Toshikoshi soba (年越しそば) is a special Japanese noodle dish that the people eat on New Year's Eve as a tradition. Soba is a kind of Japanese noodles made from buckwheat, which are commonly eaten both at home and at restaurants. Toshikishi literally means "passing year", so toshikoshi soba is eaten at the end of the year.
What are the ingredients?
Toshikoshi soba is actually nothing special compared to normal soba. In other words, if you eat any kind of soba noodles on New Year's Eve, it is called "toshikoshi soba". So the actual dish varies in each region and in each household. But generally speaking, the toshikoshi soba is served hot and topped with tempura (like shrimp tempura) and fish cake.
People eat it for lunch or dinner. Some go to a famous soba restaurant to eat it, and others cook the soba noodles at home.
There are some reasons to eat soba noodles on that day. One is a kind of way to say goodbye to all the bad things that happened in the year and to welcome the new year. The second reason is that soba is said to be a symbol of a long life. Also, since buckwheat is able to grow in a severe weather, people hope to be strong and healthy by eating it.
Here is a simple and easy recipe for soba soup. You can add your favorite toppings if you want.
1.2L Dashi stock
100ml Soy sauce
300-400g Soba noodles (dried)
1. Put the dashi stock, soy sauce, and mirin in a large pot and heat them up.
2. In another pot, cook the soba noodles for 3-4 minutes in boiling water.
3. Serve the noodles in a bowl and pour the hot soup over.
Toshikoshi soba is an important Japanese traditional custom to start off the new year. How about slurping the soba noodles this New Year's Eve as they do? It may give you a good luck!