Monday, April 19, 2010

Cold Somen Noodles With Vegan Dipping Sauce

Seriously, if there is one dish I could probably eat daily, it's this one.

When I was living in living in San Diego, I would drive home from my office for lunch several times a week during the summer, cook up some somen or soba noodles, quickly chow them down, and then drive back to the office, all in about 30 minutes.

It's been rather warm lately here in the DC metro area. So, I recently stocked up on somen and soba noodles at Super H in Fairfax, VA, and have begun transitioning our regular Monday night meal from hot udon noodle soup to cold somen or soba noodles with dipping sauce.

Somen noodles are thin white noodles made from wheat flour. Most Asian markets carry both somen and soba (buckwheat) noodles. I have not seen somen noodles sold in any regular supermarket, at least not here in Northern Virginia. Whole Foods does carry soba, but not somen, noodles.

Once the dipping sauce is prepared and chilled, the rest of the dish takes less than 10 minutes to prepare.

Vegan Dipping Sauce for Cold Somen or Soba Noodles

3 1/4 cups boiling water
3-inch piece of kombu

1/2 cup (small handful) sliced dried shitake mushrooms

1/2 soy sauce
1/4 mirin

In a small saucepan, bring 3 1/4 cups of water to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat, add the kombu and dried mushroom (see photo below) and set aside for 10-15 minutes.

Add the soy sauce and mirin to the pot and bring to a simmer. Continue cooking on low heat to boil off the alcohol (in the mirin). Remove the pot from the heat, strain the liquid into another container (e.g., a large pyrex measuring cup), and discard the kelp and mushrooms. Set aside until it is cool enough to be placed in the refrigerator, and chill.

Cook the somen noodles according the directions on the package. Somen noodles cook very fast in boiling water, from 3-5 minutes, so be sure to keep a close eye on them.

Drain and rise the somen noodles thoroughly in cold tap water. Place the somen noodles on individual plates. Serve with a small bowl of the chilled dipping sauce and a small plate of scallions and wasabi paste. When ready to eat, add the scallions and stir in some of the wasabi paste into the dipping sauce and enjoy!


Dave R. said...

Wegman's in Fairfax carry's both somen and soba

DAVID said...

Thanks, Dave. And I was just at Whole Foods today (for political reasons, I avoid this store) and noticed that they carry small packages of somen noodles as well. Never been to Wegman's in FFX, but my coworker goes there all the time and loves it.