Japanese Cold Somen Noodles

Cold somen recipe

The Spruce / Teena Agnel 

  • Total: 15 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 5 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings

Summers in Japan can be brutally hot. A favorite go-to dish on these hot summer days os 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 mm 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 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 cup kombu and katsuobushi dashi
  • 3/4- to 1-pound dried somen noodles
  • Toppings
  • 1/2-inch fresh ginger
  • 1 scallion
  • A handful of shiso leaves (thinly sliced)
  • 1/2 inch myoga ginger (thinly sliced)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Cold somen ingredients
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel  
  2. First start by making the dipping sauce: Put mirin in a sauce pan and heat.

    Make dipping sauce
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  3. Add soy sauce and dashi soup stock in the pan and bring to a boil.

    Add soy sauce
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  4. Remove from heat and cool the sauce.

    Remove from heat
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  5. Once you have the dipping sauce completed, boil water in a large pan.

    Boil water
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  6. Add dried somen noodles in the boiling water, gently stirring noodles with chopsticks, and cook for a few minutes until done. (If it's necessary, add a little bit of cold water in the pan to prevent overflowing.)

    Add noodles to water
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  7. Drain the somen in a colander and cool them under running water or in an ice bath.

    Drain somen
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  8. Wash the noodles with hands under running water. (If the noodles were tied, find the knotted parts of somen noodles and pick them up. Cut off the edge and discard.)

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

    Serve
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  10. Enjoy!

    Cold somen recipe
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel

Tips

  • Traditional Japanese restaurants tie up the noodles to enhance the appearance of the somen and this is how you do it. 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 shoyu (Japanese soy sauce)

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