Japanese food Soba?


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  • 蕎麦 Soba
  • 蕎麦 Soba
  • 蕎麦 Soba

Soba, one of the two major traditional noodle dishes in Japan You can eat cool zaru soba in the summer, and kake soba in hot soup during winter. There are two kinds of soba recipes, one is warm soba in warm soup broth, and the other being cold soba cooled by running water and dipped into a mixed soba sauce of soup and soy sauce.

After finishing the cold soba, it is common to drink the soba sauce after adding in water that was used to cook the soba. It is highly recommended to drink it as it contains the nutrition of soba.

It takes a certain skill to cook soba noodles, but there are several soba places in Japan that allow you to experience the making process.

蕎麦 Soba
What is soba?
A traditional Japanese noodle dish. Traditional Japanese noodle dishes include udon, ramen, and soba. The dish with the oldest history among these three is soba, with there even being a theory that it had been eaten before the Nara period (710-794). 

Buckwheat flour, made by processing buckwheat seeds, is mixed well with water and tsunagi, material used to help connect soba noodles, such as flour. This is then rolled thinly and cut into a thin rectangular shape to make soba noodles. In a soba dish, this then is boiled and eaten with soba-tsuyu (soba sauce) of your liking. It is a healthy Japanese food that is liked by men, women, and children alike. 

Furthermore, as an old Japanese tradition, toshikoshi (year-crossing) soba is eaten on New Year’s Eve. Since soba noodles are easier to cut than other noodles, this is a tradition that has continued since the Edo period (1603-1868) to signify “cutting away the bad luck for the year”. 
蕎麦 Soba
How to eat soba 
There are three major types of soba 

1. Mori soba and Zaru soba 
This is the most typical manner of eating and also the oldest manner of eating. 

Soba that has been boiled is then cooled and washed to remove the slack. The noodles are then served on a rectangular steamer or sieve basket made from bamboo or wood, with a bamboo hurdle placed on the bottom of the container. 

It comes with soba-tsuyu (dipping sauce) in a separate small bowl called a soba choko. With chopsticks, a bite-sized amount of soba is scooped up and dipped in tsuyu before being eaten. 

These types of soba were given the names mori (served on a flat basket or a plate) soba and zaru (topped with shredded nori seaweed) soba, because of such serving and eating methods. 

There are different types of tsuyu and condiments. The common combination is cold soba-tsuyu made from katsuo dashi soup stock, leek, and wasabi. This is a simple preparation method that is widely adopted as a combination that enables the eater to taste the most of soba. 

There is also kamo (duck) seiro, cold soba noodles with hot duck meat broth on the side. Even though it is still a zaru soba dish, kamo seiro is popular for having a different taste. 

2. Kake soba 
Unlike mori soba and zaru soba, it is served as a noodle soup in a bowl of hot tsuyu. 

Condiments that are frequently used are naganegi onions and shichimi pepper (a blend of seven types of spices) chili. Thinly cut skin of citrus fruits, such as yuzu, is added in order to make the flavor stand out. 

3. Bukkake soba 
With bukkake soba, the noodles are washed in cold water to remove the slackness once they have been boiled. Ingredients such as cucumbers, thinly shredded egg omelette, boiled fish paste, and wakame seaweed are placed on top. Afterward, tsuyu from another container is poured over noodles. 

The name “bukkake soba” comes from pouring the tsuyu over noodles (bukkakeru). The bowl used for bukkake soba has certain characteristics; large donburi bowls and shallow plates are used to serve bukkake soba. In some regions, soba is served on small plates, like with Izumi soba and Izumo soba. 

The serving style is similar to chilled Chinese noodles. This is a soba dish that is often eaten during summer.
蕎麦 Soba
A traditional Japanese dish that has been passed on since the Nara period (710-794). It is said that soba was introduced before the Nara period. Initially, buckwheat seeds were eaten whole, cooked to make porridge, or processed to buckwheat flour and mixed with water to bake. It is said that the current eating method of soba was created in the 16th or the 17th century.

At that time, noodles were made from wheat flour, which was expensive. In order to lower the cost, cheaper buckwheat flour was mixed in instead. Thereafter, soba came to be made widely as noodles that only use buckwheat flour. 

In order to distinguish them from sobakaki (which are larger in size than soba noodles and are ball-shaped), which had existed before being cut into a noodle shape, soba was initially called sobakiri. This name is still used in some regions.

Craftsmanship of handmade soba and 100% soba for aficionados. Soba is a popular dish well-liked by Japanese gourmands. It is famous for having chefs and aficionados that are particular about how the noodles are made and the percentage of buckwheat flour present.

In particular, noodles made by hand without using a machine are called teuchi soba and only those who have acquired specialized skills can be referred to as soba chefs. 

The quality of buckwheat flour, the raw ingredient of soba noodles, and the outcome of each process influences the aroma, the sensation of swallowing soba, the appearance, and the texture (i.e., hardness), which all in turn affect the taste and flavor of soba. The profundity of soba has won the hearts and minds of many gourmands. There are also those who make their own soba noodles with the aim of making by themselves noodles that are of good quality. This has become a boom activity particularly among the baby-boomers, with soba master title certifications being held across Japan. 

The ratio of buckwheat flour is another matter for consideration. 

A famous example of this is towari or jyu-wari (100%) soba that does not use any tsunagi, such as flour, but is 100% made from buckwheat flour; nihachi (2:8) soba 2 parts buckwheat flour to 8 parts regular flour; and soto nihachi (outer 2:8) soba made from 10 parts buckwheat flour to 2 parts regular flour. Generally, the less tsunagi there is, the easier soba noodles become to cut and the more parched they become. Therefore, when you eat soba for the first time, it would be easier to eat soba with a low buckwheat flour ratio.

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