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.