Soba – Curiosities about Japanese Noodles

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Do you know or have you tasted delicious under the? This traditional Japanese noodle is made from buckwheat and can be served hot or cold. In this article, we are going to talk a little about this delicious Japanese noodle that has a long history and influence in various dishes in Japan.

What is Soba Pasta?

The name under the (蕎麦) literally means buckwheat (or buckwheat), but this term ends up being used by noodles with other ingredients in the dough. This noodle is easily found anywhere in Japan for a low price.

As pasta made entirely of wheat is fragile, some restaurants use wheat flour in its composition. Some Japanese noodles use the term soba, but are not made from buckwheat as in the case of yakisoba, chukasoba and okinawasoba.

The pasta is made by grinding the cereals, obtaining a dough that is subsequently kneaded, transferred to a wooden plate, and rolled out with a rolling pin, and then cut with a special kitchen knife called sobakiri-bōchō.

The pasta is kneaded with water, resulting in a dark dough, which is then cut into strands. Usually the soba dishes are accompanied with a broth called Tsuyu and usually some ingredients like chives and tempura flakes.

Some characteristics of soba are its crunchy feel, the way the pasta and sauce mix and meet on the tongue, in addition to its smell.

Soba - curiosities about Japanese noodles

The Origin and History of Soba

The soba arrived in Japan along with Buddhism. It was simply a mass of buckwheat or Moorish wheat that was consumed in different ways by the religious. Until the soba cut like pasta became popular in the Edo Period (1600-1867). 

The exact date is not known, but some records from 1614 show the word sobakiri (cut) in a monk's diary. Other records refer to the date of 1574.

Soba - curiosities about Japanese noodles

Where and how to eat Soba?

Nowadays this dish can be found in specialized restaurants where you can find the chef preparing the pasta yourself, or in fast food restaurants specializing in soba and udon. In reality it is easy to find soba in almost any place or variety of restaurants in Japan.

In some train stations you will find several soba restaurants, some you should eat while standing at the counter. Just take your ticket from the machine and place your order, usually a plate of soba costs between 500 to 1500 yen.

We can not forget to enjoy this delight with the famous practice of making noise by sucking pasta, this helps to strengthen the flavor and not burn your mouth. The broth is drunk directly from the bowl, eliminating the need for a spoon.

Soba can also be served cold (zaru soba) alone accompanied with a dip sauce. It is recommended to mix some of the green onions and wasabi in the dipping sauce. Then take a few strands of pasta soak and eat.

Soba - curiosities about Japanese noodles

Different types of Soba

Soba is as popular as ramen and udon. It can be served in different ways and with different ingredients providing an infinite variety. The soba can be served separately as in a kind and soup.

We can start by quoting the zarusoba which consists of cold pasta that comes alone and should be dipped in a sauce during the meal. The hot version without any accompaniment is called kakesoba, and comes already dipped in a soup with ingredients similar to that of the cold dipping sauce.

Some end up taking the name of their main ingredient. When he is accompanied with tenpura it is called tenpurasoba, another example is the sansaisoba, which is served with sansai, which are cooked wild vegetables. Others have names of animals or elements that have a strong influence on Japanese religion. Let's see some of that below:

Soba - curiosities about Japanese noodles

Main types of soba

  • Kitsunesoba [狐そば] - It comes with pieces of aburaage (thin leaves of fried tofu);
  • Tanukisoba [たぬきそば] - Usually comes with crunchy pieces of fried tenpura dough;
  • Nanbansoba [南蛮そば] - The word nanban refers to the broth that has leeks; 
    • Nanban kare - Curry noodles;
    • Kamo nanban - Duck meat;
  • Ten zaru [てんざる] - Cold accompanied by tenpura in a separate dish;
  • Bukkakesoba [ぶっかけそば] - Cold served with broth over the dough;
  • Morisoba [盛り蕎麦] - A cold soba that is served on a woven bamboo plate;
  • Sansai Soba [山菜蕎麦] - Soba with wild mountain vegetables, this soba is very healthy and has few calories;
  • Tsukimi Soba [月見蕎麦] - Soba with the addition of raw egg with red yolk resembling a full moon;
  • Tororo Soba [とろろ蕎麦] - A Soba with a yam-like coating with a sticky texture;
  • Niku Soba [肉蕎麦] - Soba with pork or beef topping, looking like a lamen;
  • Kare Soba [カレ蕎麦] - Soba with kare sauce and usually a tonkatsu;
  • Kamo Soba [鴨蕎麦] - A soba with sliced duck meat;
  • Nameko Soba [なめこ蕎麦] - Soba with sauces containing Nameko mushrooms and other types of mushrooms;

Remember that the pasta can accompany other ingredients not mentioned and can have cold versions. There are several regional dishes and types of this Japanese noodle. 

Some restaurants complete your bowl again until you are satisfied. Soba is part of the daily life of all Japanese people, I ate it myself every day. Is that you? Ever experienced? We appreciate comments and shares.

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