Use Your Noodle

How to keep your soba noodles from getting gummy

Hearty, nutty, satisfying but light at the same time, soba noodles are an underrated Japanese noodle you need more of in your life. While ramen continues to take center stage, Japan's other comfort food also deserves your attention. In a cold salad or a hot soup, these buckwheat babies are as versatile as they are healthful, and they're easy to prepare, too. You just need to know how to treat them right.

Whatever you do, don't cook soba as you would traditional Italian pasta.

① Do not salt the water before cooking.

② Don't cramp the noodles in the pot; give them enough space and water to move around.

③ Don't overcook them. They need only about four to five minutes in the water to reach a desired al dente texture.

④ Finally, in order to avoid the gummy quality that so often befalls so much soba, rinse the noodles immediately after straining them.

This is perhaps the most important step of all. After pouring the noodles into a colander, transfer them to a bowl of cold water and whirl them around. Or simply rinse them under running water. Keep them moving in or under water for a minute or so to remove the excess starch that creates that gummy texture.

May your noodles never clump again.