New Year’s Soba with Duck
We shared our lucky-long New Year’s soba and duck with my sister and brother and his wife. The dish is a tradition at our house for the holiday, but my sister couldn’t leave our father unattended so we ate at her house.
I cooked the food in my own kitchen and brought it over. The noodles did need to be rinsed again, and I hadn’t heated the seared duck until I got to her apartment—the duck stayed nice and tender! This year, I made the Kakejiru broth with only the vegetarian kombu and shiitake (my sister does not like fish), and everyone agreed the meal, was delicious. I made some carrot tsukemono, bought some pickled onions, and matcha ice cream. My sister-in-law provided some very nice champange.
After a hard day of New Year’s Eve shopping at Ikea, I was too tired to stay for toasting with more champange at midnight—
I was lucky and long asleep when the old year ended…

New Year 2011


New Year 2010

New Year 2009

New Year 2008


Kombu and Shiitake Dashi

  • two 4-inch squares kombu, soaked for up to 3 hours
  • 3 to 4 nice-sized good quality dried shiitake, soaked from 3 hours to overnight until soft. Use a weight to keep the mushrooms below the soaking water.
  • 2 quarts water (including water from soaking the mushrooms)

Soak the kombu in cool water for between 30 minutes to over night.
Put the kelp into a pot and add the soaking liquid plus cold water to make 2 quarts. Bring the water and kombu almost to a boil over medium heat. It should take 10 to 15 minutes.
Immediately before the water reaches a boil, remove the kombu and mushrooms. (Save them for tsukemono.) If you boil the kombu, the stock will become bitter and cloudy. Strain the liquid through the sieve lined with damp cloth. Use immediately, refrigerate, or freeze.

Kakejiru (Broth for Hot Noodles)
from The Japanese Kitchen
by Hiroko Shimbo

page 66

  • 1 quart ichiban dashi (page 65)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon shoyu
  • 1/2 Tablespoon usukuchi shoyu (light-colored soy sauce)

In a medium pot, bring all ingredients to a very slow boil over low to medium heat. Go slow and low—you don’t want the dashi to become bitter and cloudy, nor do you want the sugar and shoyu to burn.

Hot Soba with Duck and Long Onions
Kamo-nanban Soba
from The Japanese Kitchen
by Hiroko Shimbo

serves 6
page 322

  • 4 boneless duck breast, excess skin and fat removed and reserved
  • I slow-fry it for the schmalz and grebenes.
  • 20 ounces dried soba noodles
  • 8 cups kakejiru
(broth for hot noodles)
  • 8 thick green onions
  • ½ cup sake (rice wine)
  • 1 bunch watercress trimmed to 2-inch pieces
  • Shichimi togarashi (Japanese Seven-Spice Powder)

•• Peel the skin and layer of fat from 4 duck breasts. Reserve for another occasion. Slice diagonally ¼-inch thick slices.
•• Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook the soba al dente. Drain, and rinse the noodles under cold running water. Rub them gently until they are cold and no longer starchy. Drain well.
•• Begin warming the broth over low to medium heat.
•• Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add a few bits of reserved duck fat, and cook until oil covers the bottom of the skillet. Remove the duck fat, and add the duck breast and onion. Cook until the surface of the duck is just golden. Lower the heat and turn the duck and scallions. Cook for only a few minutes—overcooked duck is tough and stringy.
•• Sprinkle the sake over the duck, and cook, covered, for 2 minutes.
•• Transfer the duck and long onion to the pot of broth. Add the noodles and reheat for a minute or two.
•• Divide the noodles among three bowls, and pour the hot broth over them. Top with the duck and onions. Divide the mitsuba or watercress among the bowls, and sprinkle with shichimi togarashi

3 thoughts on “New Year’s Soba with Duck

  1. What a lovely looking New Years celebration. The duck looks so pretty on the glass dishes. May your happiness and health be longer than the longest noodles!
    This makes me wonder if we should be cooking rabbit for Chinese new year or would that be just wrong…perhaps leafy greens and toothsome herbs in blue rabbit bowls?
    How is the kitchen coming along in the Gingko House?
    xo blorgie

    • Carolyn!

      Thanks for the good wishes. I read about a place in Japan where the speciality is an udon noodle. One. Long. Noodle. Which fills your bowl. But I can’t imagine eating it without biting it in order to swallow—would doing such a thing ‘break’ your luck for the new year?

      Don’t know about serving rabbit for Chinese new year: it did cross my mind about serving lamb for Christmas dinner (Probably not the best choice for Easter.))

      Now that J is finished with the job in Buffalo the move has accelerated (for the past couple of days). Unfortunately, we have not yet set up internet (besides him pushing me to get-a-move-on) means not much posting or emailing.

      The kitchen in the Gingko House is beginning to fill up. It has lots of counters and cabinets, but I’m finding it less well designed than the tiny one here. I had everything so well placed here because I designed it myself. Oh, it will come.

      And you know, the few days we have stayed in the new house, have been such a pleasure.

      <3 Tess

      still have to "butter the kitties paws!"
      so far they don't seem to realize that there is an outside there. (i hope the 2 back-door strays will become indoor kits) they are not happy, but as we get more stuff over there, they should find 'nests.'

  2. Oh big smile and new years hugs to you both!

    Tess you have the best stories! Do you think if we ever met in real life we would talk our heads off?

    One long noodle seems so Japanese but it puts me in mind of a dessert my Russian grandma made too – we called it flippy pudding for the long wide noodles which were the main ingredient and best part – at least an inch wide and who knows how long!! They were cooked in a flat square dish with raisins, sugar, cinnamon and eggy milk…she must have made the noodles freshly as I don’t remember ever seeing dry pasta.

    What do the kitties think of car rides? I know some cats who don’t mind a bit of a Sunday drive. I had a lovely black cat years ago called Adventure Cat who would ride in my bicycle basket when she was small. She came to lectures, visited other student households. When she grew up she chose her own adventures though.

    C x

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