Easy Japanese Recipes

Somen  | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

When the weather is so hot and you lose your appetite, what do you usually end up eating?  Growing up in Asia, summers were brutally hot.  For me, my favorite go-to dishes on these hot summer days are Japanese cold noodles dishes such as somen and soba.  As you slurp Cold Somen Noodles dipped in tsuyu, you feel your body starting to cool in the summer heat.

Cold Somen Noodles | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

Sōmen (素麺,そうめん) are white Japanese noodles made of wheat flour and they are very thin, about 1 mm in diameter.  The dough is stretched with the help of vegetable oil to make very thin strips and then air dried (which is why you need rinse somen noodles after boiling).  Read more about the somen making process here.

Somen are usually served cold with a dipping sauce called Tsuyu (つゆ).  The dipping sauce is same Japanese dashi-based broth used in hot soup, but more concentrated in flavor.  The sauce is flavored with scallions and ginger.  You can also add shiso leaf or myoga if you can find them at Japanese grocery stores.  Along with somen noodles and dipping sauce, you can also serve additional ingredients such as shredded egg crepes (see How to Make Kinshi Tamago) and julienned cucumbers and ham.

Dried Somen Noodles

Jin, my friend from middle school, sent me these packages of somen noodles from Shodo Island where he currently lives.  The pink somen noodles are made of Ume (梅), Japanese plum.  Tenobe (手延) Somen from Shodo Island has made the region famous as one of Japan’s top three producers of somen noodles.  These somen noodles are hard to get oversea, but my favorite Ibonoito brand is available in Japanese grocery stores and I highly recommend this brand.

Enjoy and stay cool!

* We usually decorate the noodles with Japanese maple leaves, but I couldn’t find them so I use maple leaves instead. :)

Cold Somen Noodles | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

Somen Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: Serves 2
Ingredients
Toppings
  • ½ inch fresh ginger
  • 1 scallion
  • Shiso leaves, thinly sliced (optional)
  • Myoga ginger, thinly sliced (optional)
Dipping Sauce
Instructions
  1. [Optional] Traditional Japanese restaurants tie up the noodles to enhance the appearance of the somen and this is how you do it. Tie the edge of somen noodles with cooking twine. This way noodles will stay in one direction while cooking. I normally skip this step for home use.
  2. Boil water in a large pot. When boiling, remove the wrapper.
  3. Add the somen noodles in the boiling water, stirring noodles with chopsticks so they don’t stick to each other. Cook according to the package instructions. If necessary, add a little bit of cold water in the pot to prevent overflowing.
  4. Drain somen in a colander and wash the noodles with hands under running water.
  5. Once noodles are cold, find the knotted parts of somen noodles and pick them up. Cut off the edge and discard. Hold each bundle gently and arrange it nicely on a serving plate. Somen can be served with ice to keep cool.
  6. Cut the scallion finely and grate the ginger. Put them in small dishes. Put Mentsuyu in small bowls and add cold (iced) water to dilute. Put small portion of scallion and ginger in the dipping sauce and dip the somen noodles to eat. Enjoy!

Leave a Comment


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  • Julie @ This Gal Cooks August 14, 2013, 7:02 pm

    This is so pretty, Nami. I bet it is good as well. I just love all of your recipes. I need to go through and make a meal plan for a weekend soon. My boyfriend and I would both love your recipes. Pinning this! :)

    Reply
  • Mich Piece of Cake August 14, 2013, 7:20 pm

    Love this cold dish. I really do enjoy cold Japanese dishes and make it often for my family. Will try this recipe soon. 99

    Reply
  • Jayne August 14, 2013, 7:39 pm

    Ah! Now I know how restaurants get their noodles all liked up so perfectly. It’s been bugging me for a while. Weird obsession of mine. Love cold noodles so much. Do you mane your own tsuyu sauce?

    Reply
  • Lokness @ The Missing Lokness August 14, 2013, 8:02 pm

    Perfect summer dish! I haven’t tried this before, but this dish sure looks good. I am saving this recipe and using it for a hot day. Thanks, Nami!

    Reply
  • Ash-foodfashionparty August 14, 2013, 8:02 pm

    Your first picture is so neat Nami. I have never had noodles like this, you inspire in so many ways for us to try different stuff. Thanks.

    Reply
  • A_Boleyn August 14, 2013, 8:16 pm

    The elegant presentation of the somen noodles elevates a simple dish into something very special. I may try tying my somen the next time I make them as I have a package in my pantry right now.

    Reply
  • Kate@Diethood August 14, 2013, 8:25 pm

    Nami, you make my mouth water each and every time! What time is dinner?!

    Reply
  • Wok with Ray August 14, 2013, 8:26 pm

    Your cold noodles look very refreshing and perfect for hot summer days. Of course the best part is that deliciousdipping sauce. Thank you for sharing another wonderful recipe.

    Reply
  • Randy Morin August 14, 2013, 8:27 pm

    Hi Nami,

    I love somen in the summer and make a somen “salad” which is a recipe my sister passed onto me originally from the LA Times. I cook 3 – 4 bundles of noodles and placed cooked noodles in a 9 X 14 baking dish. I cover the noodles with shredded lettuce, chopped green onion, kamaboku or imitation crab flakes, cooked shredded scrambled eggs, and pieces of ham. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and teriyaki type of sauce/dressing. Scoop out spoonfuls to each person. Yum.

    Reply
    • Nami August 19, 2013, 1:28 am

      Hi Randy! Yes, I eat it like Hiyashi Chuka (with eggs, crabs, shredded egg crepe, etc) too! Moms always prefer to feed some protein and veggies with noodles, so I never actually had just noodles only… no matter how hot day it was. :) Thank you very much for your kind comment!

      Reply
  • Nekona August 14, 2013, 8:41 pm

    Woohoo! You are in my neck of the woods. If you find yourself in Santa Maria try the restaurant Atari-ya! Or you could try Goshi in San Luis Obispo. :)

    Reply
    • Nami August 19, 2013, 1:30 am

      You live in such a wonderful place! We’re hoping to go back soon. I heard about Atariya and Goshi, and hope to try both one day! Thank you very much for your comment. xo

      Reply
  • Suzanne August 14, 2013, 10:06 pm

    What an interesting way to cool down, so much healthier than a cool bowl of ice cream that’s for sure. :)

    Reply
  • Joanne T Ferguson August 14, 2013, 10:06 pm

    G’day Nami and really enjoyed your post today, true!
    Loved learning the process of Somen, your recipe and would love to try making this with the homemade noodle base too! Thank you!
    Cheers! Joanne
    http://www.facebook.com/whatsonthelist

    Reply
  • nipponnin August 14, 2013, 10:17 pm

    へえー!梅そうめんというのがあるのね。試してみたいわ。涼しそう!

    Reply
  • Anne ~ Uni Homemaker August 15, 2013, 12:00 am

    I always keep plenty of somen on hand and I’m always looking for new ways to use them. This is perfect, thank you Nami!

    Reply
  • Julia | JuliasAlbum.com August 15, 2013, 12:54 am

    I actually grew up eating cold noodles during hot summers, too! I grew up in an area with a lot of Korean influence and getting a bowl of cold noodles or a cold noodle soup for lunch was very easy with all the Korean restaurants in the area. :)

    Reply
  • Sissi August 15, 2013, 4:38 am

    Gorgeous photos, as always, Nami. I especially cannot take my eyes off the last one… I went yesterday to stock on some ramen noodles and soba in my Japanese shop and I was admiring how beautifully somen noodles are packaged. Frankly speaking I have never tasted them. Your refreshing noodles with sauce look so delicious, I already regret I haven’t bought any somen yesterday. Next time!

    Reply
  • daphne August 15, 2013, 6:05 am

    I always have somen in hot soup noodles! So it is refreshing to me to have this in a cold version!

    Reply
  • minnie@thelady8home August 15, 2013, 6:13 am

    How awesome are these!! Love the noodles and the clicks.

    Reply
  • Denise Browning@From Brazil To You August 15, 2013, 7:12 am

    Nami: I am enchanted by the first picture…It is so gorgeous! I love the simplicity of the noodles which is one of my favorite Asian dishes.

    Reply
  • Shashi @ http://runninsrilankan.com August 15, 2013, 7:36 am

    I love your posts Nami – I always learn something new from them. These noodles look like a treat – for any day! Beautiful pictures!

    Reply
  • Ashley Bee (Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine) August 15, 2013, 8:00 am

    Looks like an ideal summer meal! I want to try them, I looove dipping sauces.

    Reply
  • Belinda @themoonblushbaker August 15, 2013, 8:10 am

    I find cold noodles one of the easiest things to eat ( and over eat!). this is presented in such a pretty way, how could you not want a bowl of it! I like to combine noodles types so I have plain, buck wheat and green tea on my plate. Your recipe is perfect!

    Reply
  • john@kitchenriffs August 15, 2013, 9:20 am

    I love cold noodle dishes! Or warm ones. Heck, any noodle dish has my name on it! Anyway, I haven’t had this before – sounds totally wonderful. Thanks!

    Reply
  • Tiffany | baking at tiffanys August 15, 2013, 9:22 am

    Yum, I love noodles in all varieties. This looks refreshing and so simple.

    Reply
  • [email protected] August 15, 2013, 10:08 am

    I remembered the brutally hot summer days in Asia, especially Malaysia (probably the worst humid country ever…). I love cold somen noodles, plus the dipping sauce looks delicious with shiso leaves :) Now I wonder if I can find a vegan version of Mentsuyu…

    Reply
  • Rosa August 15, 2013, 10:29 am

    I love those noodles! A great summer dish.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    Reply
  • Eileen August 15, 2013, 10:54 am

    This definitely sounds like the perfect thing to eat on a sweltering afternoon! I’ve cooked with somen before, but my concoctions have always been improvised and completely untraditional. I’m excited to give this a try!

    Reply
  • Helene @LaCuisineHelene August 15, 2013, 1:06 pm

    I have never tried but that sounds like a very good meal to eat.

    Reply
  • Nik@ABrownTable August 15, 2013, 1:13 pm

    I didn’t realize how simple this would be, this looks so delicious!

    Reply
  • Marta@What should I eat for breakfast today August 15, 2013, 3:02 pm

    I was talking about you and your blog with my friend who’s moving to San Francisco and you have a new fan in her. Cold noodles are not popular in my country. I like to visit your blog, there’s always sometjhing new and interesting here.

    Reply
  • milkteaxx August 15, 2013, 4:58 pm

    yummm i love somen noodles, perfect for hot summer days!

    Reply
  • Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious August 15, 2013, 6:20 pm

    My mom used to make this all the time but she never gave me the recipe. Now I can make it right at home!

    Reply
  • Monica August 15, 2013, 6:30 pm

    Never had somen noodles! They look so good with that dipping sauce.

    Reply
  • Hotly Spiced August 15, 2013, 7:14 pm

    I love these noodles and like you say, they’re very refreshing. I love how the noodles are presented so neatly xx

    Reply
  • Sandra | Sandra's Easy Cooking August 15, 2013, 7:17 pm

    I just pulled out of boxes last things for kitchen and there was bag of somen noodles. I was planning to make it tomorrow..I am so happy that you posted this simple recipe, Nami! You inspired me to make it for sure tomorrow!

    Reply
  • Malou | Skip to Malou August 15, 2013, 7:21 pm

    I really felt the cooling of my body when you mentioned what cold soda does to the body. Yes I remember how it felt when cold soba is slurped.

    Thanks for another easy recipe Nami!

    Reply
  • Des August 15, 2013, 10:08 pm

    I am often so overwhelmed when I go to the Asian market here in Seattle and see all of the varieties of noodles, I always wonder what different things you could do with them. I’ve often picked up these very noodles but always put them back because I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with them. Now I know. Thank you!

    Reply
  • Reem August 15, 2013, 10:53 pm

    Yum!!! This looks so refreshing Nami.
    I’m really liking tying the end of the noodles… Makes it so much easier to handle.
    B/W turquoise plate…. Love;)

    Reply
  • Jeannie August 15, 2013, 11:22 pm

    I have not tried eating this before, looks interesting! I usually go for ramen, I should try this then next time I find myself in a Japanese restaurant:D

    Reply
  • cquek August 15, 2013, 11:50 pm

    This looks so incredibly gorgeous! Love it!

    Reply
  • The Ninja Baker August 16, 2013, 2:44 am

    I just had Chuka Somen the other night with kinshi tamago and tomatoes on top. Sooo good! And your somen looks irresistible, too, Nami-san.

    Lucky you to have a friend who sends you ume noodles! 羨まし!(笑)

    Reply
  • Carlyn August 16, 2013, 3:25 am

    These cold noodles have been a favorite of mine since I lived in Japan. There is nothing better on a hot summer day !!!! Thank you for posting!

    Reply
    • Nami August 19, 2013, 1:31 am

      Hi Carlyn! I totally agree! At least we know one dish that is nutritious and appetizing on hot days. :) Thank you for your comment! xo

      Reply
  • Liz August 16, 2013, 4:16 am

    Such a gorgeous presentation, Nami! And chilled noodles sound like a fantastic option on a hot day :)

    Reply
  • Shema George August 16, 2013, 5:26 am

    I love noodles – be it hot or cold. I love reading your blog because it introduces me to so many things that I know I will love for sure
    Loved the 3rd photo!

    Reply
  • Sammie August 16, 2013, 5:43 am

    Hi Nami!! Your pictures look amazing as usual! Really love how these cold noodles look! Thanks for sharing ur recipe on how simple it actually is on preparing this! Yummy!

    Reply
  • Mi Vida en un Dulce August 16, 2013, 5:55 am

    Yes, perfect for summer time…!!! Our summers are not so hot, well, it’s for us, but when we compare with other countries, we really have a better weather. The hottest day could be 30°C, and feel we are melting :)

    Reply
  • yummychunklet August 16, 2013, 6:28 am

    Awesome looking noodles!

    Reply
  • Candice August 16, 2013, 8:07 am

    Thanks for sharing this recipe, Nami. Sometimes when it’s so hot, it’s hard to figure out what to eat. I usually just think of eating salads. I will be making this soon even though it’s never hot where I’m at.

    Reply
    • Nami August 19, 2013, 1:32 am

      Hi Candice! I know, it’s rarely hot in this area…. except for yesterday was like 90F here on Peninsula. :) Thank you for your comment!

      Reply
  • Evelyne@cheapethniceatz August 16, 2013, 10:18 am

    My tendency in warm weather is to go towards salad but I will have to try cold noodles! These look great and I love the pink plum ones. I bought soba noodles this week so have to make something :-)

    Reply
  • Elizabeth @Mango_Queen August 16, 2013, 10:30 am

    What a delightful dish with Somen Noodles. I haven’t tried the pink noodles yet. Is this just available in Japan? There is a large Japanese grocery in our area – Mitsuwa and I might go look for these ingredients there. Must try it soon. Thanks for sharing and happy weekend, Nami !

    Reply
  • Priscilla | ShesCookin August 16, 2013, 12:35 pm

    When we were in Shanghai they were having record breaking heat (hottest since 1898!!). I went on one culinary tour where we visited 4 hole-in-the-wall noodle places, but they all served HOT noodles :-/ Cold noodles are special to Japan I guess. Love those pink ume noodles!

    Reply
  • Laura (Tutti Dolci) August 16, 2013, 12:39 pm

    Somen looks perfect for hot days, I love the dipping sauce!

    Reply
  • Allison (Spontaneous Tomato) August 16, 2013, 2:15 pm

    I never thought about how to easily cook noodles together in bundles without them getting tangled before! Interesting—thanks for the tip! (Though it’s true; that’s not really necessary unless you really care about the presentation of a particular meal.) I loooove zaru soumen… it was just about the only thing I could bring myself to consume during July/August in Japan.

    Reply
  • Cristina August 16, 2013, 2:53 pm

    I always learn something when I visit your site, Nami! I could dig into that beautiful plate of cold noodles. I actually have some of those noodles in my pantry…but didn’t know really what to do with it! Now I do!! :)

    Have a lovely weekend. -x

    Reply
  • Lynna August 16, 2013, 3:29 pm

    So, that`s how you eat somen noodles! I never knew you dipped it in the sauce. This really does look like a great dish for summer.

    Reply
  • Stephanie August 16, 2013, 4:38 pm

    This looks sooooo delicious for the hot weather that we’ve been having! Also, I love the pink!

    Reply
  • Baby Sumo August 16, 2013, 7:02 pm

    I love cold somen too, so refreshing to eat during the hot summer days. Thx for sharing the tip about how to tie the ends of somen for a nicer appearance.

    Reply
  • Amy Tong August 16, 2013, 9:12 pm

    My family loves somen and I cook it quite often. But I usually prepare them as noodle soup. Didn’t know I can make cold noodles with it. (I usually make cold soba noodles only) I’ve gotta give this a try next time. The smooth and silky texture of the somen must be wonderful in this cold noodle dish. I agree, the heat in the summer in Asia is just unbearable. It’s consider really mild in the west cost here, especially in your area. :)

    Reply
  • Maureen | Orgasmic Chef August 17, 2013, 1:29 am

    I love the way they are tied so that presentation will be Japanese perfect. Nobody presents food like Japanese cooks and chefs. It’s always beautiful.

    Reply
  • Ramona August 17, 2013, 4:09 am

    I love all your cold noodle dishes. I especially love how they are dipped like this so everyone can customize their own flavor. Looks great. I have learned more about noodles now.. must check it out at my local Asian store. :)

    Reply
  • Helene D'souza August 17, 2013, 4:49 am

    My husband has been requesting these noodles and I wasn’t sure how to prepare them Nami. I have seen green matcha noodles like this the other day too. Colorful once look so pretty no? =D Thank you for sharing and I wish you a nice weekend!

    Reply
  • Daniela August 17, 2013, 9:14 am

    I’ve never had a cold noodle dish ( except for noodle salads) but this one looks gorgeous and perfect for summer. It’s definitely a must try!

    Reply
  • Muna Kenny August 17, 2013, 11:08 am

    I had cold thin noddles in seasoned milk with saffron and cardamom when I was in India. I can’t wait to try your recipe since it’s boiling hot here :)

    Reply
  • Monet August 17, 2013, 4:09 pm

    What a great way to stay cool. I just picked up some soba noodles today to make a cold soba salad tomorrow for lunch. Next time? Somen! Thank you for sharing, my friend!

    Reply
  • Sandra August 17, 2013, 4:32 pm

    Sounds good in any type of weather.

    Reply
  • Raymund August 18, 2013, 1:04 am

    Now thats the trick in having the noodles arranged so well. I got to try that

    Reply
  • Bam's Kitchen August 18, 2013, 1:04 am

    Nami-san, I am so excited to read this recipe! Guess what I have in my pantry and I was waiting for the right recipe to make them? Pink somen noodles made of Ume and my noodles are made by the same company you have in your photo. Love your idea of keeping the noodles in a perfect loop. Beautiful! Are you back home now or are you still in Yokohama? Ja Mata,

    Reply
  • Riitta August 18, 2013, 1:26 am

    Thanks Nami, these are going straight to my lunch menu list! (I work from home, so I’m always looking for new great lunch ideas.)

    And I really adore your pots and serving dishes, are they from Japan?

    Reply
    • Nami August 19, 2013, 8:58 pm

      Hi Riitta! If you are talking about today’s post, they are from Daiso, which is a Japanese dollar store. I don’t think it was exactly $1 (Prices are between $1 to 5 ish?), but still it was a great deal. :) I brought some dishes and pots back from Japan this time and some of dishes and pots come from Japan, especially if it’s after late 2012-2013. :)

      Reply
  • Kumar's Kitchen August 18, 2013, 5:13 am

    it is such a pleasure to learn so much about the rich heritage of Japanese cuisine from your blog, never knew that there exists pink somen made from plum and that it is decorated with Japanese maple leaves,noodles look beautiful and thanks for these information,love to learn them…HAVE A GREAT DAY!!! :-)

    Reply
  • Min August 18, 2013, 5:43 am

    I LOVE slurping on somen noodles dipped in that sweet and salty sauce. I’ve been meaning to make some naengmyeon and this sounds perfectly refreshing and light as well. I appreciate you sharing your tip on tying the ends of the noodles! Brilliant! I’ll be on the lookout for the Ibonoito brand. The pink noodles your friend sent you are absolutely gorgeous. Plum tasting somen…very intriguing.. Hope you have a wonderful, relaxing Sunday, Nami!

    Reply
  • Jasline @ Foodie Baker August 18, 2013, 6:54 am

    Hi Nami, this looks delicious! Yes, weather in Asia is so hot! Really need a bowl of this noodles to cool down ;)

    Reply
  • gloria August 18, 2013, 7:12 am

    This look beautiful I m sure here I can find these noodles!
    Nami what beautiful is japanase food:)

    Reply
    • Nami August 19, 2013, 9:01 pm

      Thank you Gloria! :)

      Reply
  • Natasha @ The Cake Merchant August 18, 2013, 8:58 am

    I’ve seen these packages at the local asian store, but never knew what they were. I will definitely have to try this recipe!

    Reply
  • Kiran @ KiranTarun.com August 18, 2013, 9:42 am

    LOVE the idea of cold noodles dipped in sauce! Yum!

    Reply
  • Holly | Beyond Kimchee August 18, 2013, 10:25 am

    I love the idea of tieing the noodles for better presentation. I usually take some portion of noodles and wind up around my fingers to get the nestled look. Very refreshing recipe!

    Reply
  • Laura | My Little Gourmet August 18, 2013, 11:32 am

    These sound like the perfect summer dish Nami! So simple, yet by the looks and sound of it incredibly tasty. If I can get my hands on the ingredients over here in Germany I will have to try these out. Thanks!

    Reply
  • Serena @Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch August 18, 2013, 2:43 pm

    Hi Nami, Your Somen noodles look amazing and I love the step by step instructions. I would have had no idea to leave the strings tied on the end to make it easy for presentation! Great photo’s!

    Reply
  • GourmetGetaways August 18, 2013, 3:19 pm

    You have a gift of being able to make the simplest dishes look absolutely amazing!!
    I have some of these noodles in the pantry so I will be trying them out in Summer, thanks for sharing :)

    Reply
  • mjskit August 18, 2013, 7:55 pm

    I’ve seen these noodles but never knew enough about them to actually buy them. I figured if I did they would sit in the pantry. Thank you for this wonderful post. Now I know what to do them and it looks good! Love the simplicity of a meal like this. So lovely and tasty. I’ve learned so much from you Nami! Thanks!

    Reply
  • My Kitchen Stories August 19, 2013, 4:12 am

    Sorry I havent been to visit in a while. I look forward to your pictures from Japanese. i never think of eating cold noodles …but why not ?

    Reply
  • Rachel Cotterill August 19, 2013, 9:24 am

    I haven’t really tried cold noodles – I’ll have to give this a go :)

    Reply
  • Linda | The Urban Mrs August 19, 2013, 3:39 pm

    Cool idea! I never thought of that when cooking somen. I used to tear all the paper pieces, just like cooking pasta.

    Reply
  • Asmita August 19, 2013, 8:01 pm

    I love the simplicity of this dish. Superb!

    Reply
  • Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen August 20, 2013, 12:26 am

    Nami, what a simple cooling dish absolutely packed with flavour. Your food is a real treat and I always learn something new about a cuisine that I don’t encounter here very often.

    Reply
  • Sonia aka Nasi Lemak Lover August 20, 2013, 5:57 am

    I bought Somen before but I don’t know how to cook with it, so I simply cook it the Chinese way of soupy type, so next time I know what to do after you showed on how to enjoy them.

    Reply
  • Juliana August 20, 2013, 1:39 pm

    Wow Nami, this somen is just perfect, light and refreshing…a beautiful meal for the season.

    Reply
  • Reese August 22, 2013, 9:22 pm

    I though I’ve seen all sorts of noodles, but pink noodle? Definitely the first I’ve seen. It’s so dainty and pretty! Do Japanese decorate the noodles with maple leaves year round?

    Reply
  • TheKitchenLioness August 28, 2013, 3:09 am

    Nami, your recipes for the cold noodle dishes are so very appealing – I love them although I have never even made them and I love that trick about tying one end of the noodle bundle with cooking twine in order to keep the noodles “organized” – love learning something new every time I come here!

    Reply
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