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Hiyashi Somen (Japanese Chilled Somen Noodles) for Tanabata

Hiyashi Somen (Japanese Chilled Somen Noodles with Dipping Sauce)

Makes 4 servings

For the somen tsuyu (dipping sauce):
1 1/4 cups dashi
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin

16 ounces dried somen noodles

1/2 Persian cucumber (or 1 Japanese cucumber), sliced into thin ribbons (I like to use a vegetable peeler!)
Freshly grated ginger
Scallions, thinly sliced
Toasted sesame seeds

1. Make the somen tsuyu: Mix the somen tsuyu ingredients together in a medium saucepan. Bring the tsuyu to a rolling boil over medium heat and then remove the saucepan from the heat and let cool. Chill in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

2. Prepare the somen: Cook the somen noodles according to the package directions. Drain the somen in a colander and rinse them under cold running water, to cool and remove the excess starch from the surface of the noodles.

3. Serve the somen with the cucumber ribbons on a bed of ice cubes in a shallow bowl, along with individual cups of chilled dipping sauce and toppings on the side. To eat, each person seasons their sauce to taste with the toppings, then dips the chilled somen into the sauce before eating.