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soba new year


Author Lucy Seligman


  • 6 ¼ cups water
  • A 3-inch by 3-inch piece of kombu kelp wiped with a damp cloth and lightly slashed to release the flavor
  • 2 oz. katsuobushi dried bonito flakes
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin sweet sake
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 lb. dried or 1 ¼ lbs. fresh soba noodles
  • 4 dried or fresh shiitake mushrooms stemmed (reconstitute dried ones by soaking in warm water with a dash of sugar for 30 minutes – reserve 2 tablespoons of liquid to add to broth)
  • ½ lb. chicken breast cut into thin slices
  • 2 large Japanese leeks white part only, cut diagonally into thin slices
  • 5 ¼ oz. spinach trimmed, parboiled, and drained
  • Seven-spice pepper to taste for garnish


  1. Heat the water with the kelp in a deep saucepan. Just before it boils, remove the kelp and pour in the dried bonito flakes. Boil, stirring, for about three minutes, then strain into a clean saucepan. Add the soy sauce, mirin, salt, and mushroom liquid. Bring to a boil again; taste, adjust seasoning if necessary and cook over medium heat for a few minutes.
  2. Five minutes before serving, heat up the chicken and leeks in the broth. In another pan, cook the noodles according to instructions on the package, then drain and rinse to get rid of the starch.
  3. To serve, place a mound of noodles in each deep soup bowl. Top with one mushroom and separate mounds of chicken, Japanese leeks, and spinach. Gently ladle on the broth and serve immediately. Pass the seven-spice pepper separately.