Soba noodles are a traditional Japanese favorite composed mainly or purely of buckwheat flour.
The noodles are about the same thickness as spaghetti,but with about half the calories per ounce, more nutrients.
Despite the name, buckwheat is unrelated to wheat and contains no gluten.
Premium soba noodles are 100% buckwheat, but mixtures of buckwheat and wheat flour (typically in an 80%/20% ratio) are also common.
Soba noodles are traditionally served in both hot (served in broth to make a noodle soup) and cold (chilled, with a dipping sauce) dishes. In western cultures today, they are often substituted for pasta and served with tomato or pesto sauces.
Nutritional Benefits of Soba Noodles
Soba is a convenient way to enjoy the flavor and exceptional health benefit of buckwheat, a staple food for many centuries in China, Russia, and central Europe (where it is called kasha).
Pure buckwheat flour (from which 100% buckwheat soba noodles are made) is quite rich in proteins, which comprise 12-15% of the noodles caloric value and include all eight essential amino acids (including lysine).
Additionally, this type of soba contains antioxidants, choline, thiamine and riboflavin along with the essential minerals iron, phosphorus, and copper.
How Are Soba Noodles Made?
Whole buckwheat is stone ground into flour, and then mixed with water into dough. The dough is then rolled and pressed into thin sheets, cut, into strands, and air dried for several days before packaging.
We recommend the Eden Foods 100% Buckwheat Soba, available in many natural food stores.
It is critical that soba be prepared al dente, as the noodles are easily overcooked.
The easiest way to prepare soba noodles is to simply cook as with other pastas; cover with ample water, bring to a full boil, reduce heat and simmer to desired tenderness. Simmering for about 7- 8 minutes should be about right.
When the noodles are firm yet tender to the bite they are done. Be sure and rinse immediately in cold running water to halt the cooking process and prevent clumping.
Many delicious and easy soba noodle recipes can be found online, providing an almost endless variety of ways to prepare this wholesome low glycemic carbohydrate source.