The plan was to make soba noodles. Mr. Tess was at the Korean grocery picking up some sesame oil to make pan-fried sesame flavored chicken (this time with asparagus and zucchini) when he called to ask if I needed anything else for dinner. “No,” I said, “I’m making soba noodles!” Last week I tried using a recipe I found online that called for 1 cup buckwheat flour to 1/4 wheat flour—8:2 ratio—and 1/3 cup water. Because the mixture looked like damp sand and would not hold together, I added a bit more water. The mixture had the texture of gravel and was beginning to stick together. I added a bit more water (more than I intended to?), and the “dough” turned into goo.
Last night, I tried a different recipe using 1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour to 3/4 cup wheat flour—2:1 ratio—and 1/2 cup water. I also used some grated yama-imo (mountain yam), reasoning that it’s used to make ganmodoki (tofu dumplings) and I’ve bought dry yam noodles (soba noodles made with yam). I added it to the water. The recipe called for mixing half of the water with the flour until it looks like “coarse breadcrumbs,” then adding the remainder. As I was rolling the “breadcrumbs” around in the bowl, they seemed quite dry, but remembering the first trial, I did not add more than the remaining water. The dough did form into a ball, which I kneaded for almost half an hour. It was very stiff and difficult to knead. I abandoned the idea of rolling it out by hand and used my pasta machine, running short lengths repeatedly through setting 1, then rolling thinner.
I’ve made a LOT of pasta, but this dough did not behave. Bits of dough kept breaking off and drying in chunks all over the counter and flour. The sheets were too fragile to cut; all that kneading did not bring any elasticity to the dough at all.
I’ve made pizzoccheri (half buckwheat, half wheat, with eggs) and it is different from the wheat pastas I’ve made, but this dough was impossible. Could be my buckwheat flour is not ground finely enough? Next time, I’ll add just the tiniest bit more water… edited to say I finally succeeded!
Meanwhile, Mr. Tess thawed the packages with the chicken breast and the thighs in the microwave and mixed up the marinade. The chicken breast was obviously tilapia. I wrap food in cling film then freeze the packages in zip-locks; I don’t always remember to change the label. So, we cooked the vegetables first, the chicken second, and the fish last. Oh, and I should have told him to get some soba noodles—plenty of noodles in the cupboard: mung-bean noodles, chuka soba, even rice noodles. Plenty of udon. No soba, though.
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