Have You Tried Somen Noodles From The Japanese Kitchen?

Somen noodles are a thin variety of wheat-based Japanese noodle that have a mild flavour and delicate texture. They are frequently included in soups, salads, and stir-fries as well as chilled with a soy-based dipping sauce. Somen noodles are a type of thin, wheat-based vermicelli that are popular in Japan. They are delicate in texture, light in colour, and have a moderate flavour. They can be consumed cold with tsuyu, a soy-based dipping sauce, or hot, commonly in a soup or broth. In the past, people have typically preferred the chilly version in the summer and the hot version in the winter. Nagashi somen, which involves washing bowls of cold somen noodles down a bamboo chute with a stream of cold water while the diner uses chopsticks to scoop the noodles out as they pass, is one of the most famous ways to serve the noodles. 

The traditional method for making somen noodles involves mixing wheat flour with salted water to make a dough, letting it rest for several hours, and then rolling it out and cutting it into long ropes. These ropes are then brushed with vegetable oil and stretched, first by hand, then by looping them around long bamboo sticks that are spaced farther and farther apart until the strands of noodles are 12 feet or longer. This stretching, combined with the oil, gives somen noodles their recognisable chewy, almost bouncy character and is crucial to the production of the glutens in the flour. 

The stretched noodles are then separated into bundles, wrapped, and let to dry in the sun before being cut to size. The majority of somen noodles are now produced by machines that use a pulley and wheel mechanism to stretch the noodles the majority of the time. One of the qualities that defines somen is that the finished somen noodles are thinner than 1.3 millimetres. Udon noodles are the thickest, followed by hiyamugi noodles, which are the second thickest. 

Somen vs Soba 

Somen noodles are sometimes contrasted with the soba, a different type of Japanese noodle produced mostly from buckwheat flour with a trace proportion of wheat flour. The main reason for this connection is that soba and somen are both frequently served cold and eaten with a thick dipping sauce consisting of soy sauce and additional ingredients like ponzu or mirin. However, upon closer inspection, the two noodles are very unlike. In contrast to somen, which are a pale white and have a mild flavour, soba noodles are light brown and have a nutty flavour. Somewhat thicker than somen, soba noodles. Soba noodles can't be stretched since they contain little to no gluten, hence they are formed by cutting instead. Thus, they have a little denser texture than somen. 

How To Cook 

Somen noodles are made by simmering them in plain water, draining them, and then submerging them in ice water to terminate the cooking process. Afterwards, a savoury dipping sauce comprised of soy sauce and additional ingredients like ponzu, a transparent citrus-based sauce, or mirin, a sweet rice wine, is served with these cold noodles on a tray or basket, occasionally over ice cubes. Wasabi paste, sesame seeds, shredded seaweed, chopped green onions, and grated ginger are some of the often used garnishes for noodles. 

The cooked noodles can also be put to hot broth, which is typically an umami-rich combination created by simmering dried bonito flakes and a Japanese seaweed called ponzu. Occasionally, a poached egg is added to the soup. Additionally, they can be included in salads, stir-fries, and as a side dish for grilled meats like beef, chicken, shrimp, or ham. 

Somen noodles have a soft, chewy texture, a mild flavour with a trace of saltiness, and a mild flavour.