The World of Soba; As Serene and Deep as Zen
The food called soba (buckwheat noodles) is somewhat stoic and has a deepness that resonates with the philosophy of zen. There are high skills required of the chef in order to highlight the fragrance of soba, to perfect the texture of the ingredient and the sensation as it goes down the throat. There are some culinary professionals who close their stores in Tokyo and relocate to regional districts in search of the perfect water to knead into their soba. This shows how deep the Japanese dish, soba is. Photo: tabelog.com
The Effects of Soba
Soba is a traditional Japanese food that is getting increased attention globally as a result of the health food trend for it being gluten free.
Soba contains a lot of rutin polyphenol which prevents the memory retaining cells in the brain from deteriorating. It is also known for its effects of helping to cleanse the blood, and prevention of a heart disease, arthroscleroses, and other adult onset diseases.
Additionally, it contains amino acid, vitamins B1 and B2, folic acid and is high in anti oxidants so some believe it to be effective for beauty and anti-aging and call it a superfood.
Types of Soba
The Sarashina Soba of Souhonke Sarasina Horii Honten, tabelog.com
The Inaka Soba of Okina, tabelog.com
- Juwari Soba, Towari Soba/ Kikouchi Soba: Soba made of 100% buckwheat; it is gluten free.
- Ni Hachi Soba: It is soba kneaded with 8 parts buckwheat and 2 parts flour.
- Sarashina Soba: It is the fine white soba mad of ichibanko, the finest starch that does not include buckwheat chaff.
- Inaka Soba: The thick, blackish soba that includes buckwheat chaff.
Broadly categorized, there are two types of soba; the “cold soba” and “warm soba” that comes in a hot broth. There are those who say that the cold soba that is not served in broth (called mori or seiro) is the best way to enjoy the aroma and texture of soba.
*Mori and Seiro: The simple cold style of eating soba without any toppings.
Kamo Nanban Soba, ja.wikipedia.org
Other than the differences in the temperature it is served, soba has a variety of dishes by changing the toppings or its seasonings. For example, there is the zaru soba (mori or seiro soba topped with seaweed), tempura soba, kaki-age (type of tempura with mixed ingredients) soba, kamo seiro (cold type of soba with duck), kamo nanban (warm noodles with duck and leek), curry soba and much more.
As for tips on eating, in order to taste the flavors of the soba, it is best not to seep the noodles in broth for too long. The Edo style soba uses broth that is stronger in flavor, and it is seasoned so that it tastes just right when you dip the very end of the noodles into the broth.