How about slurping this steamy & warm soba noodle soup on New Year eve? Wondering why you should do that? One of the traditions followed in Japan on New Year Eve or ‘Omisoka’ is to eat this soba noodle which is known as ‘Toshikoshi Soba” there.
Soba noodles with its long length signify long life and as they are easily cut, the noodles symbolizes letting go of hardship of the year in the same style. Furthermore, since soba noodles are made from buckwheat, it embodies strength and resiliency as buckwheat can endure severe weather. So for all these reasons, it is considered auspicious to have this year-crossing noodles.
On top, whenever you feel under the weather, this light yet umami-filled nourished soup can be an excellent choice to get comforted. The nutty noodles compliments perfectly with hot dashi broth to create this winning combination.
Preparation Time: 15 Minutes
Cooking Time: 30 Minutes
Serving Size: 2
- 7 oz. Dried Soba Noodles or Buckwheat Noodles
- 4 cups Water
- 1 tbsp. Sake
- 1 × 4" x 3” piece Kombu or Kelp, dried
- 2 tbsp. Soy Sauce
- 1 cup Katsuobushi or Bonito Flakes, dried
- ½ to 1 tsp. Sea Salt
- 2 tbsp. Mirin
- 1 bunch of Komatsuna or Spinach
Method of Preparation:
- If time permits, soak the Kombu or the dried kelp in water for overnight.
- Next, fill the saucepan with the water and place the dried kelp over it. Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Once the water starts boiling, remove the dried kelp from the water, and discard. Tip: If the kelp is left longer, it might leave a bitter taste.
- Now, spoon in the katsuobushi or the dried bonito flakes into the saucepan and allow the soup to simmer for half to one minute. Off the heat.
- Let the flakes steep in the mixture for further 8 to 10 minutes. Tip: At this point, the flakes will sink to the bottom.
- Then, stain the ‘dashi’ stock through a paper-towel-line strainer into another saucepan.
- Twist and squeeze the paper towel ever so gently to release the excess dashi.
- After that, stir in sake, mirin, and soya sauce to the saucepan and allow the stock to boil. Keep it aside.
- Slice the komatsuna or spinach into two-inch pieces and boil them in a saucepan of water over medium heat. Tip: First, add the hard part of the spinach since they are harder to cook than the leaves and thus take more time to cook. Once they become tender, remove them from the pan and soak them in cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain well.
- Meanwhile, heat two pots of water over medium heat and allow it to boil. Add the soba noodles to one of the pot and cook them by following the instructions given on the packet until they are cooked al dente. Drain the water.
- Place the noodles under cold running water. Wash them with your hands to remove the excess sliminess.
- Now, return the soba noodles to the other hot water to warm it up. Once warmed, drain and place the noodles in the serving bowl.
- Finally, pour the hot broth to the serving bowl and top it with the toppings of your choice like sliced scallion and green onion. Serve immediately.
Tip: If you want to make it spicier, you can sprinkle Japanese seven flavor spice chili.
Toppings: Top it with sliced scallion and spinach
Serve with: Topping of shrimp tempura and fish cake.
Substitutions: For mirin, you can try using dry white wine or sake mixed with sugar.
Nutritional Information per serving:
- Calories: 437Kcal
- Fat: 3.8g
- Carbohydrates: 85.3g
- Proteins: 22.5g
This recipe has been written by Nakano. Find out more about Japanese cookware here.
Author: Takahashi Sakura