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Yamakake soba literally translates to Japanese-mountain-potato-covered soba. I had this for the first time in Calgary last month with S and his Dad, who says it's a very authentic Japanese dish. He made it for lunch one day and we helped him.
It was quite an experience eating this. Japanese food is so often an adventure in textures. The white sauce you see in the photo is mostly grated nagaimo, also known as Japanese mountain yam, a white root vegetable. It looks like a giant parsnip or daikon, but when you grate it, it gets all gluey and slimy. You eat it raw, seasoned with a little marinade, but that's it. It's an acquired taste and I had a bit of trouble finishing my bowl. There's also a hot version that I will ask S's dad to make me the next time we are in Calgary.
Here's to Japanese food adventures!
Yamakake soba (Japanese-mountain-yam-covered soba)
one whole nagaimo or Japanese mountain yam (about nine inches long)
green onions, finely sliced for garnish
nori, one large sheet finely torn for garnish
dash of soy sauce
dash of ponzu
1 egg yolk
2 portions soba or buckwheat noodle
Wash the nagaimo and peel it with a vegetable peeler until all of the brown spots underneath the skin have completely disappeared.
Grate the nagaimo on your finest grater over a mixing bowl. We used a ginger grater like this one. Be prepared to be hands deep in slime!
To the grated nagaimo, add the egg yolk, soy sauce and ponzu, but not too much. You still want the mixture to stay predominantly white. Garnish with the green onion and nori and serve.
If you decide to try and eat this with chopsticks as I did, be prepared for a long lunch as the noodles keep sliding all over the place. This was a fun lunch :)