What we had last night: soba noodles.
We have a tradition to eat soba (buckwheat) noodles on a New Year’s Eve. It is called “Toshikoshi soba”. The word “toshikoshi” means to climb or jump from the old year to the new.
Soba is narrow and long in shape,so it symbolizes a wish for long life.
It is also believed that eating Soba will cut misfortune of the previous year and bring good luck in the next year. Soba noodles have no gluten, they can be cut more easily than other noodles.
The other day, I found these in a charity shop’s window. I could not believe my luck.
I do not expect many to know what they are. Shop keepers had no clue, either. These are serving plates for “Zaru soba” or chilled soba noodles with a dipping sauce. How timely is that?
Usually, Toshikoshi soaba is served hot in a bowl, but there is no rules, and soba can be served hot or cold. My younger son absolutely loves chilled noodles and had it for lunch almost everyday when we visited Japan a few years ago.
Having cold pasta or noodles are not so popular here in the UK. You may think it is rather odd, but it is very tasty.
Recipe: serves three
About 240 g / 2 oz. dried soba noodles
Green onions, finely chopped
*You need to make it in advance and chill it in a fridge.
You can also buy a ready made sauce at Asian supermarkets.
300ml Dashi stock (can be made from dashi granules available from Asian supermarkets)
100ml Soy sauce
100ml Mirin sweet wine
1/2 tbsp sugar
1. Prepare dipping sauce:place all ingredients of the dipping sauce in a sauce pan and gently heat up the mixture. Let it cool and chill it in a fridge.
2. In boiling water in a big pot, add dried Soba noodles and stir. After coming back to a boil, cook for 3-4 minutes (follow the instructions on the package). Drain and wash noodles under running water.
3. Place Soba on plates and top with shredded Roasted Seaweed. Serve with dipping sauce, green onions, and wasabi.
For my husband and older son, I served it warm with shrimp tempura. Tempura came from a local supermarket. I cheated a bit.
Since it is just a plate of noodles, you do want side dishes. I cooked soy beans with root vegetables, shiitake mushrooms and seaweed for one of them.
I don’t cook Japanese New Year’s feast much because ingredients are not easy to get, but we always have noodles on New Year’s Eve.
Happy New Year!
2016, the year of monkey.