Vegetarian Toshikoshi Soba
Inspired by: Just One Cookbook
5 cups water
2 piece kombu (dried kelp) (4" x 4” or 10 cm x 10 cm)
2 cup katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) (skip for vegetarian/vegan)
2 Tbsp sake
4 Tbsp mirin
4 Tbsp usukuchi (light-color) soy sauce (or regular soy sauce)
½ tsp kosher/sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal; Use half for table salt)
10 oz dried soba noodles (buckwheat noodles)
4 green onions/scallions
shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven spice)
In a medium saucepan add the kombu and kombu water (kombu dashi). Bring it to a boil slowly over medium low heat. When almost boiling, discard the kombu.
Add the katsuobushi and simmer for 35 seconds.
Then turn off the heat and let katsuobushi sink to the bottom of saucepan. Let Katsuobushi steep for about 10 minutes (meanwhile you can prepare toppings).
Drain and reserve the dashi in the measuring cup (or bowl) and discard the katsuobushi (you can make Furikake rice seasonings with the leftover katsuobushi). Put the dashi back in the saucepan.
Add the sake, mirin, usukuchi soy sauce (or regular soy sauce), and kosher salt.
Bring it to a simmer and set aside.
To Make Soup Broth with a Store-Bought Bottle of Tsuyu
In a pot, combine ¼ cup Mentsuyu (Soup Base for Noodles), 2 cups water (1:8 ratio), and a splash of mirin and heat until it's hot.
Put wakame seaweed in 1 cup water to rehydrate. Then squeeze the water out and set aside.
Slice the green onion thinly.
Detach the bottom of the kamaboko (fish cake) from the wooden board and slice 4 pieces.
To Serve Soba Noodles
Cook soba noodles in boiling water according to the package instructions, but 30 seconds less. No need to add salt.
Drain the soba noodles and rinse the noodles under cold water to get rid of the starch.
Serve the noodles in the bowl.
Pour hot soup broth over soba noodles, top with kamaboko, wakame seaweed, and green onions.
Enjoy while it’s hot.