Japan Eats

Recipe: Koumiyasai no somen (somen with aromatic herb salad)

When Japanese think summer, they think somen.

Somen are very thin noodles made from wheat flour. They are usually eaten cold during the summer months, often with a garnish of grated ginger, asatsuki chives and thinly sliced miyoga.

This recipe combines the fine texture of the noodles with the refreshing flavors of sudachi, a Japanese citrus grown in southern Japan, and yuzukosho, a condiment made from dried yuzu, green peppers and salt.

If you’re having trouble sourcing the ingredients, you can substitute limes for the sudachi, and Yuzusco dressing for the yuzukosho.

For something completely different, try adding nampla and cilantro to give the dish a Thai flavor.

Koumiyasai no somen (somen with aromatic herb salad)

Koumiyasai no somen (somen with aromatic herb salad)

Ingredients (serves 4 people)

  • 130 – 150 g cucumber
  • 60 – 70 g miyoga (Japanese ginger)
  • 130 g radish sprouts
  • 12 sheets of shiso (green perilla)
  • 8 tablespoons of sakuraebi (dried shrimp)
  • 2 teaspoons yuzukosho
  • 2 sudachi, cut in halves
  • 200 g somen (50 g each)
  • 400 – 600 ml mentsuyu (Japanese condiment traditionally poured over somen)

Method

Fill a pot with water and boil. Once at the boil, add the somen and cook according to the instructions on the package. Next, drain the noodles using a fine colander or sieve. Rinse them in ice cold water and drain. Repeat several times, changing the water each time.

Now that all the starch has been removed from the somen, it’s time to prepare the rest of the ingredients. Slice the cucumber diagonally into pieces  1 mm thick.

Cut the roots from 130 g of radish sprouts and slice the mioga in half lengthwise and then again into thin strips.

Slice the green shiso leaves into strips 1 – 2 mm in width. Rinse the cucumber, radish sprouts, mioga and shiso together in a bowl of iced water for between 1 and 2 minutes. Mix them well while in the water.

Now divide the noodles between four serving bowls. Drain the vegetables and heap them onto the somen. Try to do this as artfully as possible. Sprinkle dried shrimp evenly over the vegetables and gently pour the mentsuyu into the dish, trying not to crush the vegetable garnish.

Add a half-teaspoon of yuzukosho to the side of each dish. Slice the sudachi into halves and add one half to each bowl. Serve.