1. Soba Noodles
Made with wheat, Washington buckwheat, and water, but no salt. Kneaded, rolled, and cut by hand, an art Soma studied in Tokyo. They’re boiled for one minute in water (again, no salt), then washed in cold water and shocked in an ice bath.
2. Dipping Sauce
Dashi (a common Japanese cooking stock made with bonito, seaweed, and dried shiitake mushrooms) is mixed with kaeshi (soy sauce aged for a few days with the Japanese rice wine condiment mirin and sugar for a complex, less salty taste). Together, “It’s a basic broth for soba.”
3. Duck Meatball
Chopped meat from a whole duck mixed with chicken breast, egg, ginger, and yuzu kosho, a citrusy seasoning of fermented chili peppers, yuzu peel, and salt.
Toward the end of the meal, servers pour a pot of cloudy cooking water from the soba into the dipping sauce to transform it into a soup. According to Soma, vitamins and minerals from the buckwheat leech into the water and can aid in everything from digestion to liver function. “And we don’t use any salt so it’s very good for you.”
An herb similar to parsley, with an herbal, almost celeriac flavor. Used for garnish.
5. Duck Breast
Seared Muscovy duck breast from Grimaud Farms in the San Joaquin Valley. “I use only the female for this dish. The male has more fat and its breast is bigger.”
Sauteed in duck fat. “It’s duck fat. It tastes better than butter.”
Published: September 2013