Sobagaki (Boiled buckwheat-flour dumpling) (蕎麦がき)
Sobagaki is a dish made from buckwheat-flour, and one characteristic of the sobagaki is that a ball of dough, not a noodle, is made by mixing buckwheat-flour with boiled water or heating a mixture of buckwheat-flour and water and then quickly stirring the mixture into gruel with tools such as chopsticks.
It has been eaten as a familiar snack since old times in buckwheat-flour producing areas because even children can easily make it. To eat the sobagaki, use chopsticks to tear it into pieces and dip it into soba tsuyu dipping sauce or soy sauce.
It has two cooking methods: 'Wan-gaki' which is cooked by mixing buckwheat-flour and boiled water into gruel, and 'Nabe-gaki' which is cooked by heating and kneading the mixture of buckwheat-flour and water in a pot on a stove.
They are similar to the cooking method of Italian polenta and East African ugali which are made by kneading a mixture of boiled water and grain flours such as corn flour.
The sobagaki is recognized as a healthy food because nutrition in buckwheat can be taken efficiently due to good digestion and absorption which are attributed to starch gelatinization occurring when buckwheat-flour is mixed with water and heated.
Other sobagaki variations
Haya-soba (Quick soba)
In Yamanouchi-cho and Sakae-mura in Shinano Province, shredded daikon (Japanese radish) is mixed with buckwheat-flour and water and dipped in sobatsuyu to eat. It is called "Senzo-soba" in neighboring cities, towns and villages.