Happy New Year’s Eve! Toshikoshi Soba is a noodle soup often eaten in Japan on New Year’s Eve. Toshikoshi translates to the end of the year in Japanese. This is a basic recipe with soba noodles in a seasoned dashi stock and topped with shredded nori (seaweed). You can add additional toppings for your taste such as leafy greens, a raw egg (make sure the broth is hot to lightly cook the egg), green onions, or kamaboko (fishcake). I just kept mine simple. Be sure not to break the noodles! Long noodles are eaten on New Year’s Eve to signify good luck and bring the person a long life.
While this is a basic recipe with just a few ingredients, those ingredients may be difficult to find for some. Soba are long, thin buckwheat noodles. They are available in the Asian section of many supermarkets or Asian Food Markets. They are also available on Amazon: Hakubaku Organic Soba, Authentic Japanese Buckwheat Noodles, (no salt added) 9.5-Ounce (Pack of 8). Nori is a thin seaweed often used for rolling sushi. It is sometimes called laver. I have been able to find it at many supermarkets in the Asian food section or at Asian Food Markets. It is also available on Amazon: Premium Quality 50 Sheet Toasted Sushi Nori, 3.5-Ounce Pouches and organic:Earth Circle Organics Nori Sheets, 10-Count. Mirin is a sweet Japanese cooking rice wine. I use hon-mirin (true mirin) in recipes calling for mirin. I have been able to find it in Asian food markets near me. Many grocery stores have aji-mirin, but those usually have a lot of additives. Other types of mirin are shio-mirin (includes salt) and shin-mirin (very little alcohol). It is also available on Amazon: Eden Foods Mirin Rice Cooking Wine — 10.5 fl oz.
Dashi is a stock used in Japanese cooking. It is made from kombu and katsuobushi. Kombu is dried Japanese kelp. Katsuobushi are bonito (tuna) flakes. You can make your own dashi with kombu and katsuobushi or use instant dashi granules (most common). Most instant dashi mixes add MSG. If you don’t mind added MSG, the following brands are available on Amazon: Dashi-No-Moto and Ajinomoto – Hon Dashi. Maruhachi Dashi doesn’t have any added MSG, but it is a bit more expensive (also in a bulk package). Dashi isn’t available in grocery stores or Asian food markets near me, so I usually buy kombu and katsuobushi in bulk online to make my own. Check out Just Hungry for directions on how to make your own Dashi stock.