Today somen, Japanese Summer chilled vermicelli, with two particularities.
I have finer and better noodles than average. They are more expensive because they are still made traditionally.
手延そうめん tenobe somen. Hand-pulled vermicelli noodles.
On the site of the brand 揖保乃糸Ibonoito (click here) you can see old prints of hand-making of these noddles. They have been introduced in Japan from China hundreds of years ago.
Here is a series of videos on how they are actually made now. Yes, there are 11 videos. Needless to say I’m not going to make mines so soon.
I have seen this in a shop. I made carrot juice to make the tsuyu (dipping sauce). I’ve simply added grate fresh young ginger and a little shoyu soy sauce to the juice.
Garnishing items : goya squash, red sweet chili, molokheya leaves, eringi tsukemono and tomato agar.
It’s called kake-somen or bukakke-somen when you pour the tsuyu on top.
糸こんにゃく (itokonnyaku) or しらたき(shirataki). They are noddles made of konnyaku. Shirataki means white waterfall as that’s what they look like. And who doesn’t want to eat a fresh mountain torrent in this season ?
Myoga, a veggie related to ginger. Delicious raw.
The noodles are sold in bundles that can unfold or not if you want to cook them in a hot pot. I simply rinsed them in cold water.
That’s a food without calories and it’s popular in the West some diet extremists. I don’t eat konnyaku in order to stuff my face without getting the calories. The food is appreciated in Japan for its texture and the lack of flavor that allows you to match to any flavorful food. A perk is konnyaku fiber favors smooth digestion.
These noddles, served chilled are very refreshing.
The tsuyu (dip sauce : dashi broth + soy sauce + mirin) with grated daikon radish. All the flavor comes from it so the tsuyu has to be coarse. I added green yuzu slices and the myoga.
Natto with mustard.
A small gaspacho.
Bought black gomadofu (black sesame tofu). You can make yours (recipe). This one is sweet. I served as dessert it with a yamamomo berry.
Oroshi udon literally means grated udon. That’s not that the noodles are grated, but because some grated daikon radish (oroshi daikon) garnishes them. It’s very refreshing and many Japanese style fast-food offer this dish : chilled udon noodles, grated daikon and tsuyu sauce.
細うどん hosoi udon, thin udon noodles. They are said to be Kyoto style udon, but they are popular in Osaka too. I think thicker udon is better for Winter dishes and these are more refreshing.
The grated daikon radish, cut negi leek greens a few flakes of togarashi chili.
I made a fish flake dashi (recipe here), flavored with soy sauce and a little brown sugar. Served chilled.
つけ麺 tsukemen, that’s noodles unseasoned (often chilled) served with a tsuyu (dipping soup). As that’s much lighter than noodles served in the soup, it’s a common Summer dish.
Chuka soba or ramen (Chinese noodles). I buy them fresh and cooked, but they need a refreshing. I pass them 1 minute in boiling water, then refresh in ice water. And serve. That changes totally the texture.
Fresh traditional style miso. I’ve used it for the onion miso tsuyu
It’s very simple. I cut 1/2 onion, grated 1/4, added very little water and cooked till onions changed of color, added the miso and iced water to refresh.
Garnishing items : goya (sliced bitter squash), mitsuba leaves, cut negi leeks and abura-age (fried tofu). It’s Kyoto style abura-age, delicious just like that.
Japanese tempura would be related to Christian Lent. That sound weird but it seems the dish appeared when the Portuguese Jesuits visited the reclusive Japan of 16th century and brought many new things. The habit of frying food in batter is one of them. Particularly, the missionaries would do donuts for the Carnival preceding tempora (Lent in kitchen Latin), so the Japanese associated fried food and the word tempora, tempura~whatever and it became tempura. Maybe.
Greens. Fresh herbs and veggies.
Fried into tempura.
It’s totally plant-based as it’s a simple eggless tempura batter. The batter is flour, ice cold water and tempura baking powder that I bought. It is like ordinary BP with turmeric added for the color.