24
Jun
10

cold somen salad

cold somen salad

It’s hot today – like “92 degree, humid, take off your sticky clothes, double shower” hot. It’s one of the downfalls of working from home and not in the luxury of a frigid over air conditioned office building.  I don’t have an air conditioning unit in my house.  It’s mainly out of laziness and economics.  Air conditioning units take up so much electricity that I could see my bill going up the roof.   Plus, it means I have to go down into the basement, search for my unit, and then lug the 1500 lb unit (ok, so I exaggerate) up the stairs and into my place.  Then, I would have to install the sucker.  So I opt to not do it.  Plus, last year I got really close to the point where the unit made it next to my bed right in front of the hole in the wall to install it.  But then I got lazy, so it became my nightstand until November when I replaced it with a real nightstand.  So, I’ve learned, out of necessity, the ways and methods to cook to stay cool and still be able to eat.  These usually are chilled foods.

When I was little, one of my meals that I would make once I got home from school was a cold somen salad.  There wasn’t much to it, I would just cook some somen, cool it off, and then throw in some soy sauce, sesame oil, and a little rice vinegar garnished with scallions.  It was on the rare days that I didn’t feel like hot noodle soup or kraft mac and cheese and the weather was just way too hot.  But that was really rare in Southern California.

I’ve learned about ingredients and flavor enhancement since my 8 and 9 year old adventures with the stove, that I’ve added a few more things than just the original 4 dishes.

Now, there is no real health benefit to this dish other than it being delicious.  You might get some from the wild sesame (perilla) seeds, but not much.  But in desperate times when the weather is 80 degrees at 7 in the morning and the humidity is starting to make the rug hairs curl, then you know healthy foods isn’t really necessary.  Plus, this should be served with a side salad to help balance out the meal and give you some nutrients.

The flavors really melt and ooze together so well on your tongue.  Not only do you get the refreshing coolness of the noodles on your tongue, but the oil, perilla seeds, and mirin just seems to coat your mouth in a layer of subtle nuttiness with a sudden rush of sweetness from the mirin and honey.  I use somen noodles because they cook real quickly, in about 5 minutes.  This makes it beautiful for hot days like this.  I don’t have to stand over a stove and boiling water for 10 minutes dying of heat exhaustion from the steam.  Also, because this dish is so simple, clean up is quick, which also means no need to have your hand in warm/hot water for a long time, trying to wash all the different pots and prep equipment.

I doubt from start to finish this dish taking longer than 5 minutes.  If it does, let’s have some private cooking lessons shall we?

~stuff

1 tsp toasted perilla or sesame seeds

1 stalk of scallion, minced

1 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

½ tsp honey

½ tsp mirin

1 bunch somen

shichimi togarashi, to garnish

~steps

boil salted water in a large pot.

combine toasted perilla or sesame seed and scallion in a mortar and pestle and grind until a paste forms and transfer to bowl.   This step is optional.

mix soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, and mirin with the scallion and seed mixture and let sit for a couple of minutes in refrigerator

add somen to pot of water and cook until tender/al dente.

blanch the somen by removing the noodles from the pot and putting them in ice cold water to completely cool

dress the noodles with soy mixture and top with a couple of dashes of shichimi togarashi

-serves 2 –

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3 Responses to “cold somen salad”


  1. 1 juyeon
    June 26, 2010 at 6:01 am

    Hiya, Scott. This is a bit different from Korean-style somen salad… I like to use thinly sliced cucumbers and sesame leaves as garnishes on top of the noodle.

    It’s so hot where I live. Is it very hot where you live??

  2. 2 mansee
    July 26, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    mmm… i love cold noodles/salads. your photo is making me hungry! have you ever gone to yunnan flavour snack in sunset park (http://www.yelp.com/biz/yun-nan-flavor-snack-brooklyn#query:yunnan%20flavour%20snack) ? their cold noodles and jajamien are pretty yummy. if you’re ever in the ‘hood, hit me up and we’ll go!

  3. 3 mansee
    July 26, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    p.s. still editing . . . actually, got sidetracked by some other editing work 😦 sorry. am trying to get all the editing done by the weekend, so keep an eye out for some vimeo goodness in yo’ inbox.


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