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What are Somen Noodles, And Ways to Cook Them

Are you fascinated by the delicate, flavorful world of Japanese cuisine? If so, you’ve likely heard of somen noodles. Somen noodles are a quintessential component of Japanese cuisine, cherished for their thin, delicate strands and versatility in various dishes. In this post, we will revolve around somen noodles, from what they are to how to cook them to perfection.

What Are Somen Noodles?

Somen noodles are thin, white Japanese noodles made from wheat flour. They are similar in appearance to vermicelli noodles but have a distinct texture and flavor profile.

Somen noodles are traditionally served cold, making them a refreshing option, especially during the hot summer months. However, they can also be enjoyed in warm dishes such as soups and stir-fries, or even with scrambled eggs as did in this post

How to Cook Somen Noodles

Cooking somen noodles is a simple process that yields tasty results. To cook somen noodles, start by bringing a pot of water to a boil.

Once the water is boiling, add the somen noodles and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until they are al dente. Be sure not to overcook the noodles, as they can become mushy. Since somen noodles are super thin noodles, it’s super important to use a timer and cook them for exactly the time specified on the package.

Occasionally, the package guidelines may display two durations, such as 2 minutes and 3 minutes. Typically, the shorter duration is recommended for incorporating the noodles into a hot soup, while the longer duration is advised for serving the noodles cold, as most people would anyway.

Once the noodles are cooked, drain them and rinse them under cold water to stop the cooking process and prevent them from sticking together, the running water not only cools them down but drains the excess starch.

Next, bathe them in ice water. Your noodles are now ready to be used in your favorite dishes, and you can proceed as you wish

How to Serve

Somen noodles offer remarkable versatility, presenting numerous serving options. Below, are suggestions for enjoying them:

Traditionally cold somen is served with a dipping sauce or mentsuyu made from soy sauce, sake, and sugar boiled for a minute and cooled since it is boiled the alcohol is evaporated and the sauce isn’t as raw tasting as soy sauce.

Additionally, you can stir fry with scrambled eggs, soy sauce, and oyster sauce to make a warm dish.

Don’t use olive oil in Asian cooking, a neutral oil is preferred.

How to Make Somen Sauce

Somen noodles are typically served with a light, flavorful dipping sauce known as tsuyu. To make somen sauce, combine equal parts soy sauce, mirin, and dashi stock in a saucepan.

Bring the mixture to a simmer, then remove it from the heat and allow it to cool. Once cooled, your somen sauce is ready to be served alongside your noodles.

Optionally it can be made from various ingredients that can be added to some sauce to enhance its flavor, such as soy sauce, mirin (sweet rice wine), dashi stock (Japanese soup stock), and sometimes a touch of sugar or citrus juice for balance.

Additionally, toppings like sliced green onions, grated ginger, or shredded nori (seaweed) may be added for extra depth of flavor.

Where in Japan is Somen Noodle Popular

Somen noodles are enjoyed throughout Japan, but they are particularly popular in the southern regions of the country, such as Kagawa Prefecture. In these areas, somen noodle festivals are held during the summer months, where locals and tourists alike gather to enjoy this beloved dish.

How to Make Somen

Making somen noodles from scratch is a labor of love but well worth the effort for those who appreciate homemade pasta. To make somen noodles, you’ll need wheat flour, water, and a bit of salt.

Start by mixing the flour and salt in a bowl, then gradually add water until a dough forms. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, then roll it out thinly using a rolling pin.

Once the dough is rolled out, cut it into thin strips using a sharp knife or pasta cutter. Boil the noodles for a few minutes until they are cooked through, then rinse them under cold water. Your homemade somen noodles are now ready to be enjoyed.

Also Read: The Correct Way to Cook Indomie Mi Goreng

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