Japanese Soba Soup
with Peas, Eggs, and Seaweed
(Tamago toji soba)
This substantial Japanese soup of buckwheat noodles is simple to make and very satisfying--thickly eggy and accented with bright peas and slivers of nori seaweed. Serve hot to 4 as a meal.
Garnish: 1/3 cup cooked green peas and 1 sheet nori seaweed, toasted and snipped into fine shreds
Cook the soba noodles as follows (sounds complicated, but it's not): bring a really big pot of water to boil. Add the noodles bit by bit, stirring, so they don't stick to each other. Bring to a rolling boil, then pour in 1 cup of cold water. Allow to return to a rolling boil, then pour in a second cup of cold water. Again, allow to return to a rolling boil, then pour in the third cup of cold water. Taste for the noodles to be firm but cooked through. Likely you'll want to repeat with a fourth cup of cold water. When the noodles are al dente, drain them, rinse them in cold running water, and scrub them against each other by hand to remove all the surface starch. Drain, rinse, and let sit til you're ready to assemble the soup.
Bring the dashi to a simmer and dip out 1/2 cup to let cool in a bowl. Raise the heat, let boil, then toss in the sliced leeks and cook until tender crisp, less than a minute. Reduce heat to medium.
Refresh the soba noodles with hot water, then divide evenly into 4 large bowls.
Mix the eggs with the cool 1/2 cup dashi (don't whip up air bubbles), then pour the egg mixture into the broth WITHOUT STIRRING in a fine stream. When the egg threads have set, remove the pot from heat immediately. Ladle evenly over the 4 bowls of noodles, sprinkle each with the peas and nori slivers, and serve immediately.