Japanese Cold Somen Noodles

Japanese Cold Somen Noodles

The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
561 Calories
21g Fat
77g Carbs
15g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 561
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 27%
Saturated Fat 9g 47%
Cholesterol 1mg 0%
Sodium 3117mg 136%
Total Carbohydrate 77g 28%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 15g
Vitamin C 1mg 7%
Calcium 38mg 3%
Iron 5mg 29%
Potassium 431mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Summers in Japan can be brutally hot. Favorite go-to dishes on these hot summer days are Japanese cold noodles dishes, such as somen. As you slurp cold somen noodles dipped in tsuyu, you feel your body starting to cool in the summer heat.

Somen are white Japanese noodles made of wheat flour, and they are very thin—about 1 millimeter in diameter. The dough is stretched, with the help of vegetable oil, to make very thin strips, and then air-dried (which is why you need to rinse somen noodles after boiling). 

Somen are usually served cold, with a dipping sauce called tsuyu. The dipping sauce is the same Japanese dashi-based broth used in hot soup, but more concentrated in flavor. The sauce is flavored with scallions and ginger. You can also add shiso leaf or myoga if you can find them at Japanese grocery stores. 

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup mirin

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups kombu and katsuobushi dashi

  • 3/4- to 1-pound dried somen noodles

For the Toppings:

  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger, grated

  • 1 medium scallion, thinly sliced

  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced shiso leaves

  • 1/2 inch myoga ginger, thinly sliced

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Japanese Cold Somen Noodles ingredients

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  2. Put mirin in a sauce pan and heat.

    mirin in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  3. Add soy sauce and dashi soup stock to the pan and bring to a boil.

    soy sauce and dashi soup stock in a saucepan with mirin

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  4. Remove from heat and cool.

    soy sauce mixture in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  5. Once dipping sauce is completed, boil water in a large pan.

    water in a pot

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  6. Add dried somen noodles to boiling water, gently stirring noodles with chopsticks, and cook for a few minutes—approximately 2 to 3 minutes—until done.

    noodles in a pot with water, chopsticks

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  7. Drain somen in a colander and cool under running water or in an ice bath.

    noodles in a colander

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  8. Wash noodles with hands under running water.

    washing noodles in a colander

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  9. Serve drained cold somen in a large serving bowl, dipping sauce in individual cups, and place toppings, such as grated ginger, scallions, strips of shiso leaves, and myoga on the side.

    Japanese Cold Somen Noodles, with a side of sauce and toppings

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

Tips

  • Traditional Japanese restaurants tie up the noodles to enhance the appearance of the somen. This is how you do it: simply tie the edge of somen noodles with cooking twine. This way, noodles will stay in one direction while cooking.

Recipe Variations

For Dipping Sauces:

  • 2 cups unseasoned dashi (Japanese soup stock)
  • 5 tablespoons usukuchi shoyu (Japanese light soy sauce)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons shoyu (Japanese soy sauce)

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