Today, I am going to be making, Somen.
Somen is very thin wheat flour noodle, eaten on a hot summer day. Japanese summer is hot and high in humidity, so, we tend to lose appetite.( not including me. Lol)
Somen is so refreshing and takes no time to cook. I like to serve with some condiments, but you don’t have to add anything, if you want.
There is a funny story about Somen.
Before summer vacation begins, elementary school students receive a letter from school nurse, how to spend healthy life while the leaving. In that letter, they mention that “ do not eat only Somen. Eat with veggies and proteins.” Somen is THAT popular for its simple and easy preparation.
Somen is produced in several areas. One is from Himeji which is called “Ibo-no-ito” the best one for me. Himeji is my birth place, so definitely the one I choose.
The second one is from Nara, where I currently live, called “Miwa Soumen”. In Nara, people more likely to eat hot. (It called “Nyumen.” I’ll do this in winter.) Both are good but I think the “Ibo-no-ito” has more al-dente texture, and keeps its firmness after a while.
There are some other places producing Somen in Japan, and they are all have their character.
Today, I choose standard Ibo-no-ito Somen, since this is Japanese everyday food channel. But I want to tell you there is high-end somen cost you 10 times higher than the standard. Its so nice to have one as a gift.
Let’s get start cooking!
5 bunch of somen noodles
1 large egg
A pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon of potato starch ※dissolves in 1 teaspoon of water
1/2 Japanese cucumber
・3 slices ham
・2~3 stalks scallion
・Simmered shitake mushroom
※above those ingredients should be prepared on your preference
- Let’s start with slicing cucumber. Cut the end of cucumber and sliding together until the froth coming out. I don’t really know why we are doing this but we believe that this step removes bitterness from cucumber. Slice thinly like this, and place the slice overlapping each other, then slice into thin matchsticks.
- Slice the ham into the same size of the cucumber. Shred the crabsticks.
- Crack the egg, add a pinch of salt and potato starch solutions. Mix well and pan fry to make a thin omelete. Cut into thin matchsticks.
- Slice simmered dried shitake mushroom. The recipe is in my Mentsuyu video.
- Bring water up to a boil in a big pan. Cook over high heat, add Somen noodles and stir prevent from sticking each other. After a minutes or so, it’s about to boiling over. Add half a cup of cold water to stop boiling. It also gives a chance to cook evenly.
- Drain into a sieve. Transfer to a bowl, I am using rice rinsing bowl, and add a generous amount of cold water. Dain and repeat the process several times. ※Don’t touch while it’s hot.
- After it comes to room temperature, wash under the cold running water. Grab and wash as if washing a cloth to rinse out all the starchy stickiness. This is the most crucial step to making nice Somen noodles.
- This is how I present the Somen noodles. Take a folk, and twist the somen around the folk. Put it onto a serving dish. I don’t like to serve in icy water like other people do, because it’s too cold and the water thin out the Mentsuyu.
9.Place the ingredients nicely, and serve with chopped scallion and grated ginger. These two are indispensable.
10.Pour mentuyu into a small bowl, and add water to make dipping 1 to 3 ratio is good.
If you don’t have Mentsuyu, here is the easy recipe.
Combine 4 dashi, 1 mirin, 1 light soy sauce and bring up to boil. Chill before serving.
Pick up one Somen roll and dip into mentsuyu. Add some condiments and slurp! Taste so good and so refreshing!
Here is the Somen bento, pour cold mentsuyu in a jar and you can carry to school, or for someone in the family getting home late.
I don’t know about other house hold, but I make summer tempura when I serve Somen for dinner. This is the corn tempura, which I like the most in summer time. I’ll show you how to make next week.