Only one percent of Japanese buckwheat is ground by individual soba makers and the skill required to make these noodles by hand truly makes soba a luxury food. So we leave the noodle-making to the soba shops and use dried soba for this dish, named for the baskets on which it’s served.
- 2½ qt. unsalted water
- 1 lb. dried soba noodles
- 4-5 cups cold water
- Dipping Sauce
- Wasabi (optional)
- Bring unsalted water to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add soba noodles, stir gently, and reduce heat to medium. Add 1 cup cold water and return to a boil. Repeat procedure, adding 3–4 more cups of cold water, until noodles are cooked through but still quite firm, about 8 minutes.
- Reserve 3 cups of the cooking water, then drain noodles in a colander and rinse under cold water. Divide noodles among individual baskets or plates and serve with small dishes of Dipping Sauce.
- First taste noodles plain, then dipped into sauce. Serve with wasabi if desired. After eating noodles, re-heat reserved cooking water, ladle into bowls, stir in any remaining dipping sauce, and drink as a soup.