Cold somen noodles are a refreshing summer dish, and a spin on traditional pasta.
Recipe: Japanese Somen Noodles
Cold Wheat Noodles With Dipping Sauce
When the weather gets hot in Japan, this simple yet delicious dish becomes an essential menu item. The taste of the noodles is accentuated by the dipping sauce, which combines umami-rich ingredients for a powerful savoury sensation.
This dish is best eaten with chopsticks.
- 4 bundles somen (thin wheat noodles)
- Small fresh ginger root
- One bunch scallions
For The Dipping Sauce (Kanto-Style)
- 3.5 ounces (.42 cup or 100ml) mirin
- 3.5 ounces (.42 cup or 100ml) soy sauce
- 14 ounces (1.7 cups or 400ml) dashi stock (see recipe below)
- For Kansa-style tsuyu (the area of Western Japan around Osaka), substitute the regular soy sauce for 3.5 ounces of usukuchi, light-colored soy sauce.
- For Kyushu-style tsuyu (the southernmost main island of Japan), substitute the regular dashi for 14 ounces of iriko (small dried fish).
- Heat the mirin in a sauce pan, bring to a boil and add the soy sauce and dashi; bring to a second boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. This creates a tsuyu, or dipping sauce, in the Kanto style (the area of Eastern Japan around Tokyo).
- Peel and grate enough ginger and finely chop enough scallions to garnish the noodles. Whether you like a heavy or light garnish is a matter of personal taste.
- Cook the noodles in plenty of boiling water. Once cooked, rinse thoroughly in cold water.
- Place some iced water (with chopped ice) in a serving dish, then arrange the noodles on top, garnishing with the shredded ginger and chopped scallions. Serve the tsuyu sauce in small, individual bowls.
- Dip the noodles in the tsuyu sauce and enjoy!
Dashi Stock Recipe
Japanese stock, dashi, is the key element of authentic Japanese cuisine. This recipe is simple and quick; or you can purchase dashi at an Asian market.
- 1.6" (4cm) x 1.6" piece dried konbu (kelp, shown at right)
- 3 cups (600ml) water
- 1-3/4 teaspoons (8g) bonito flakes
Make a few slits in the kombu and cook it in the water on a medium heat. Remove the kelp just before it boils and add the bonito flakes. Bring to the boil and strain. Makes 3 cups.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Umami Information Center, UmamiInfo.com. Other material
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