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Cold Somen

It looks like we're headed for another hot and dry summer in the Pacific Northwest. In Japan, one food is often eaten to help beat the country's hot and humid days, somen noodles.

During summer, somen noodles are eaten cold, along with a dipping sauce called tsuyu, which is made of dashi soup stock, soys sauce and sweet rice wine. Chopped green onions and grated ginger are also added to the tsuyu for their flavor and aroma.

Somen are very thin noodles made from wheat, and are most often sold dried

Each package of somen contains portioned bundles, making it easy to cook just the right amount.

Drop somen noodles in boiling water and cook according to what’s on the package, usually 2-3 minutes. For this particular packaged somen, use 1 liter of water per portioned bundle. Bring the water to a boil, and then lower the heat to medium low before adding the somen. Boil the somen noodles for 2 ½ minutes. Stir the noodles often to prevent them from sticking to each other.

Once cooked, quickly drain the somen in a colander and rinse the noodles under cold running water.

Serve along with tsuyu dipping sauce, green onions and grated ginger.

For even colder noodles, serve them in a bowl of ice water. Serving somen in water also makes the noodles easier to pick up.

For a heartier meal, condiments like sliced egg crepes (kinshi tamago), cooked shrimp, and thinly sliced ham and vegetables can be added.