Before you pop open the champagne tonight, enjoy a dinner that may make 2013 your best year yet.

Literally translated as "end the old year, enter the new year," soba is traditionally eaten on New Year's Eve in Japan to encourage long life and bring good luck, and this Japanese soba noodle recipe from Genji sushi chef Takao Iinuma is tasty to boot.

"This is a light, healthy recipe for soba," Iinuma says. "Soba noodles are whole grain and low in gluten, the ginger is warming, and nori is a great source of nutrients. It's also a great complement to sushi platters."

Editor's note: You can find dashi in Asian markets or in the international section of larger supermarkets.

 

Cold Soba with Poached Chicken
Serves: 2

Ingredients:
6 ounces dry soba noodles
18 fluid ounces dashi (can be made with instant dashi)
3 fluid ounces mirin
3 fluid ounces low-sodium soy sauce
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
Sesame seeds
Shredded nori (optional)
Chopped scallions
Grated fresh ginger or wasabi

Directions:
1. Cook soba noodles in boiling water for 4 to 5 minutes until cooked but still slightly chewy. Drain, rinse with cold water to chill, drain again, and set aside.

2. Combine dashi, mirin, and soy sauce in a saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Add chicken and lower heat to a simmer. Poach chicken for 3 to 4 minutes or until just cooked through (be sure not to overcook it), skimming any foam from broth while cooking. Remove chicken and set aside with noodles. Skim broth again and divide into two bowls.

3. Split soba noodles and chicken between two plates and sprinkle with sesame seeds and shredded nori, if using. Serve broth with scallions and ginger so diners can add as much as they desire. To eat, dip noodles and chicken into broth and slurp.

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