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Soba, gluten-free Japanese pasta: what it is and how to cook it


Soba is a type of pasta typical of Japan which, being made with buckwheat flour, is completely gluten-free.

Japanese cuisine has spread all over the world, and is particularly appreciated also in Italy. However, when we hear about Japanese cuisine, we immediately think of sushi, sashimi or ramen, ignoring the existence of many other delicious dishes . One of them is soba.

Originating from the prefecture of Nagano , a city located on the island of Honshu, soba is a variant of the pasta very popular in Japan. In today’s article we will find out more about what it is, where to buy it and how to cook it to enjoy it at its best.

Japanese soba, what it is and where to buy it

As mentioned above, soba is a variant of the pasta originating in Japan . The peculiarity of this recipe lies mainly in the wheat used. In fact, in its realization, buckwheat is used. Among the most important characteristics of this fake cereal we find the absence of gluten .

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This type of pasta, very similar to spaghetti, dates back to the Edo period, an era of Japanese history that falls in the period between 1603 and 1858. The importance of soba is given by the fact that it was a fundamental factor in defeating the beriberi epidemic . The pathology in question was caused by a deficiency of vitamin B1 , deficient in polished rice (one of the main foods of the Eastern diets) but present in buckwheat.

In Italy it is difficult to find soba. On the peninsula market mixed variants are more prevalent, with buckwheat and wheat, which are actually more similar to ramen, another variant of spaghetti originating in Japan. In any case, online , even on e-commerce accredited as Amazon, it is possible to find variants made only with buckwheat flour, therefore gluten-free.

Some recipes for Japanese spaghetti

Once you buy soba, you need to cook it . In the Japanese tradition there are several variations , most of which plan to consume it in broth . The temperature of the broth varies from season to season. In winter it is usually eaten hot , but it is in summer, when served cold or at room temperature , that soba expresses its best in terms of flavor.

The most popular variant is undoubtedly the zaru soba, which obviously includes a broth. Usually, the broth is enriched with Nori leaves, a seaweed very popular in Japanese cuisine, and a particular sauce. The latter, which is called tsuyu , is made by mixing satojoyu sauce (a variant of soy sauce with a sweeter taste), mirin (a fish broth) and dashi (a typical Japanese sake).

If you prefer to consume pasta without broth, you can try yaki soba, seasoned with onion sauté, julienne carrots , strips of cabbage and Nori and Otafuku sauce . The sea component will consist of shrimp . However, yaki soba is also divided into several variations. In some cases shrimp are replaced with pork chunks or with cuttlefish. Once cooked, it will then be possible to add spices and other seasonings.

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