Very thin, dried Japanese wheat noodles.

These are good to keep on hand if you think you might have an emergency soup craving. In a light broth, somen noodles cook almost instantly.

I can't pretend to be any kind of traditional, but this is probably the most common way i prepare somen:

In a small saucepan, in light neutral-flavored


saute some


and sliced


together with

dried red pepper flakes.


soy sauce,

just a bit, and when the mushrooms have become soft and full of flavor, add water (or a

light vegetable stock,

if you have one on hand) Don't boil, but simmer. Add a little bit of

sesame oil,

the somen (i use one bundle for each person eating). If i have it, i add about one sheet of


cut with scissors into thin strips. When the somen are soft (in just seconds! ladies and gentlemen, can you believe it? this cold night is no longer so cold, nor so dark!), your soup is done. I usually slice


diagonally and put them on top, with

sesame seeds,

in a large mug or white bowl, steaming, wholesome and huddled over.


Forget not: Noodles are good, noodles are kind, and there are all kinds of good noodles.

Somen, a japanese wheat noodle, is most often served chilled during the summer.
After cooking somen and chilling it, it is dipped in a soup of soy sauce, mirin and dashi with various seasonings added, like ginger, green onion or wasabi.

Sometimes the noodles are tied together while cooking so that they may be aranged nicely when they are served.
There's no secret about it, somen, hiyamugi, and udon are all Japanese noodles made from the same ingredients of flour and salt water, practically made in the same manner when mass-produced. Only thickness differentiates any type from the other two, according to the Japanese Agricultural Standards (JAS):

somen: less than 1.3 mm in width
hiyamugi: 1.3 - 1.7 mm in width
udon: 1.7 mm and above

Somen basically look and taste like angel hair noodles. Served cold in somen tsuyu soup, it is a popular summer dish. A variety of toppings exist, which may include but are not limited to nori seaweed, roasted sesame seeds, cucumber slices, chopped negi, stir-fried egg slices, ham slices, ginger, ground wasabi, and tomato slices. (However, traditional somen aren't supposed to have toppings like hiyamugi.)

Nagashi somen
Participants carry around a bowl with soup and toppings, waiting at a bamboo waterslide. One person serves the prepared cold somen noodles from the top of the bamboo waterslide by releasing small amounts at a time, while participants scoop out their share from the slide with chopsticks.

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