Somen (素麺:そうめん) is one of many Japanese noodles. It is made with flour, water, salt and oil. There are three typical types of noodle made with flour in Japan: Udon(饂飩:うどん), Hiyamugi(冷麦:ひやむぎ), and this one – Somen.
How do we eat “Somen”? We normally eat it cold with a soy sauce based dipping soup.
What is the difference between these noodles? It’s mainly the thickness. Udon > Hiyamugi > Somen. Because the Somen is a very thin noodle, about 1 mm diametre, we add oil to help stretch out the noodle.
The thickness really changes the taste. The texture in the mouth is different, and we get a good feeling in the throat which is called “Nodogoshi (喉越し:のどごし)” , very important during the hot sticky Japanese Summer. The word “Nodogoshi” is often used for beer in Summer. The typical good “Nodogoshi” foods are cold noodles such as “Hiyamugi” “Somen” and “Soba”, “Hiyayakko / cold tofu (冷奴:ひややっこ), cold desserts like ice-cream, jelly, sorbet, “Kakigouri /very thinly shaved ice with syrup, not crushed ice! (かき氷:かきごおり).
During the hot sticky Japanese summer, we don’t have much appetite. We eat “Somen” with cold soy sauce-based dipping soup, but this recipe is with cold tomato soup, like Spanish gazpacho. If the ordinary dipping soup is not interesting enough for you, try this recipe. It’s has a slightly hot taste, and it will help your appetite in Summer.