The word “style” is there to signify that this is by no means an authentic recipe for sôki soba. The last time I ate sôki soba was probably about 11 years ago, during a school trip to Okinawa. Long-distance school trips are very common in Japan, and it occurs at least once during high school, usually when you are a senior. What films, dramas, and anime teaches you is that the school trip is a condensed period in terms of drama, consisting of confessions of affection, break-ups, schoolboy fights, homoeroticism in the public baths, and scopophilic activity to balance out the homoeroticism. However, I don’t remember doing any of those things. I barely remember anything I did during that trip, probably because of the relatively dull life I lived during high school. I also barely remember how those noodles look like, let alone taste like. Anyway, I am far from being the authority on Okinawa soba.
On the dish:
Sôki indicates the braised rib that gets topped on the soba. The soba does not indicate soba noodles. What’s called soba in Okinawa is not made from buckwheat, but regular flour with alkaline water, so its somewhere in between ramen and udon. I used chinese flour noodles, which is probably quite far from the real stuff. But what the hell, I’m in the midwest, I can’t have every Asian grocery on hand. The broth is usually made with a mixture of animal based stock and fish based stock, so making sôki has two functions, one being extracting the broth out of the ribs, and the second being, well, making the sôki.
So first, on with the sôki:
Put ribs cut into sizes fit for one serving. I cut the ribs in half, across the bones, and then cut into appropriate sizes, about 3-4 inch squares. Put the meat in a pot and cover with water, and wait til water starts boiling. After the water starts boiling, turn the heat on low and leave it for about five minutes or so.
Then throw the water away, and rinse the pot and meat with cold water until you wash off the gunk. This is essential for getting clear broth.
Cover the meat with plenty of water, enough for the meat to float. Then stew on low heat for several hours, at least 2, but about 4-5 for best results. You have to skim the gunk off the top every once in a while.
When you’re done, take the meat out of the pot. The pork broth that remains will be used later for the noodles.
Put the ribs in a pot, and pour some water, a bit of sake, soy sauce, and sugar. Mirin if you have some. Go heavy on the sugar and light on the soy sauce.
Stew for about an hour or so, adding more soy sauce every 15 minutes until you reach the desired flavor. And then you’re done.
Boil the noodles according to instructions. Cut up some green onions. With scallions, more is usually better.
Mix some fish broth granules (hondashi, I can’t afford bonito flakes) into the pork broth. If it tastes too strong, just mix in a bit of water. Add some of the braising sauce for the sôki into the broth. Add some soy sauce, sugar, or sake to taste.
Throw the noodles into a bowl, pour some broth, place the sôki on top, and cover the entire thing with green onions.
The initial process of creating the sôki takes a while, but once you have the sôki, pork broth, and braising sauce on hand, you can make this dish fairly easily.
I forgot one more thing:
The traditional Okinawa soba comes with a condiment called kôrêgûsû.
As you can imagine, its impossible to find in the United States. Well, at least in Kansas. However, you can make one yourself fairly easily.
Get a small jar, fill it with small chili peppers whole, fill the jar with vodka (I use Sobieski since its cheap and tastes pretty neutral) and leave it there for 3 weeks or more.
Throw about a tablespoon in the soba, and it tastes amazing.
An added bonus is that you can also add some to your bloody mary, and enjoy your tonsils getting hurt.