With the arrival of summer, Japanese are increasingly looking towards light meals at lunchtime. A bowl of soumen (cold noodles) is one of the most popular ways to relieve the summer heat.
Soumen is traditionally served with a large variety of yakumi, or condiments. While it may be tempting to cut back on the number of different garnishes, it’s worth trying all of the yakumi listed below at least once so that you can better judge which you prefer.
Serve the noodles on ice in a wooden bowl. Pour a little soup into each guest’s bowl and allow them to choose their own condiments, which they mix into the soup. Finally, guests add noodles which they should mix together with the yakumi.
Ingredients (serves 2)
- 3 bunches of dried soumen
- 1-1.5l water
- 1-2 mioga (mioga ginger)
- 10 asatsuki chives
- 4-5 green shiso (green perilla) leaves
- 1 package of kaiware daikon (radish sprouts)
- 1 deep-fried tofu pouch
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of sake
- 1 teaspoon of shichimi togarashi (a mixture of red pepper and six other spices)
- 1 clove of ginger
- 2 cups of dashi soup
- 1/2 a cup of soy sauce
- 1/2 a cup of mirin
First prepare the tsuyu soup. Pour the mirin into a pan, place it onto the gas table and bring it to the boil. Add the dashi soup together with the soy sauce and bring it to the boil again. Once boiling, turn off the heat and allow it to cool.
Now for the yakumi (garnishes). Cut the mioga in half lengthwise and then again into thin strips. Rise in a bowl of cold water for a minute then drain.
Cut the asatsuki chives into thin round slices.
Slice the green shiso leaves into julienne strips, rinse them in a bowl of cold water and drain.
Peel the skin of the ginger grate it.
Cut off the root of the kaiware daikon, then cut into halves.
Toast one deep-fried tofu pouch for about one minute. Mix a tablespoon of soy sauce, a tablespoon of sake and a teaspoon of shichimi togarashi and spread onto one side of the tofu pouch. Toast it again for about one minute until it becomes crispy. Finally, cut the pouch into bite-sized rectangles (12-16).
Bring a bowl of water to the boil and cook the soumen noodles for roughly two minutes (refer to the cooking instructions on the package). If the water rolls up to the edge of the pot, add a half cup of cold water. Once the noodles are ready, rinse them in running fresh water.
Place water and ice in a wooden bowl and arrange the noodles so that they don’t stick together.
Serve the noodles with the tsuyu (soup) and condiments in individual plates or bowls.