New & Unique Ingredients: Treasure EmporiYUM
I just recently discovered some awesome, new-to-me products at Smith’s aka Kroger thanks to their Treasure EmporiYUM, a curated section of some of their most unique, hand-crafted items from their Simple Truth, Private Selection and Hemisfares brands. I am always scoping out the grocery aisles for the latest and the greatest, and I LOVE how now it’s all in one spot!
I learned about these interesting toppings for my sesame noodles there:
Now THIS is dinner!
“We’re also getting ready to sell our products overseas. Buckwheat noodles are healthy and easy to cook. I hope that soba one day gains popularity so that people can enjoy it in all of their various cultural contexts. ”.
As well as preserving the values of tradition and high quality that her ancestors passed on, Inaoka also has a few innovative ideas for soba and indeed for Honke Owariya. “I’m experimenting some different ways of cooking soba with my chef friends,” she says. “For instance, in Japan we eat pasta, but we cook it our own way, not only Italian style. I want to do the same with soba: we’re experimenting with things like olive oil, coriander and different spices.” Ariko Inaoka and her team pose in front of Honke Owariya The latest project she’s working on for the restaurant is all about sharing the culture of soba far and wide. “We’re working on a series of videos to show people how to make and cook soba,” she continues. “Right now, people cannot come to Japan, but what we can do is share stories. Hopefully, people will get inspired to learn more about Kyoto, and maybe visit one day.
Five portions of cold buckwheat noodles are served in horai (treasure) soba, the restaurant’s signature dish created by Honke Owariya. They come with eight toppings: shiitake mushrooms, shredded omelette, sesame seeds, shrimp tempura, wasabi, nori (dried seaweed), Japanese green onions, and grated daikon. They also come with dipping sauces and wasabi. According to Inaoka, you can eat the soba in this dish in the traditional manner or add toppings and dashi to customize each layer. “This way, you can enjoy all the different tastes. ”.
With Zen Buddhist temples multiplying in number and the demand for buckwheat noodles growing steadily, the 16th century saw temples turn to confectionery shops. The staff – who were already proficient in kneading, rolling and cutting techniques – would make soba noodles for the monks and thus expanded their enterprises. At that time, Honke Owariya had already existed as a confectionery shop for over 100 years, having been founded in 1465. Around the turn of the 18th century, the current owner’s ancestor Denzaemon Inaoka began supplying noodles to the temples, and his shop was later designated as goyo-soba-tsukasa: an approved supplier of soba noodles to the imperial palace in Kyoto. Buckwheat noodles can be enjoyed hot in a soup or cold with dipping sauces “Soba is a very spiritual food,” says Inaoka. “Monks would eat the noodles as their last meal before going on a 10-day fast. It doesn’t make your body feel heavy or tired – it’s a very special kind of food.” To this day, Honke Owariya has a close relationship with three temples in Kyoto. Zen monks visit the restaurant monthly to hold a Buddhist sutra chanting for Inaoka’s ancestors, after which it is custom that the monk picks a soba dish of their choice.
Inaoka also recommends keeping the cooking water. At the conclusion of your meal, you can combine the sobayu, which thickens and turns cloudy, with any leftover dipping sauce to make a nourishing beverage. Additionally, you can store the cooking water in the refrigerator, where it will remain fresh for about a week.
Who Should Consider Eating Soba Noodles?
Anyone can benefit from eating authentic, 100% buckwheat soba noodles, but those who are sensitive to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, may find them especially helpful.
Buckwheat is a better option for noodles if you have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity because it doesn’t contain gluten and is more nutrient-dense than some other gluten-free options like rice noodles (11, 15, 16).
But as was previously mentioned, when making soba noodles, buckwheat flour is frequently combined with wheat flour.
Therefore, it’s important to check that the noodles are truly gluten-free and that the manufacturer has avoided cross-contamination from gluten-containing grains (17).
If you’re not sure you’ve ever eaten buckwheat, note that it’s possible to be allergic to this seed. It’s a major food allergen in Japan and Korea, where buckwheat is more commonly eaten (18).