Japanese cuisine is home to many recipes that feature different kinds of noodles, such as soba noodles. Their first recorded mention was in a book published in 1796. The first soba restaurant opened in that century, too.
The Japanese have such high regard for soba noodles that they often eat them during the New Year to bring good fortune and a longer life. When they move into a new home, their new neighbors welcome them into the area by giving them noodles. If you are fascinated by soba noodles and want to learn how to make them at home, continue reading this article.
What Are Soba Noodles?
Soba noodles are made of buckwheat flour and possess a strong and nutty flavor. In some cases, however, wheat flour is added during the noodle-making process to allow the dough to hold together and deliver some elasticity once it’s rolled. Two common types of soba noodles include: ,
- Juwari soba: This traditional soba noodle is made with 100 percent buckwheat flour, and has a dry and rough texture and strong buckwheat aroma. A caveat of Juwari soba is its tendency to break easily.
- Ni-hachi or Hachi-wari soba: This is made by mixing around 80 percent buckwheat flour and 20 percent wheat flour. These noodles are smooth and have an al dente texture. Although they don’t have a buckwheat aroma, they are easier to cook, swallow and chew.
The noodles’ price can increase depending on the amount of buckwheat flour in the product. Traditionally, soba noodles are served cold alongside a dipping sauce, added to salads, soups or stir-fries, or paired with tempura.
Avoid confusing soba with other noodle dishes with the name “soba,” such as yakisoba, chukasoba or Okinawa soba. If you cannot find soba noodles at your supermarket, good substitutes include whole wheat or buckwheat spaghetti. , Better yet, you can prepare your own noodles at home.
Are Soba Noodles Gluten-Free?
Pure buckwheat soba noodles are considered gluten-free. However, check the ingredients list first, since some manufacturers add wheat flour to the noodles. These wheat flour-containing noodles must be avoided if you follow a gluten-free diet.
How to Make Soba Noodles
The lack of gluten in buckwheat flour can make it difficult for home cooks to create their own soba noodles at home. Professional soba makers were trained for many years, and some use special equipment that may not be found in most home kitchens.
Sobakoh, the buckwheat flour typically used to make soba noodles, must be specially grown, harvested and milled, and not all buckwheat flours may work for the noodle-making process. However, there are good brands of buckwheat flour you can find in the U.S., usually available in Asian and Japanese markets. You can try this recipe for soba noodles by Saveur magazine, but take note this isn’t gluten-free since it uses all-purpose flour:
How to Make Traditional Soba Noodles
2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) light buckwheat flour (not whole-grain)
This recipe makes 1 pound of soba noodles
Soba noodles must be cooked and eaten as soon as possible. If you wish to store them, move them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cover the noodles with plastic wrap. They will keep for around three days in the refrigerator. You can also freeze raw soba noodles for up to three months, but defrost them in your refrigerator before cooking them.
How to Cook Soba Noodles
How to Cook Soba Noodles on the Stovetop
Sliced soba noodles
Try These Soba Noodle Recipes at Home
Zaru Soba is arguably the most “authentic” way to prepare these noodles. This recipe showcases cold soba noodles served on a bamboo basket called zaru, alongside a dipping sauce and other toppings. You can also incorporate soba noodles into a salad, just like in vegan soba noodle recipe from Food and Wine magazine. This recipe is great for sharing and can be served at parties and special occasions:
Cold Soba Salad With Dried Shiitake Dressing Recipe
1/2 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms
This recipe makes 20 servings.
Green Miso Soup With Soba Recipe
1 3x5-inch piece kombu
This recipe makes 4 servings.
Soba With Mushrooms and Crumbled Hazelnuts
1 small leek
This recipe makes 4 servings.
Soba Noodles Nutrition Facts
Although soba noodles are versatile, their nutrition content isn’t very remarkable. A cup of cooked soba noodles (114 grams) has roughly 113 calories and 24.44 grams of carbohydrates. While it does contain minerals like magnesium, calcium, potassium and sodium, these are in very small amounts. Refer to this nutrition facts table for more information:
Shirataki Noodles: A Healthier Noodle Option You Can Try
Unless you're making or cooking with soba noodles made from pure buckwheat flour, you may want to look for other alternatives. Some soba noodles are made with wheat flours that contain gluten, and are not recommended for people who follow a gluten-free diet. Why not give shirataki noodles a try instead? Also called miracle or konjac noodles, these long, white and translucent noodles are made from a fiber called glucomannan that’s derived from the root of the konjac plant.
Shirataki noodles are low in net carbohydrates and contain zero calories, but are high in nutritional value. Glucomannan, a type of fiber found in these noodles, is responsible for health benefits like:
- Helping nourish healthy gut bacteria
- Promoting satiety and possibly weight loss
- Assisting with lowering blood sugar and insulin levels
- Promoting constipation relief and improved bowel movements
- Helping reduce cholesterol levels
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Soba Noodles
Q: Are soba and udon noodles the same?
A: No, they’re not. Udon noodles have a milder flavor, are denser and thicker, and are made by combining wheat flour, salt and water. They can be purchased either dried, fresh or frozen. You often see them in noodle soups paired with a light broth, added to a stir-fry or served cold with a dipping sauce.
Meanwhile, soba noodles are made with buckwheat flour, or sometimes a combination of buckwheat and wheat flour. These are thinner, are light to dark brown-gray and possess a “nutty” flavor. Usually, soba noodles are sold dried. These are typically served chilled in salads or paired with a dipping sauce, although some people add these to noodle soups or stir-fry too.
Q: Are soba noodles healthy?
A: Buckwheat soba noodles are considered fat- and cholesterol-free. Canadian researchers have discovered that buckwheat itself may be helpful in managing diabetes, while an animal study showed that a buckwheat-based diet promoted a prebiotic effect on the body.
However, while people trying to follow a gluten-free diet may benefit from eating pure buckwheat soba noodles, it’s not something you should be consuming on a frequent basis. Soba noodles are starch-based and contain carbohydrates that may trigger negative changes to your body. Furthermore, these noodles have very little quantities of nutrients.
Q: Are soba noodles low in carbs?
Q: Do soba noodles have egg in them?
A: No. Traditional recipes for soba noodles call for buckwheat flour, which sometimes may be mixed with wheat flour and water. No other ingredients are used in the noodle-making process.
Q: Are soba noodles vegan?
A: Soba noodles can be vegan because they are only made with flour and water. However, when buying packaged soba noodles, make it a point to look at the ingredients list to check for animal-based products.
Q: Where can you buy soba noodles?
Source: mercola rss