One important thing to know about soba noodles:
Although soba are made primarily of buckwheat, a gluten-free product, most soba also contain some sort of a binder -- sometimes yam, sometimes wheat. The buckwheat makes the noodles chewy and earthy, but noodles made only from buckwheat and water are incredibly delicate; the added wheat helps them hold together. Fortunately, all products sold in the US are required to have ingredient labels in English (thank goodness; sometimes it's really hard to identify foods packaged in other languages if you're a unilingual English speaker like me), so be sure to read carefully if you are eating gluten-free. Soba are one of the few noodles traditionally eaten cold, with a cold soy-based dipping sauce, though they also are delicious hot (especially in soup).
Cooking or baking?
Dried noodles will keep in the cupboard for years. Buckwheat's high oil content can cause the noodles to go rancid, so if there's a sell-by date on the package, take note. Buy from an Asian market with high turnover.
Cold soba salad with peppers and ponzu dressing
Serves 2; can be doubled.
6 oz soba
2 Tbsp ponzu
2 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 tsp honey, agave nectar, or sugar
1/2 cup diced bell peppers (a mix of colors)
2 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1/2 tsp black sesame seeds
In a large sauce pan or stock pot, bring two quarts of water to the boil. Add the noodles, and when the water returns to the boil, lower heat to simmer and cook for 6-7 minutes, or until the noodles are cooked through. Drain, and rinse under cold water. Drain again. Place in a mixing bowl.
In a small bowl, stir together the ponzu, soy sauce, lime juice and honey or agave (or sugar). Add this dressing to the noodles, along with the peppers, scallions and sesame seeds. Toss gently to combine.
Serve at room temperature, or chill for several hours and serve very cold.
Other recipes that use soba noodles:
Garlic soba noodles, from 101 Cookbooks
Spicy soba noodles with shiitakes, from Smitten Kitchen
Soba noodles with kale, radishes and scallions, from Tea & Cookies
Tofu and soba noodles with lemon ginger dressing, from Steamy Kitchen
Ginger beef soba noodle soup, from Eliza Domestica
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