXCuisine.com, Soba Advice, Wikipedia, and Japan-Guide.com.
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