They are traditionally served two ways: chilled, (as a salad), or in a hot broth (soup).
I am already accustomed to eating whole wheat pasta, so the soba noodles are quite flavorful, and a bit softer in texture- when comparing with the whole wheat pasta. If you are one that is on a "Gluten-free" diet, than you need to make sure that the soba noodles you purchase are 100% BUCKWHEAT, as some, (like the brand I purchased), are mixed with wheat flour. This is really a simple soup to throw together, and you can delete, or add, whatever you want to! It's a lovely broth-based soup- which makes it cleansing and light. The flavor is bursting with sesame, garlic, ginger, mushroom, and soy sauce! I added in some carrot for color, as well as some scallions and fresh spinach at the end for that "pop" of green, as well as added health benefits. To truly add the Japanese components, I would've liked to add shiitake mushrooms and some bok choy, but neither of these items were available in my area, so I substituted! If you are vegetarian, simply use a vegetable broth, and omit the meat! I chose to add the beef to mine because this was consumed for our dinner, and my husband needs to have some "meat" in his meals! This is an excellent soup to have on a busy night, (takes 30 minutes OR LESS to make!), it's low in calories, very healthy, and has some great anti-inflammatory properties- thanks to the ginger and garlic.
Yield: 6 servings
1 large carrot (peeled and chopped)
3 cloves of garlic (minced)
2 oz. sliced mushrooms ****Shiitake, button, baby bellla, or any variety works!
2 t. grated fresh ginger
1 # of beef (sliced or chopped sirloin) **no large pieces! Make sure they are cut into smaller strips or pieces
48 oz. of beef broth (or vegetable broth)
1/4 cup of Soy Sauce
2 chopped scallions ****reserve the green tips for garnishing
1/2 cup of fresh spinach leaves (cleaned & sliced chiffonade) ***could also use Bok choy or Nori
1- 12oz. package of Soba noodles
1) In a medium pot, fill 3/4 of the way with water, sprinkle in some salt, and place on high heat to bring to a boil.
2) In a 4 quart pot, place on medium/ high heat, and put in a few dashes of sesame oil to heat. When the pot is nice and hot, place the carrot, garlic, mushrooms, and ginger in the oil, and saute for about 2 min. Add the beef, and continue to cook until the beef is mostly cooked, (about 5-10min.) ***Note: it's important not to use "beef stew" pieces for a soup like this, as this cooks much faster- and you don't want large chunks of tough meat!
Add the full 48 oz. of broth, the soy sauce, and the chopped white ends of the scallions. Bring this to a simmer, and turn the heat down to low.
***If adding bok choy or nori, add to the soup after adding the broth, soy, and scallions.
3) Place your soba noodles in the other pot of boiling water, and simply cook for about 4min. Drain the noodles, rinse in cold water, add a few dashes of sesame oil, and lightly toss to coat. (This adds flavor, as well as keeps them from sticking together!)
4) To serve the soup: place some noodles in each bowl, ladle the hot soup over top of the noodles, and garnish with the green scallions and fresh spinach. Chopsticks are traditionally used to eat Soba noodles, but use a spoon or spork if you feel more comfortable. So delicious, and makes excellent leftovers as well!