Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Bringing In A New Year With Noodles


This post is back ward on the date. We had this buckwheat noodle before the New Year. Japanese has this tradition to eat buckwheat noodle on New Year’s Eve to wish for long life just like long noodle represent. I don’t know why they eat ‘soba’ instead of udon though. When I was growing up our family always eat soba in chicken broth. It’s very hearty and warm you up on a cold winter night but I made cold soba noodle for this occasion simply because I like zarusoba (ざるそば)better. I made some tempura too. The whole thing has an official name tenzarusoba (天ざるそば)which means tempura and zarusoba. Aha! They are very clever.

First I prepared the ingridients for tempura- you could use most any vegetable  in your fridge.

  • Lotus roots(蓮根)* Peel and slice then soak in cold water DSC_0034DSC_0009
  • celery-slice in thin strip**
  • carrots- peel  and slice in thin strip**
  • burdock roots(ゴボウ)-slice in thin strip then soak in cold water for 10 minutes**DSC_0030DSC_0006
  • shrimp- shelled  leaving tail on; place cuts in body of shrimp two places to prevent curve
  • mushroom- separate in small sectionsDSC_0015
  • Japanese sweet potato(薩摩いも)-peel and slice then soak in cold water for 10 minutesDSC_0044
  • shiso leaves

* After soaking in water,dry with paper towel then lightly dust with cornstarch **combine  celery, carrots and burdock roots and dust with corn starch.

Second I prepared tempura batter

  1. In a large bowl, beat two egg yolks.
  2. Add two cups of cold water, mix well.
  3. Add  a teaspoon of salt, mix well
  4. Sift flour into the bowl (about 1 cup) gently whisk but do not mix too much. Add more flour if necessary . If you feel batter is too thick add more cold water.

Now we are ready for fryingDSC_0018

In heavy skillet, pour about two inches of oil and heat up. Dip ingredients in batter and fry in the oil. For combined celery, carrots and burdock roots, bunch them up in the batter and fry together. Put a couple of paper towels on a plate and use them to soak up the excess oil after frying.DSC_0026

Make tempura dipping sauce-you may prepare night before and refrigerate. You can also use bottled zaru soba tsuyu (dipping sauce)

Put 3 cups of water in a pan. Add konbu (dried kelp) and cook over low heat until the water boils. Remove the kelp.


Raise heat to medium and place 1 handful of bonito flakes into the pan. DSC_0047DSC_0048

When it begins to boil, turn off the heat and let sit until the bonito flakes settle to the bottom. Put a paper towel on top of a strainer and filter the stock. DSC_0049

Take 1 cup of the stock, add 1 tablespoon each of sake, mirin and soy sauce and heat over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Adjust these seasonings to your own taste. Turn heat off and let cool.

Cook noodle according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. We like grated radish (daikon), green onions and wasabi in the dipping sauce.

As Japanese custom, they clean whole house before the New Year. Here, my husband cleaning floor.DSC_0027


  1. Looks really yummy.
    I wish I had cleaned my whole house before the new year, but I think it's impossible.

  2. Looks just great!
    Lotus Root is one of my favorite odd starches to utilize

    Happy New Year to you Both!

  3. That tempura looks so good! If that's what you eat for new years I could ring in the new year every day.

  4. Thanks all for comments. Toby, I like tempura lotus root with mustard( hot Japanese mustard) and soy sauce mixture instead of dipping sauce.
    You should try it sometimes.