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Thread: A Buckwheat Soba Experiment

  1. #1
    Mark Thorson Guest

    Default A Buckwheat Soba Experiment

    When I get a moment, I'm planning on a series of
    experiments to develop a new buckwheat soba recipe,
    this one to be optimized for something I can bring
    to a potluck -- i.e. unlike my normal recipe, which
    is really messy to eat. This would be more like a
    cold noodle salad, but made using materials available
    on my planet.

    Noodles would be my favorite buckwheat soba, boiled
    as per package directions, then cooled in cold water
    and ultimately chilled in ice water, before draining
    and serving.

    The garnish would be Enoki mushrooms and rehydrated
    wood ear, the latter julienned. Not really a garnish,
    because they're meant to be eaten with the noodles.

    The sauce would be a reduction of simmering ginger,
    soy sauce, and fresh Shiitake mushrooms. After
    reduction, a little seasoned rice vinegar would be
    added (the type which has added sugar). Vinegar
    is not added early because that would cook off the
    acetic acid. Seasoned vinegar rather than straight
    pure rice vinegar because this needs a little sugar.
    Maybe I'll get the straight stuff, and add some
    superfine sugar myself, but for this first experiment
    I'll probably go with the seasoned vinegar.

    Open for consideration is adding sliced okra to the
    sauce to make it thicker. Of course, all solids
    will be strained out after either reduction or
    simmering. Okra would also add a vegetable note,
    which would make the flavor more rounded.

    I think this is enough elements. I'm not tempted
    to add carrots or onion or anything like that.
    Black pepper or cardamom or cinnamon are tempting,
    though probably not on a first shot. I've got enough
    variables to optimize. I don't want it to be too
    complex, which is a common fault. I also don't want
    to have to filter the sauce through a coffee filter
    or something, though that may actually happen.

    Nevertheless, I'd be interested in hearing comments
    on this plan. Experiments will begin on Friday,
    so all comments must be posted by then. Early
    Friday, if it requires buying anything I don't got.

  2. #2
    Steve Pope Guest

    Default Re: A Buckwheat Soba Experiment

    Mark Thorson <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Nevertheless, I'd be interested in hearing comments
    >on this plan. Experiments will begin on Friday,
    >so all comments must be posted by then. Early
    >Friday, if it requires buying anything I don't got.


    It sounds like a great plan. I usually add other
    ingredients to soba -- while in Hawaii last week, we
    added eggplant and tofu to a two-day batch of soba, and
    on the second day fried some opah to place on top.

    In your preparation I would consider wasabi, and/or sesame
    oil. It sounds like you're going for a side dish and
    don't want a protein ingredient.

    Steve

  3. #3
    Mark Thorson Guest

    Default Re: A Buckwheat Soba Experiment

    Steve Pope wrote:
    >
    > Mark Thorson <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > >Nevertheless, I'd be interested in hearing comments
    > >on this plan. Experiments will begin on Friday,
    > >so all comments must be posted by then. Early
    > >Friday, if it requires buying anything I don't got.

    >
    > It sounds like a great plan. I usually add other
    > ingredients to soba -- while in Hawaii last week, we
    > added eggplant and tofu to a two-day batch of soba, and
    > on the second day fried some opah to place on top.


    Eggplant is not an unreasonable suggestion -- it's
    a good substrate for absorbing a sauce -- but it's
    a different texture than I was aiming for. The main
    texture ingredients are the soba, Enoki mushrooms,
    and the rehydrated, julienned wood ear. If I were
    to add another texture element, I think it would be
    along those lines. Like bean sprouts.

    Tofu gives me terrible headaches. Ever since I discovered
    that, no more tofu or concentrated bean protein like
    Boca burgers for me.

    > In your preparation I would consider wasabi, and/or sesame
    > oil. It sounds like you're going for a side dish and
    > don't want a protein ingredient.


    I'm trying to keep it vegan, or at least vegetarian.

    Wasabi and sesame oil come from the same cultural
    tradition, and they are often used with some of the
    ingredients I'm planning in other contexts, but I
    think they would add more complexity than I'm looking
    for. That's why I'm tending toward rejecting black
    pepper and cinnamon. One of the experiments I'm
    planning is to compare the sauce with and without
    okra. If I were to subtract one thing from the plan,
    I think it would be the vegetable flavor contribution
    from the okra.

  4. #4
    Steve Pope Guest

    Default Re: A Buckwheat Soba Experiment

    Are you avoiding ALL bean products? Black beans,
    in the right fraction, mixed with vinegar and sambal
    (your choice of heat level), then stirred into
    the soba works nice.

    May overwhelm what you're trying to do with the
    mushrooms, or it may go with it. Not certain.

    Steve

  5. #5
    Dimitri Guest

    Default Re: A Buckwheat Soba Experiment


    "Mark Thorson" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]..
    > When I get a moment, I'm planning on a series of
    > experiments to develop a new buckwheat soba recipe,
    > this one to be optimized for something I can bring
    > to a potluck -- i.e. unlike my normal recipe, which
    > is really messy to eat. This would be more like a
    > cold noodle salad, but made using materials available
    > on my planet.
    >
    > Noodles would be my favorite buckwheat soba, boiled
    > as per package directions, then cooled in cold water
    > and ultimately chilled in ice water, before draining
    > and serving.
    >
    > The garnish would be Enoki mushrooms and rehydrated
    > wood ear, the latter julienned. Not really a garnish,
    > because they're meant to be eaten with the noodles.
    >
    > The sauce would be a reduction of simmering ginger,
    > soy sauce, and fresh Shiitake mushrooms. After
    > reduction, a little seasoned rice vinegar would be
    > added (the type which has added sugar). Vinegar
    > is not added early because that would cook off the
    > acetic acid. Seasoned vinegar rather than straight
    > pure rice vinegar because this needs a little sugar.
    > Maybe I'll get the straight stuff, and add some
    > superfine sugar myself, but for this first experiment
    > I'll probably go with the seasoned vinegar.
    >
    > Open for consideration is adding sliced okra to the
    > sauce to make it thicker. Of course, all solids
    > will be strained out after either reduction or
    > simmering. Okra would also add a vegetable note,
    > which would make the flavor more rounded.
    >
    > I think this is enough elements. I'm not tempted
    > to add carrots or onion or anything like that.
    > Black pepper or cardamom or cinnamon are tempting,
    > though probably not on a first shot. I've got enough
    > variables to optimize. I don't want it to be too
    > complex, which is a common fault. I also don't want
    > to have to filter the sauce through a coffee filter
    > or something, though that may actually happen.
    >
    > Nevertheless, I'd be interested in hearing comments
    > on this plan. Experiments will begin on Friday,
    > so all comments must be posted by then. Early
    > Friday, if it requires buying anything I don't got.


    IMHO - Soba are Japanese noodle - ergo it seems to me to be impossible to
    improve upon a "soba set"

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/savoten/3878913630/

    and

    http://www.justhungry.com/basics-col...-dipping-sauce

    I don't know what it is but the flavors of the normal sauce and the cold
    noodles are made for each other.


    --
    Dimitri
    Coming soon:
    http://kitchenguide.wordpress.com.



  6. #6
    Mark Thorson Guest

    Default Re: A Buckwheat Soba Experiment

    Steve Pope wrote:
    >
    > Are you avoiding ALL bean products? Black beans,
    > in the right fraction, mixed with vinegar and sambal
    > (your choice of heat level), then stirred into
    > the soba works nice.
    >
    > May overwhelm what you're trying to do with the
    > mushrooms, or it may go with it. Not certain.


    A few beans are okay. Black beans are a good suggestion.
    I don't like black beans myself, but they might go well
    with both the flavors and textures I have in mind.
    I'll have to think about that one, maybe try it out.

  7. #7
    Mark Thorson Guest

    Default Re: A Buckwheat Soba Experiment

    Dimitri wrote:
    >
    > IMHO - Soba are Japanese noodle - ergo it seems to me to be impossible to
    > improve upon a "soba set"
    >
    > http://www.flickr.com/photos/savoten/3878913630/
    >
    > and
    >
    > http://www.justhungry.com/basics-col...-dipping-sauce
    >
    > I don't know what it is but the flavors of the normal sauce and the cold
    > noodles are made for each other.


    Yes, that's the traditional way of doing it.
    I want to invent something new.

  8. #8
    Dimitri Guest

    Default Re: A Buckwheat Soba Experiment


    "Mark Thorson" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]..
    > Dimitri wrote:
    >>
    >> IMHO - Soba are Japanese noodle - ergo it seems to me to be impossible to
    >> improve upon a "soba set"
    >>
    >> http://www.flickr.com/photos/savoten/3878913630/
    >>
    >> and
    >>
    >> http://www.justhungry.com/basics-col...-dipping-sauce
    >>
    >> I don't know what it is but the flavors of the normal sauce and the cold
    >> noodles are made for each other.

    >
    > Yes, that's the traditional way of doing it.
    > I want to invent something new.


    Then how about a little sesame oil added to the dipping sauce/dressing?
    I would also think about a Julianne of either/or/and pickled ginger, daikon,
    nori or the pickled shallots normally served with Japanese curry. Crushed
    crunchy ramen may also work

    This of course if you're trying to keep a Japanese theme.


    --
    Dimitri
    Coming soon:
    http://kitchenguide.wordpress.com.



  9. #9
    aem Guest

    Default Re: A Buckwheat Soba Experiment

    On Oct 1, 7:58 am, "Dimitri" <Dimitr...@prodigy.net> wrote:
    > "Mark Thorson" <nos...@sonic.net> wrote in message
    >
    > news:[email protected]..
    >
    >
    >
    > > When I get a moment, I'm planning on a series of
    > > experiments to develop a new buckwheat soba recipe,
    > > this one to be optimized for something I can bring
    > > to a potluck -- i.e. unlike my normal recipe, which
    > > is really messy to eat. This would be more like a
    > > cold noodle salad, but made using materials available
    > > on my planet.

    >
    > > Noodles would be my favorite buckwheat soba, boiled
    > > as per package directions, then cooled in cold water
    > > and ultimately chilled in ice water, before draining
    > > and serving.

    >
    > > The garnish would be Enoki mushrooms and rehydrated
    > > wood ear, the latter julienned. Not really a garnish,
    > > because they're meant to be eaten with the noodles.

    >
    > > The sauce would be a reduction of simmering ginger,
    > > soy sauce, and fresh Shiitake mushrooms. After
    > > reduction, a little seasoned rice vinegar would be
    > > added (the type which has added sugar). Vinegar
    > > is not added early because that would cook off the
    > > acetic acid. Seasoned vinegar rather than straight
    > > pure rice vinegar because this needs a little sugar.
    > > Maybe I'll get the straight stuff, and add some
    > > superfine sugar myself, but for this first experiment
    > > I'll probably go with the seasoned vinegar.

    >
    > > Open for consideration is adding sliced okra to the
    > > sauce to make it thicker. Of course, all solids
    > > will be strained out after either reduction or
    > > simmering. Okra would also add a vegetable note,
    > > which would make the flavor more rounded.

    >
    > > I think this is enough elements. I'm not tempted
    > > to add carrots or onion or anything like that.
    > > Black pepper or cardamom or cinnamon are tempting,
    > > though probably not on a first shot. I've got enough
    > > variables to optimize. I don't want it to be too
    > > complex, which is a common fault. I also don't want
    > > to have to filter the sauce through a coffee filter
    > > or something, though that may actually happen.

    >
    > > Nevertheless, I'd be interested in hearing comments
    > > on this plan. Experiments will begin on Friday,
    > > so all comments must be posted by then. Early
    > > Friday, if it requires buying anything I don't got.

    >
    > IMHO - Soba are Japanese noodle - ergo it seems to me to be impossible to
    > improve upon a "soba set"
    >
    > http://www.flickr.com/photos/savoten/3878913630/
    >
    > and
    >
    > http://www.justhungry.com/basics-col...-dipping-sauce
    >
    > I don't know what it is but the flavors of the normal sauce and the cold
    > noodles are made for each other.


    I agree that the traditional Japanese combo is tough to beat. The
    'justhungry' link doesn't work for me. Here is Mark Bittman's take on
    the tradition, from his international cookbook:
    -------------
    Cold Soba Noodles With Dipping Sauce

    Yield 2 main course or 4 smaller servings

    Time 30 minutes

    Mark Bittman
    Summary

    Dashi is a brilliant concoction based on kelp, a seaweed and dried
    bonito flakes. It is also among the fastest and easiest stocks you can
    make, and its two main ingredients -- which you can buy in any store
    specializing in Asian foods -- keep indefinitely in your pantry. I
    would encourage you to try making it, though you can also use chicken
    stock (or instant dashi, which is sold in the same stores).
    Ingredients

    * Salt
    * 1 cup dashi or chicken stock
    * 1/4 cup soy sauce
    * 2 tablespoons mirin or 1 tablespoon honey mixed with 1
    tablespoon water
    * 8 ounces soba noodles
    * Finely grated or minced ginger, minced scallions or toasted
    sesame seeds for garnish

    Method

    * 1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and salt it. Combine
    dashi or stock, soy sauce and mirin. Taste, and add a little more soy
    if the flavor is not strong enough.
    * 2. Cook noodles until tender but not mushy. Drain, and quickly
    rinse under cold running water until cold. Drain well. Serve noodles
    with garnishes, with sauce on side for dipping (or spooning over).
    -------------------
    As he says, the dashi is a major contributor. If Mark wants to invent
    something new, leaving out the dashi is already a big step. -aem



  10. #10
    Mark Thorson Guest

    Default Re: A Buckwheat Soba Experiment

    Dimitri wrote:
    >
    > Then how about a little sesame oil added to the dipping sauce/dressing?
    > I would also think about a Julianne of either/or/and pickled ginger, daikon,
    > nori or the pickled shallots normally served with Japanese curry. Crushed
    > crunchy ramen may also work
    >
    > This of course if you're trying to keep a Japanese theme.


    I'm hesitating on sesame oil because that's such a strong
    flavor. I think it would make the sauce too complex.

    Pickled ginger would be consistent with the flavor
    and texture of the other ingredients. I hadn't thought
    about that -- I might use it.

    Daikon is an excellent suggestion. It's subtle and has
    the right texture, so it would be consistent with the
    other ingredients. Unfortunately, it gives me gas like
    crazy, and I'd assume it does that to at least some other
    people. I'll think about that one.

    I thought about wakame, but that has a strong flavor that
    I think would bee too much.

  11. #11
    Jean B. Guest

    Default Re: A Buckwheat Soba Experiment

    aem wrote:

    > I agree that the traditional Japanese combo is tough to beat. The
    > 'justhungry' link doesn't work for me. Here is Mark Bittman's take on
    > the tradition, from his international cookbook:
    > -------------
    > Cold Soba Noodles With Dipping Sauce
    >
    > Yield 2 main course or 4 smaller servings
    >
    > Time 30 minutes
    >
    > Mark Bittman
    > Summary
    >
    > Dashi is a brilliant concoction based on kelp, a seaweed and dried
    > bonito flakes. It is also among the fastest and easiest stocks you can
    > make, and its two main ingredients -- which you can buy in any store
    > specializing in Asian foods -- keep indefinitely in your pantry. I
    > would encourage you to try making it, though you can also use chicken
    > stock (or instant dashi, which is sold in the same stores).
    > Ingredients
    >
    > * Salt
    > * 1 cup dashi or chicken stock
    > * 1/4 cup soy sauce
    > * 2 tablespoons mirin or 1 tablespoon honey mixed with 1
    > tablespoon water
    > * 8 ounces soba noodles
    > * Finely grated or minced ginger, minced scallions or toasted
    > sesame seeds for garnish
    >
    > Method
    >
    > * 1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and salt it. Combine
    > dashi or stock, soy sauce and mirin. Taste, and add a little more soy
    > if the flavor is not strong enough.
    > * 2. Cook noodles until tender but not mushy. Drain, and quickly
    > rinse under cold running water until cold. Drain well. Serve noodles
    > with garnishes, with sauce on side for dipping (or spooning over).
    > -------------------
    > As he says, the dashi is a major contributor. If Mark wants to invent
    > something new, leaving out the dashi is already a big step. -aem
    >
    >

    Saved. That looks great. I was thinking of dashi, sauce sauce,
    and mirin.

    --
    Jean B.

  12. #12
    Steve Pope Guest

    Default Re: A Buckwheat Soba Experiment

    Mark Thorson <[email protected]> wrote:

    >I'm hesitating on sesame oil because that's such a strong
    >flavor. I think it would make the sauce too complex.


    I think your instincts on this are correct -- by including
    sesame oil, the impression will be "soba with sesame oil"
    and it's going to be more difficult to layer more subtle
    flavors on top of it...

    S.

  13. #13
    Mark Thorson Guest

    Default Re: A Buckwheat Soba Experiment

    "Jean B." wrote:
    >
    > Saved. That looks great. I was thinking of dashi, sauce sauce,
    > and mirin.


    Ooh! Tell me more about "sauce sauce".
    It must be very saucy. :-)

  14. #14
    James Silverton Guest

    Default Re: A Buckwheat Soba Experiment

    aem wrote on Thu, 1 Oct 2009 11:14:37 -0700 (PDT):


    > Dashi is a brilliant concoction based on kelp, a seaweed and
    > dried bonito flakes. It is also among the fastest and easiest
    > stocks you can make, and its two main ingredients -- which you
    > can buy in any store specializing in Asian foods -- keep
    > indefinitely in your pantry. I would encourage you to try
    > making it, though you can also use chicken stock (or instant
    > dashi, which is sold in the same stores). Ingredients


    I have used prepared Japanese Hon Dashi for many years and never seen
    any need to make my own from scratch. I also use Japanese dried
    vegetable stock, again easily obtainable.

    --

    James Silverton
    Potomac, Maryland

    Email, with obvious alterations: not.jim.silverton.at.verizon.not


  15. #15
    aem Guest

    Default Re: A Buckwheat Soba Experiment

    On Oct 1, 7:00 pm, "James Silverton" <not.jim.silver...@verizon.net>
    wrote:
    > aem wrote on Thu, 1 Oct 2009 11:14:37 -0700 (PDT):
    >
    > > Dashi is a brilliant concoction based on kelp, a seaweed and
    > > dried bonito flakes. It is also among the fastest and easiest
    > > stocks you can make, and its two main ingredients -- which you
    > > can buy in any store specializing in Asian foods -- keep
    > > indefinitely in your pantry. I would encourage you to try
    > > making it, though you can also use chicken stock (or instant
    > > dashi, which is sold in the same stores). Ingredients

    >
    > I have used prepared Japanese Hon Dashi for many years and never seen
    > any need to make my own from scratch. I also use Japanese dried
    > vegetable stock, again easily obtainable.
    >

    Those are Bittman's words, but I agree with him for anyone with access
    to an Asian market. Dried kelp (kombu) and dried bonito flakes are
    inexpensive and keep in your cupboard. They are all you need to make
    dashi and it's easy and fast. You bring a couple of quarts of water
    almost to a boil with a piece of kombu, turn off the heat before it
    boils and remove the kombu. (Can be reserved for a stir fry or salad
    or munchie.) Add bonito flakes, sitir, let sit for a few minutes,
    strain. Done. Very nearly as fast as making the instant dashi, and
    to my taste, the flavor is livelier. -aem

  16. #16
    blake murphy Guest

    Default Re: A Buckwheat Soba Experiment

    On Thu, 1 Oct 2009 22:00:13 -0400, James Silverton wrote:

    > aem wrote on Thu, 1 Oct 2009 11:14:37 -0700 (PDT):
    >
    >> Dashi is a brilliant concoction based on kelp, a seaweed and
    >> dried bonito flakes. It is also among the fastest and easiest
    >> stocks you can make, and its two main ingredients -- which you
    >> can buy in any store specializing in Asian foods -- keep
    >> indefinitely in your pantry. I would encourage you to try
    >> making it, though you can also use chicken stock (or instant
    >> dashi, which is sold in the same stores). Ingredients

    >
    > I have used prepared Japanese Hon Dashi for many years and never seen
    > any need to make my own from scratch. I also use Japanese dried
    > vegetable stock, again easily obtainable.


    i have some ancient hon dashi in my refrigerator. is it still usable?

    your pal,
    blake

  17. #17
    James Silverton Guest

    Default Re: A Buckwheat Soba Experiment

    blake wrote on Fri, 2 Oct 2009 14:18:51 -0400:

    >> aem wrote on Thu, 1 Oct 2009 11:14:37 -0700 (PDT):
    >>
    >>> Dashi is a brilliant concoction based on kelp, a seaweed and
    >>> dried bonito flakes. It is also among the fastest and
    >>> easiest stocks you can make, and its two main ingredients --
    >>> which you can buy in any store specializing in Asian foods
    >>> -- keep indefinitely in your pantry. I would encourage you
    >>> to try making it, though you can also use chicken stock (or
    >>> instant dashi, which is sold in the same stores).
    >>> Ingredients

    >>
    >> I have used prepared Japanese Hon Dashi for many years and
    >> never seen any need to make my own from scratch. I also use
    >> Japanese dried vegetable stock, again easily obtainable.


    > i have some ancient hon dashi in my refrigerator. is it still
    > usable?


    I don't know how ancient but I once bought two jars by accident and the
    second was not used until a year had passed. The dried vegetable stock
    in the fridge is pretty old but still seems good.

    --

    James Silverton
    Potomac, Maryland

    Email, with obvious alterations: not.jim.silverton.at.verizon.not


  18. #18
    Jean B. Guest

    Default Re: A Buckwheat Soba Experiment

    Mark Thorson wrote:
    > "Jean B." wrote:
    >> Saved. That looks great. I was thinking of dashi, sauce sauce,
    >> and mirin.

    >
    > Ooh! Tell me more about "sauce sauce".
    > It must be very saucy. :-)


    Oooops. My typing is not great these days. I meant soy sauce, of
    course.
    --
    Jean B.

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