This recipe will change the way you look at somen!

Somen is a staple food of summer in Japan. A simple dish of noodles, often chilled with ice cubes, dipped into a cool tsuyu broth and eaten with light, refreshing toppings like green onions and grated ginger, it’s the ultimate cold noodle dish, and to be frank, in the midst of a scorching hot Japanese summer, you’ll almost want to eat it every day.

But of course, when you eat it too often, you’re going to get bored of it. So what do you do then? Why, turn your simple somen into fancy dishes, of course! One of Japan’s most popular somen makers, Ibo no Ito, has graciously uploaded some unique somen recipes to their website, so we decided to try them out. Some of them, like the “Avocado Soup Somen”, seemed kind of intense, so we decided to go with the more simple recipe: Canapé-style Petite Somen.

Following Ibo no Ito’s recipe, we gathered the necessary ingredients: somen, broccoli, sweet pepper, a cherry tomato, a boiled quail egg, meat sauce, white sauce, men tsuyu broth, melted butter, and powdered cheese.

Just looking at the ingredients list, it was clear that these were going to be very different from the usual somen dish. To begin with, the ingredients were very European. Red meat sauce and somen? Unheard of! Plus, a canapé is a party dish made up of toppings dressed up pretty and put on top of bread or crackers, so it was nothing like the way we were used to using somen. We were kind of excited to find out how these would taste.

We started by preparing the decorative toppings. We cut the broccoli, which we’d boiled but kept firm, the yellow pepper, the baby tomato, and the quail egg into small, bite-sized pieces that would fit on a canapé. After that, we mixed the white sauce and the men tsuyu together, so that it would be ready t use once our noodles were ready.

As our last preparatory step, we boiled the somen, rinsed it well, dumped it in ice water, then drained it. Once that was done, we were ready to prepare our canapés. We took a fork and twirled it in the somen, wrapping it tightly around the tines.

Then we placed each one into an oven-proof muffin cup. The result was already pretty! If you don’t have heat-resistant muffin cups like the silicone ones we used here, you’ll want to use disposable aluminum ones. They’ll need to resist the heat and hold their shape, so paper ones won’t do!

Next we drizzled the melted butter over each of the cups in turn, then added the meat sauce or white sauce and topped with whatever toppings we desired.

Lastly, we sprinkled some powdered cheese on top and put them in a preheated toaster oven, watching until they browned nicely. Adding pepper and parsley also provides a nice decorative touch, though we only had pepper on hand.

We made each one a little differently, and they looked so pretty when they came out of the oven! They tasted just as good as they looked too. Surprisingly, meat sauce and white sauce paired very well with the thin somen noodles.

The melted butter also turned the exterior of the noodles a little crunchy, which gave each canapé a nice texture. We did think we made ours a little big; if we could make them bite-sized, they’d be super easy to eat. But all in all, it turned out to be a really tasty recipe!

Until we tried this, we’d only really thought of somen as a type of noodle to be eaten with men tsuyu broth, but this taught us that it has so much more potential than that. We also tried a few others from Ibo no Ito’s website and realized that soumen is perfect not only for tomato-style sauces but also for various ethnic dishes.

Of course, you can’t discount the value of the noodle slide way of eating somen, which makes the process a whole lot more fun, but if you’re looking for a new way to enjoy it, Ibo no Ito’s recipe is definitely worth trying!

Source: Ibo no Ito
Images © SoraNews24

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