How to Make Soba Noodles

Lessons for a novice, from a soba chef

Cool, slippery soba noodles dipped in a delicate sauce - the perfect summer food for a hot and steamy Shanghai day.  Now I know buckwheat soba noodles are Japanese, not Chinese, but I'm living in a pretty international city here, with friends from every part of the world. Yesterday my youngest daughter was invited to a soba-making birthday party for a seven year old Japanese boy. I can't imagine any seven year old Australian boys volunteering to learn the art of soba for a birthday party, but I'm all for it.  

Making my own noodles is something I would never have attempted two years ago, but now I think, why not? How hard can it be? Apparently very difficult if you want to be a Japanese soba master, but for the average noodle lover, like me, the aim is to make something edible vaguely resembling noodles, see the techniques in action, and subsequently learn to respect the noodle art of the true masters. Was I the only mother at the party more interested in soba-making than the kids? Possibly. But at least someone was paying attention..

Soba noodle making requires nothing more than buckwheat flour, wheat flour, water, a rolling pin, and a really, really huge knife. If a seven year old can make soba, I guarantee you can too.

For a more technical approach, try this soba tutorial.

For a lovely account of meeting a soba master, and some more home-cooking tips, I really enjoyed reading Betty Hallock's LA Times story, Making Soba Noodles the Easy Way.

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