One of my favorite Japanese food items is soba. The pure simplicity of these thin buckwheat noodles is incredible. Soba can be eaten in soup or more typically, served cold and dipped in sauce.
Soba can be found in most Asian markets and some organic groceries. There is a precision involved in cooking soba to maintain the chewy texture and unique flavor. Boil a pot of water, then add the dried soba noodles, fanning them out as you place them in the water. Lower the heat so the water is simmering rather than a rolling boil. Stir the noodles every so often with a pair of chopsticks. Cook the noodles for five to seven minutes. Place a colander in the sink and drain the noodles. Return the noodles to the pot and fill with cold, running water. Washing the noodles under the water until the water in the pot runs clear. This washing process removes the excess starch from the soba.
To serve the soba, arrange the noodles on a plate in small bundles. Pour pre-made soba dipping sauce, or soba tsuyu, into small bowls. This can be found at Asian markets or made from scratch using bonito flakes, kombu seaweed, mirin and soy sauce. I recommend locating the packaged variety. Serve the dipping sauce with various condiments, such as chopped green onions, grated fresh ginger and toasted sesame seeds, which can be added to the soba tsuyu. Briefly dip each bundle of soba noodles into the sauce and eat immediately. The delicate flavor of the soba and the fresh taste of the sauce and condiments provide a light and satisfying meal.