Friday, January 02, 2009

Toshikoshi Soba (Year End Soba)

Japanese people have custom eating soba (buckwheat noodles) in the end of year. It called Toshikoshi Soba, and eating long noodles will bring a long life. It is a bad luck to not to finish the soba before the New Year. In NY, some Japanese restaurants serve special Toshikoshi Soba and the restaurants are busy accommodating Japanese customers who want to finish eating soba before midnight.

In previous years, we bought dried soba noodle from the Japanese grocery store and cooked it 30 minutes before midnight, slurping the noodles while keeping one eye on the TV as we waited for the ball to drop in Times Square. This year, Hiroko decided to make the soba noodles herself. She studied a soba-making website to learn the ratio of soba flour to water, and how to kneed the dough into the proper consistency for noodles.

Around 11pm, she measured the soba flour and white wheat flour, mixed them together and then sifted the combination. After adding the water to the flour mixture, she quickly formed it into a ball, and began to knead. She wasn't sure how much kneading was needed, but as she looked at the clock, the time was reaching 11:45pm so she started to roll out the dough and cut it into noodle-width slices.

In the end, we found that the noodles were not cut thin enough in that when the noodle was cooked, it looked like a dark brown fettuccine. Nonetheless, we grated some fresh wasabi, and enjoyed theToshikoshi Soba just before the midnight deadline.

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