This 15-Minute Cold Tuna and Tomato Somen is the noodle you need for summertime! With savory tuna, juicy tomatoes, and chilled umami-rich broth, you’d be happily slurping away even on a hot day. Best of all, it’s a breeze to make.
Summer in Japan can be brutal. The heat, humidity, and sweat. It’s too easy to lose an appetite on those hot days, but you have to eat and keep your energy up. The remedy? Japanese cold noodles.
Today I’m sharing Cold Tuna and Tomato Somen (ツナとトマトの冷やしそうめん), which takes just 15 minutes to prepare. Give it a try, and you’d know why slurping super cold noodles is a must in Japanese summer.
Japanese Cold Noodles
First, let me introduce a few other cold noodles that are popular in Japan. We basically live off in a variation of these cold noodles all summer long. They are light, refreshing, and yet deliciously flavorful.
What Are Somen Noodles?
Sōmen (素麺,そうめん) are white Japanese noodles made of wheat flour and they are threadlike thin, about 1 mm in diameter. To achieve the fine thin strips, the dough is stretched with the help of vegetable oil and then air-dried.
I love somen noodles for their mild flavor and pair beautifully with endless topping choices and broth. Plus, the noodles need to be cooked for just under 2 minutes! That’s a win when you try to minimize your time in the kitchen.
My Favorite Somen Brand
There are many somen noodle brands available, but the one I grew up eating is called Ibonoito (揖保乃糸).
How to Make Cold Tuna and Tomato Somen
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Somen noodles
- Canned Tuna
- Shiso (toppings, optional)
- Condiments: Mentsuyu (noodle soup base), rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil
Overview: Cooking Steps
- Make the tuna tomato topping and the noodle broth by simply combining ingredients together. Refrigerate them until you’re ready to serve.
- Cook somen noodles and rinse.
- Assemble the chilled noodles and toppings. Pour over the broth and enjoy!
Versatile Somen Recipes
The somen noodles taste rather plain, but the true joy comes from their smooth, refreshing, and slurp-worthy texture.
Today I used tuna and tomato, but feel free to change it up with other summer vegetables. Cucumber and eggplant are just as good. Instead of pouring the broth over as I did here, you could serve the broth separately for dipping.
Once you get a hang of it, you can make cold somen with all kinds of ingredients and sauces. It makes one of the perfect weeknight meals for summer. And we can say ‘give me all the noodles, even on a hot day’!
Cold Tuna and Tomato Somen
For Tuna & Tomato Topping
- ⅓ cup mentsuyu/tsuyu (noodle soup base) (1 part)
- 1 cup water (3 parts)
- Gather all the ingredients.
Optional: Make Ahead
- You can prepare the following steps several hours before you serve. In a medium bowl, combine rice vinegar and sugar and whisk well.
- Add canned tuna (without draining the oil) to the bowl and mix well with the seasonings.
- Cut the tomato into 8 wedges, then cut each wedge into 3 pieces (about ½ inch (1.3 cm) cubes).
- Add the tomato cubes into the bowl and season with freshly ground black pepper and sesame oil. Toss all together well and keep it chilled in the refrigerator.
- Cut off the stem of the shiso leaves and roll them up from the stem side. Cut them into thin julienned strings.
- Fluff them up with fingers and set them aside.
- Make the noodle broth with 1 part mentsuyu and 3 parts cold water. Keep it chilled in the refrigerator.
When You Are Ready To Serve
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. No need to salt the water for somen noodles. Once boiling, add the noodles separately (like spaghetti noodles) and cook according to the package instructions, usually 1.5-2 minutes.
- Keep stirring to make sure the noodles don't stick to each other. Control the heat so the water won't boil over.
- Once the noodles are done, drain into the colander. Quickly run cold water over the noodles to let cool.
- Once noodles are cool to touch, knead/rub the noodles between your hands several times under running water. This helps removing any excess oil from the noodles.
- Drain well and serve onto individual plates.
- Top the noodles with tuna and tomato mixture.
- Pour the broth over the noodles and garnish it with shiso leaves.
- If you have extra tuna and tomato mixture and broth (BEFORE serving), save them separately in airtight containers and store them in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. I recommend cooking noodles right before serving so they don't stick together.