The thinnest of the Japanese noodles, somen noodles are slender white noodles made from hard wheat flour, measuring less than 1.3mm in diameter. Because they’re so skinny, they cook in no time at all – just 2 minutes is all it takes for tender somen noodles.
Somen noodles are particularly popular in Japan during the summer months when they are served chilled with a dipping sauce, but thin somen noodles also work a treat in Japanese-style salads, seafood dishes and hot soups. Try six somen noodle recipes for authentic Japanese cuisine at home.
In Japan, one of the quintessential dishes of summer is chilled somen noodles with dipping sauces and selected accompaniments. Simply cook the somen noodles according to packet instructions, then drain, refresh under cold running water and chill in the fridge. Serve with a chilled dipping broth (tsuyu) of dashi, soy sauce and mirin with a dab of wasabi, and a platter of sliced spring onion, Japanese omelette, shredded nori seaweed and fresh mint.
Another classic somen combination is this recipe for hiyashi chuka, which combines the tried and tested flavours of ham and egg with chilled somen noodles, nori, sesame seeds and a ponzu-style dressing of soy, vinegar and sugar.
For a healthy vegetarian lunch or light dinner, try this Asian somen noodle salad with eggplant, sugar snap peas and lime dressing. Or, for an elegant starter to a Japanese dinner party, use somen noodles as the base for these delicious grilled scallops.
If it’s chilly outside, there’s no need to give somen noodles the cold shoulder. These firm white noodles also work a treat in soups and warm salads. Beat the chill with this cleansing recipe for somen with beef skewers and a warm broth, or whip up a warm somen noodle salad packed with healthy vegetables and a warming hit of ginger.
You’ll find organic somen noodles in the Asian food aisle of your local supermarket.
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