Guest Author - Chidori Phillips
Hot summer days can suppress one’s appetite, but when you need more sustenance than a glass of iced tea, this chilled somen salad provides refreshing nutrition. Colorful fresh vegetables and protein-rich kamaboko make for a pretty and healthy addition to a bento bako or a brunch spread.
Somen noodles are packaged in small bundles. They are thin so they cook quickly in a matter of a few minutes without heating up your kitchen. Just be sure to use a large pot as they tend to foam up and over the sides of smaller pots. And stand by during the cooking process to stir and remove from heat and rinse with cold water immediately when done so the residual heat does not overcook the noodles. Not overly starchy, somen makes wonderful light hot weather eating.
Although the sauce ingredients appear scant, it is potent so little is required to dress the salad. However, you can easily adjust the amount by doubling it; just be aware to hold back on the dry mustard powder when you do. Even though the mustard is an important addition, too much will overpower the overall flavor. You can top the somen noodles with any type of thinly sliced fresh vegetables but be mindful of the color palate that makes this dish appealing to the eye.
2 bundles dried somen noodles
pinch of salt
½ cup cucumber, sliced
½ cup kamaboko, julienned
½ cup cooked ham, julienned
½ cup green peas
1 tsp. goma (toasted sesame seeds)
2 green scallions, sliced thin
½ cup lettuce, shredded
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
½ tsp. ajinomoto
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
½ Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
½ tsp. dry mustard, such as Coleman’s brand
½ tsp. sugar
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the dried somen noodles and separate them with chopsticks. Boil them for about 3-4 minutes, watching carefully as they tend to rise up and overflow the pot. They should be soft and tender but not mushy or al dente. Drain immediately in a strainer. Rinse lightly with cold water. Drain well. Place in a serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Beat the eggs with a pinch of salt. Grease a small omelet pan and fry the egg mixture, forming a thin layer of eggs. Do not scramble or flip them. Move the thin omelet to a cutting board and julienne into thin slivers.
Combine the dressing ingredients and chill.
Arrange the fresh sliced vegetables in an attractive manner on top of the cold somen noodles. Sprinkle with the goma. Chill well, at least one hour. Before serving, gently toss the dressing into the salad.