Posted by: Catherine | July 13, 2009

Icy-Cold Somen with Dipping Sauce and Goodies

At 12 o'clock is the serving bowl with the icy somen and, around it, are our three individual bowls with dipping sauce. The rest are toppings: sliced egg "crepe," scallions, wasabi, ginger, pickled plum, ogura, sliced shitaki, shiso, nori, and roasted black sesame seeds.

At 12 o'clock is the serving bowl with the icy somen and, around it, are our three individual bowls with dipping sauce. The rest are toppings: sliced egg "crepe," scallions, wasabi, ginger, pickled plum, ogura, sliced shitaki, shiso, nori, and roasted black sesame seeds.

Emma's first go with sliced egg "crepe," ogura and roasted black sesame seeds.

Emma's first pass with sliced egg "crepe," ogura and roasted black sesame seeds.

Another serving with sliced egg "crepe," shiso, scalllions, pickled plum, and roasted black sesame seeds.

Another serving with sliced egg "crepe," shiso, scallions, pickled plum, and roasted black sesame seeds.

This is one of our regular summer dinners, it’s a year-round favorite first course—and it’s part of the Japanese home cooking we love to eat (check out the Japanese Pancake with Pork and Tonkatsu Sauce and Japanese Ground Chicken and Egg over Rice). I vary the accoutrements (as Emma calls them), depending on who’s joining us. If it’s one of Emma’s friends I always have the sliced egg crepe, roasted black sesame seeds, sliced nori (seaweed) and inari (fried tofu that’s slightly sweet), chunks of avocado, and Emma’s fave (because it’s pink, sweet and candy-like), ogura. (She was appalled when I told her it was seasoned cod—I wish you could have seen the look on her face!—but not enough to turn her nose up once and for all). Bruce and I enjoy shitaki, shiso leaves, ginger, scallions, and umeboshi (pickled plum), which I chop and lightly mash. This dish is really a great appetizer for a smallish group–it’s fun to slurp, share and create different concoctions together.

What you do: Fill a serving bowl with cooked, drained and cooled (under cold running water) somen along with ice and enough cold water to cover. Each person gets his own little bowl filled with dipping sauce (scroll on down for the recipe) to which he adds a bunch of noodles, then tops them off with whatever combinations suit his fancy. When he’s finished, he can try another batch. And another.

Toppings: Chopped scallions; toasted black sesame seeds; sliced shiso leaves; uemboshi (pickled plum I pit, chop and lightly mash); sliced egg “crepe” (just tilt the pan until beaten eggs form a thin crepe); sliced shitake (from the dipping sauce, below) or other mushrooms like enouki; sliced nori or other seaweed, preferably dry; wasabi; grated or pickled ginger; inari and ogura (if you’re 12 and under, and can eat something sweet with just about anything); sauteed vegetable like Japanese eggplant; daikon or other sprout; avocado; even shredded chicken or pork, or shrimp. Really, you can use anything your heart desires.

Dipping Sauce

3 cups water

1 1/2 cups dried bonito flakes

4 dried whole shitake mushrooms, softened for 30 minutes in lukewarm water

1/2 cup mirin

2/3 cup soy sauce

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a saucepan. Lower heat and cook for 5 minutes. Remove and strain, reserving shitake to slice and use as one of the toppings. Let the dipping sauce come to room temperature, then refrigerate. It keeps in the refrigerator for a week.



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Responses

  1. MMMMMM,…this meal is something apart & looks very interesting!

    I love your dipping sauce!

  2. That looks so cool. Er, no pun intended. I always enjoy things that you can personalize.

  3. This looks so much fun, unusual and quite delicious. I smiled when you mentioned Emma’s reaction to finding out what ogura really was. Sometimes it’s best not to know – step forward, haggis and black pudding…

  4. Seriously perfect summer dish Catherine. I really like soba noodle.

  5. This is wonderful! When can I come over?!

  6. That looks like a blast to do. The dipping sauce sounds delcious. Soba noodles are wonderful!

  7. A good dish for summer time :)

  8. This looks wonderful! I love the variety – so delicious!

  9. This is definitely something I would like to try. it looks really tasty..

  10. I love all the toppings, looks like such a fun meal!

  11. Been looking for this refreshing somen dish since I first tasted in when I was in Tokyo in the summer. Yum!

  12. those bowls of noodles are gorgeous!

  13. This is so beautiful!! I love serving interactive dishes like this one. Thanks so much for sharing!!Figtreeapps

  14. Absolutely scrumptious and you can taper the ingredients to your own love. How wonderful! A Japanese taco bar – minus the tacos. And so summery and pretty. Wish I thought of it!

  15. A great Summertime recipe! Looks so Fabulous!!!

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful dish!

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    Have a Wonderful Day ~

  16. Yummie yummie…reminds me of my childhood…my mom used to make this soba. Now is just perfect for the summer.

  17. Wow, what a creative dinner!

    Isn’t it funny how your kids will eat something, and then you tell them what it is and they are surprised!

  18. somen is the PERFECT light lunch/dinner to eat in the summer! Oh my…I LOVE how you had different condiments and toppings to create your own personalized somen!


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