Delicate and earthy, handmade soba noodles are quick to prepare and an entirely different eating experience to the commercially produced variety. The earthiness is balanced out in this recipe with the addition of fresh cucumber, zingy pickled ginger, and other Japanese ingredients, such as tobiko and shiso.
- 300 g stone-ground buckwheat flour (see Note)
- 100 g plain flour
- 20 g green tea powder (see Note)
- cornflour, to dust
- 60 ml (¼ cup) soy sauce
- 60 ml (¼ cup) mirin
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp finely grated ginger
- 4 spring onions, finely sliced
- 100 g tobiko (see Note)
- 1 Lebanese cucumber, seeds removed, cut into matchsticks
- 2 tbsp pickled ginger, finely sliced
- finely sliced shiso (see Note), to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Combine the buckwheat flour, plain flour and green tea powder in a wide bowl and mix to combine. Add 80 ml (⅓ cup) of water and, using your finger tips, swirl water into the flour to moisten. Repeat with another 80 ml water and mix to incorporate. Add another 80 ml water in 2 batches, mixing until you have a soft but not sticky dough. Turn out onto a work surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth and the dough is uniformly moist. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball then flatten into a disc.
Dust a work surface with cornflour and, using a rolling pin roll, roll each disc into a 50 cm x 40 cm rectangle, 1.5 mm thick, dusting generously with cornflour to prevent sticking. Lightly dust the top of the dough then fold the short ends in to meet in the middle. Dust the top again with cornflour then fold one half from the centre over the top of the other half. Once again dust with cornflour. Transfer the dough to a chopping board and, using a very sharp knife, cut crossways into 2 mm-thick noodles.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a rapid boil. Combine soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil and ginger in small saucepan and bring to a simmer, remove from the heat. Cook the soba noodles in 2 batches for 1-1½ minutes. Immediately refresh in cold water then drain.
To serve, blanch noodles for 10 seconds in boiling water to reheat. Drain and toss with the soy sauce mixture, the spring onions and half the tobiko. Divide noodles between bowls, top with remaining tobiko, cucumber, pickled ginger and shiso leaf. Serve immediately.
• Buckwheat flour is available from health food stores.
• Green tea powder is available from tea stores, Japanese food stores and some Asian grocers.
• Tobiko is also known as flying fish roe and can be purchased fresh and frozen from select fishmongers.
• Shiso is also known as perilla, and is available from select Asian and Thai grocers. If unavailable substitute with finely sliced yakinori (dried seaweed sheets).
Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Jerrie-Joy Redman-Lloyd. Bowl from Dinosaur Designs. Tiles from Onsite Supply.