By Andrew Zimmern
When summer hits, there’s nothing better than cool, refreshing meals. One of my favorites is this cold somen noodle recipe. I’ve been cooking these buckwheat noodles for years, and though my version isn’t “authentic”, I think it’s a fantastic twist on a Japanese staple.
So sometimes I make this as is…and often I add cold steamed veg, leftover sliced grilled meats, chicken or fish, the noodles become a superb platform for ANYTHING. I will serve it in a deep bowl and pour the sauce, about a ¼ cup, over the top.
Cold Somen Noodles Recipe
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
- 1/4 cup loosely packed thinly sliced or torn nori
- 1/2 pound somen or buckwheat noodles
- 2 cups chilled homemade dashi*
- 2 tablespoons white tamari (sometimes also called white soy sauce)
- 2 teaspoons sake
- 4 tablespoons mirin
- 3 teaspoons liquid shio koji (Hanamaruki makes a great one)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce (I typically use a very light colored usukuchi soy sauce for this, it’s a cooking soy sauce with very complex flavors)
- 2 quarts water
- 5 six inch squares of dried kelp (kombu)
- 1 cup tightly packed katsuoboshi (dried bonito flakes), also sometimes called hana katsuo
In a small bowl combine the dashi, tamari, sake, mirin, shio koji, and soy sauce. Place in freezer while you get everything else ready for the next 10 minutes.
Boil the noodles until just softened. Somen only takes 90 seconds or so, buckwheat noodles a smidge longer.
Drain and rinse under cold water and plunge at once into an ice bath and let sit for a minute. Divide into 2 or 4 serving-sized bowls depending on portion size.
Remove the seasoning liquid from the freezer and pour some over each bowl of noodles. Garnish with the scallions and nori.
To make the dashi:
Bring the kombu and water to a boil over medium heat. This should take about 10-12 minutes.
When about to boil remove and reserve kombu, add katsuoboshi and bring back to a boil, about 10-20 seconds.
Turn off heat, skim foam and let stand 3 minutes. Strain and use or refrigerate.
To make a second stock for simmered dishes or recipes that require a less refined stock, simmer the used kombu and katsuoboshi in the same volume of water for 10 minutes. Strain and use or refrigerate