restaurant quality soba noodles at home
so i'm on a crazy soba noodle kick. i almost feel like i've found the perfect food - satisfying, healthy, fun to eat,... i've been eating at soba restaurants nonstop for about a week now - lunch and dinner. i've tried to make it at home as well, but the noodles come out so dark and flat! from the grocery store, i've bought both cheap and expensive noodles and have tried undercooking and overcooking the noodles as well as following the package directions to the letter. why are the noodles from the restaurant plumper, lighter, and tastier? any particular brand recommendations/cooking directions? or let me know if it will never be the same (and why). the broth, by the way, is not a problem - the bottle from the store is perfect -- so if i can just get this noodle thing down... thx for the help!
While soba noodles are made from buckwheat, almost all of them have wheat flour as well. The higher the percentage of buckwheat the darker, heavier and stronger tasting the noodle. I like them that way, but then I apprenticed to a Japanese chef. My guess is that the restaurants you've been to have higher wheat percentages. Higher wheat means you can (certainly don't have to, but can) make a fatter noodle easier too. Heck -- I've been to restaurants that serve udon (all wheat) named as soba.
A lot of soba noodles also have yam added. Check what you've puchased. Try with and without.
My favorite soba is the "mugwort" soba noodle. Mugwort adds a green hue to the noodle, and I find this one quite delicious. You can usually find it at Whole Foods. I usually do a stir fry with burdock, green onions, fresh shitakes, carrots and dandelion greens. Sometime a little small cubed tofu. Season with tamari soy sauce and a few drops of dark toasted sesame oil. Sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds.