Summer Somen

Ingredients
Somen, ginger, myoga (Japanese ginger), ohba (Japanese green leaf), carrots, zucchini, eggplant (fresh or pickled), pickled shiba (red pickles), soy sauce, noodle sauce stock


Nothing takes away an appetite like the heat of summer. Fortunately, Japan boasts a great variety of cold noodles, with the most popular being somen. The finely cut noodles go down smoothly, and there’s a seemingly endless appetite for summer somen in cold water.

Most people chop up some onions, add a bit of spice and dig in. However, I suggest a recipe with a little more flare. Finely chop your garden variety vegetables, soak them in soy sauce, and you’ll have a Tohoku tradition referred to by Yamagata locals as dashi. Perfect for bringing to life a bowlful of noodles—it’s also a great topping for some piping hot rice.

Pour in some hot tea, and you’re in for a Japanese favorite, ochazuke. The dish by itself also goes well with a drink. Additionally, because dashi will keep for a day or two at room temperature, what you make in the morning won’t go bad by nightfall.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that in Japan, making noise while you eat noodles (such as ramen or soba) is a Japanese tradition. While viewed as bad manners In Europe and North America, the Japanese reserve this right for noodles only, and it is bad form not to slurp your somen. Remember this next time you think about biting your noodle off halfway down. Try going native and slurp your somen.

Directions:
1. Finely cut all the vegetables mentioned, as well as any others you can get your hands on. Seal in a plastic bag filled with just enough soy sauce to cover the contents and let sit for at least 30 minutes.

2. Boil the somen until you can pinch apart a noodle with your fingers (boiling time varies between noodles).

3. Let the noodles cool in ice water. After they’ve cooled, mix in the dashi with some noodle sauce stock and chow down.

Finely cut all the vegetables mentioned, as well as any others you can get your hands on. Seal in a plastic bag filled with just enough soy sauce to cover the contents and let sit for at least 30 minutes.

    Boil the somen until you can pinch apart a noodle with your fingers (boiling time varies between noodles). Let the noodles cool in ice water. After they’ve cooled, mix in the dashi with some noodle sauce stock and chow down.