I decided to start a new tradition in our home and commence the eating of toshikoshi soba on New Year's Eve. What's toshikoshi soba? From what I learned from my mother, it is the eating of noodles on New Year's Eve to bridge the old year to the new year. In Japan, eating these noodles on New Year's Eve promises one longevity in the New Year. There are various ways to prepare the noodles. The recipe below shares how I prepared the noodles based on a recipe my mother gave me.
- Pork ribs
- Noodles (udon or buckwheat will do)
- Chicken stock
- Chicken bouillon cubes (2)
- Soy sauce
- Hon dashi (Japanese soup base) (or dashi no moto if you can find it)
- Green onions
- Red pepper flakes
- Place the pork ribs in a large pot filled with water. Place the pot on your stove top and bring it to a boil. Once the water has begun boiling, remove the pork ribs, and pour out the water.
- Place the pork ribs in a fresh pot of water and begin boiling again. Boil for one hour.
- Once the pork ribs have finished boiling, set them aside. Add chicken stock, a large splash of soy sauce (for color), both chicken bouillon cubes, and a large pinch of hon dashi to taste.
- As your soup base simmers, remove the bones and fat from the pork ribs. Cut the meat into large cubes and add them back to the soup stock.
- In a separate pot, boil your noodles. Follow the instructions on the noodles' packaging.
- To eat, put the noodles in a bowl and add the soup and pork separately. Sprinkle the top of the noodles with sliced green onion and red pepper flakes.
If you choose to follow this tradition, I hope you enjoy the recipe. By the way, it's not considered rude in Japan to slurp your noodles, so slurp away!
"Worries go down better with soup." - Jewish Proverb