Okinawa soba, or suba as it is called in Okinawa’s native language, is a well known dish produced in Okinawa Prefecture. Okinawa soba is made of a few simple ingredients including kamaboko (a type of fish cake), scallions, stewed pork belly, noodles and is garnished with beni shoga (pickled ginger). Although the dish is called soba the noodles in Okinawa soba are actually different from the noodles known as soba throughout other parts of Japan. They are not made of buckwheat and more closely resemble udon.
Although you can enjoy Okinawa soba at a variety of restaurants around Okinawa you can also make it at home with relatively no fuss and for a fraction of the cost. Here’s a simple guide to what you need and how to make Okinawa soba for you and your family to enjoy!
The very first thing you’re going to need to do is go to your local grocery store and pick up all of the ingredients for your Okinawa soba. I got everything that you are going to see today at Ginowan San A Convention City not far from the Ginowan Convention Center. As listed above you’re going to need noodles, broth, pork belly, fish cake and scallions. I choose not to put pickled ginger on mine because I am not a fan of it but if that little red stuff is up your alley go wild!
Once you have gathered all of your ingredients it’s time to start pulling the entire meal together. We do this by starting with the broth or 沖縄そばだし. This particular variety of broth or 沖縄そばだし came with about 4 packets inside and required about 300cc of water per packet.
(Each brand of 沖縄そばだし will have different directions. Simply check the back of the package for the number of cc’s/ml’s are required of water, 水, and you should be good to go.)
Once the 沖縄そばだし has been put in a pot it’s time to start thinking about the next ingredients. I prefer to add the stewed pork belly next. You have a great deal of options when it comes to the pork that you choose to include in your Okinawa soba. You can go the route of purchasing pork belly and stewing it yourself (sorry folks we’re not covering how to do that in this post), you can go the route of purchasing some nice high quality pork belly that has already been cooked and is ready to go or you can go with the low cost yet still delicious option. This is a package of precooked san-mai niku or 三枚肉 (literally translated to 3 layer meat). It’s a great alternative if you’re looking to make a small batch of Okinawa soba.
I like to add the pork or 三枚肉 to the broth while it is warming up. It allows some of the delicious flavors stored in the meat to dissolve and make the broth even more tasty. It also helps warm the meat so so that it can be enjoyed when the rest of the dish is pulled together.
Finally it’s is time to add the noodles to the dish. Although you can purchase dry noodles and cook them I decided to go the route of precooked noodles. This is an easy way to make noodle dishes without having to worry about whether or not you’ve properly cooked the noodles. They can also be prepared very quickly and therefore cut down on the time it takes to make the dish.
After adding the noodles to the pot bring everything to a boil and allow to simmer for a few minutes. Finally when you feel as though everything has become the temperature of your liking it’s time to start plating your dish. First include the noodles followed by the pork and broth. This is also the time when you would garnish your dish with finely chopped scallions, the fresher the better, and also kamaboko or fish cake.
You’ll notice that I saved kamaboko for the very end. Kamaboko is a type of fish cake made from various white fish that has been pureed and combined with a variety of additives. It has a distinct fishy taste and is not for everyone. It can easily be left out of Okinawa soba for those who are not that adventurous but for those who are you can easily find it in your oden and processed fish section. It looks a little something like this:
From start to finish cooking this meal for myself and my husband cost a total of ¥500 and took me approximately 10 minutes from the moment I decided to cook to the second I sat down to eat. With a beautiful meal so simple to cook and inexpensive there’s no excuse not to give it a try!