Originating from Japan, soba noodles are made with buckwheat flour. According to Wikipedia, because buckwheat easily falls apart when boiled, soba noodles often contain binders, usually wheat flour, but must contain at least 30% buckwheat flour to pass Japanese government standards.
I’ve bought soba noodles in the past, made some mistakes with the preparation, and wouldn’t have bought them again out of sheer frustration had I not seen Nigella Lawson make a cold soba noodle dish on her TV show. I had forgotten the recipe, decided I could just search the web for a good one, then found an article over Slashfood detailing Nigella’s recipe and saying it is in her book, Forever Summer. Funny, really, because I’ve had that book for months and never saw the recipe. But then again, that may be because I haven’t read the book in its entirety because I have issues with Nigella’s style of writing.
This is the recipe as it appears in Nigella’s Forever Summer although I have changed the amounts of the ingredients because it was meant to be a meal for one me. I also changed the proportions of some of the ingredients to suit my taste.
Boil about 4 cups of water. Drop 100 grams of soba noodles into the boiling water and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain the cooked noodles, plunge them into ice water, and drain again. Set aside. Take about 2 tablespoonfuls of sesame seeds (add or subtract according to your preferences) and toast in a frying pan. until nicely browned. Transfer to a plate (it will continue cooking if left in the hot pan even after the heat has been turned off) and set aside. Finely slice some onion leaves.
In a bowl, mix 1 tablespoonful of rice vinegar, light soy sauce (I used Kikkoman), and honey. Stir in a dash of sesame seed oil. Add the noodles, sesame seeds, and onion leaves and toss until well blended. The cold soba noodles may be eaten right away or after a few hours which should allow the noodles to soak up the flavors of the sauce.