Somen Noodles are very thin white Japanese noodles made of wheat flour. Their mild flavor and delicate texture make them an adaptable noodle for serving cold or hot with lighter-flavored sauces and broths.
Add noodles to boiling water and cook until tender. After cooking, rinse well in cold water to prevent sticking.
Storage & handling
Store in a cool, dry place.
Wheat flour, salt. Contains wheat.
Somen Noodles are similar to their thicker cousin the udon noodle, but are rolled and then stretched in order to create a delicate shape and texture.
"Hiyashi somen"-Somen Noodles served chilled with various garnishes such as wasabi, sesame seeds and sauces for dipping-are a summer favorite in Japan. In winter, they are enjoyed in hot broth or stir-fries and are called "Nyumen somen."
Somen Noodles have been produced commercially since at least 1750, but because the traditional hand-stretched Somen Noodles take two days to produce and are extremely labor intensive, only the very rich could afford them until the process became mechanized. Somen Noodles are sometimes aged up to 2 or 3 years. Aging is believed to make them more flavorful, and also makes them more expensive.
In Japan, diners engage in the summertime tradition of "nagashi somen," or "flowing somen." Elaborate mazes of bamboo half-pipes are erected at restaurants, festivals and even in backyards. Cold water runs through the bamboo pipes, carrying cooked, chilled Somen Noodles, which diners pick out with chopsticks and dip into sauces while enjoying the cool breezes.
This cold somen noodle salad is a staple summer dish in Hawaii, where many Asian ingredients have become part of the island state’s unique cuisine. When cooking somen noodles, you must watch them closely to make sure they do not overcook, immediately rinsing them under cold water to stop the cooking process.