New Year's Eve Buckwheat Noodles with Mochi, Home for the Holidays #SundaySupper

Christmas in Tokyo is dazzling: Sparkling lights line the streets and store windows dress up for the holiday. Hello Kitty Santas and strawberries balance atop mounds of whipped cream cakes called Christmas Cakes. Reverence, religious symbology is nowhere in sight. Christmas is strictly a commercial affair. Champagne corks pop and bubbly flows on a-plenty at parties. Not so much at the turn of the year. Stores close. Companies take long holiday breaks so their employees can visit temples with their friends and loved ones. Amulets and fortunes are purchased on the blessed grounds. New Year’s eve and the first days of January are observed with solemnity. There is a popular singing contest replete with  stars and screaming fans on New Year's Eve, but at the stroke of midnight, gigantic temple bells reverberate in every neighborhood. During my 17 years in Tokyo, the sound struck an awe-filled sense of the sacred. In most households, December 31st is a time when simple fare like toshi-koshi soba (New Year’s Eve buckwheat noodles) are served. 

New Year's Eve Buckwheat Noodles with Mochi

Riffing to the recipe posted online by the Eden Foods, I added a traditional New Year pounded rice mochi cake along with pressed pink pollock (kamaboko) to my New Year's Eve Buckwheat Noodle creation. The thin buckwheat noodles immersed in a soy-based broth makes one feel healthy and ready for the New Year. The scallions add the zing and crunch to the mixture. Like many Japanese I favor adding the sweet kamaboko and chewy mochi. Some add tempura shrimp. But that is about as fancy as it gets on New Year's Eve. Then, traditionally, the family eats pre-prepared fancy New Year's cuisine (called osechi ryori) that is intended to last for the next three days in order to give Mother a break from the kitchen.

Scallions add a bit of zing to the buckwheat noodles in the soy-based broth.

The pink and white kamaboko add sweetness while the pounded rice cake mochi
lends a  chewy texture to the soft noodles.

Beate of is kindly hosting this week's Home for the Holidays #SundaySupper Twitter event at 7p.m. ET, December 23rd. In addition to the Ninja Baker's recipe below for New Year's Eve Buckwheat Noodles with Mochi, a spectacular display of holiday home tradition how-tos are available from some of the food blogosphere's greatest bakers and cooks! 

New Year's Eve Toshi-Koshi Buckwheat Noodles Soba

  • Prepare an 8 ounce package of buckwheat noodles per the package instructions.
  • Rinse in  a colander with cold water. Set aside.
  • In a medium-sized pan, pour in 4 cups of water. Bring that to a boil with a 1 to 2 inch dried kelp kombu rectangle.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Discard the kelp. (To avoid a bitter broth, be mindful not to steep the kombu in the water any longer than 5 minutes.) 
  • Add 1.5 to 2 tablespoons of soy sauce (Low sodium may not produce as tasty a soup.) Simmer for 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Divide the cooled noodles into individual bowls.
  • Pour the broth over the buckwheat soba noodles and garnish with finely chopped scallions. (2 or 3 scallions should do the trick.)
  • If possible and available, also garnish with pressed pollock kamaboko slices (which are readily available at Asian markets.)
  • Last and not least, toast 2 pounded rice mochi cakes in a toaster oven or broiler for 5 minutes or until puffed and slightly golden. Gently place the mochi cakes into your toshi-koshi soba.
  • And slurp away to show your appreciation to the chef - you!   

- Orange Refrigerator Rolls by The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Eggs Benedict by Cindy's Recipes and Writings
- Holiday Cream Cheese Tea Ring by  Small Wallet Big Appetite

Appetizers & Snacks
- Chicken Liver Pate by Tora's Real Food
- Bindaetteok {Mung Bean Pancakes}by Kimchi Mom
- Crab and Asparagus Soup by The Urban Mrs.
- Roasted Chestnuts by Curious Cuisiniere

- Potato Salad {Schwaebischer Kartoffelsalat} by Galactopdx
- Italian Orange Salad by Shockingly Delicious
- Sweet Potato Casserole by Magnolia Days
- Lightened up Twice Baked Mashed Potatoes by Real Nutrition
- Carrots au gratin by Juanitas Cocina

Main Dishes
Char Siu Bao - Chinese Roast Pork Buns by 
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- Christmas Eve Pizza & Martinis by The Webicurian
- Savory Crepe Cake by Vintage Kitchen Notes
- West Indian Curried Goat by The ROXX Box
- Pot Cheese and Potato Cheese Pierogies by 
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- Seafood Gumbo and Grilled Oysters: A Louisiana Christmas 
  Tradition by the Catholic Foodie
- Mom's Paella by What Smells So Good?
- Portuguese inspired Chorizo Crown Pork Roast by 
  The Family Foodie
- Dorie's Chicken in a Pot by Gotta Get Baked
- New Year's Eve Buckwheat Noodles with Mochi by The Ninja Baker
- Crab Cakes for Christmas Eve by Daddy Knows Less
- Mile High Lasagna by Cravings of a Lunatic
- Red Chile Pork Tamales by Home Cooking Memories 

- Pizzelles {Italian Wafer Cookies} by Chocolate Moosey
- Fudge by Dinner Dishes and Desserts
- Crescent Cookies by Cookistry
- Christmas Stollen by Hezzi D's Books and Cooks
- #GlutenFree Cookies for Santa by The Cooking Underwriter
- Pfeffernusse by The Foodie Army Wife
- Creme De Menthe Cake by I Run for Wine
- Panettone Bread Pudding by the Country Girl in the Village
- Spiced Gingerbread Gooey Butter Cake | A twist on a St. Louis 
  Favorite by Daily Dish Recipes
- Chocolate Gingerbread Layer Cake with Eggnog Cream Cheese by 
  Crispy Bits and Burnt Ends
- Jamaican Christmas Pudding by Lovely Pantry
- White Chocolate Cranberry Santa Cookies by Mooshu Jenne
- Christmas Tree Cookies by Damn Delicious
- Old Fashioned Lady Fingers {Creamhorns} by The Meltaways
- Rose Milk Almond Falooda {Indian Dessert Drink} by Sue's Nutrition Buzz
- Wine Pairings by ENOFYLZ Wine Blog

- Cinnamon Infused Hot Chocolate with Southern Comfort Whipped 
  Cream by Mama Mommy Mom
- Mint Chocolate Cocoa by Mama's Blissful Bites

Simple but satisfying traditional Japanese New Year's Eve toshi-koshi soba.

Wishing you the comforts of home; a friendly hearth, loved ones and soul-satisfying food.

The Ninja Baker

© ™ Watkinson 2012


The Ninja Baker's recipes are also available at:

The Ninja Baker's Japanese Plum Sweet Memories and Recipes

Bob's Red Mill:
Almond Oatmeal Apple Cookies

Bob's Red Mill:
The Ninja Baker's Gluten-Free Breakfast Cupcake


Wholesome Sweeteners:
The Ninja Baker's Gluten-Free Coconut Chocolate Cheesecake Minis with Espresso Cream

Wholesome Sweeteners:
The Ninja Baker's Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Cupcakes with Champagne Glaze & Optional Lemon Peach Marmalade Filling