Somen Noodles

Cold somen noodles are a staple dish on a hot summer day! Enjoy with an umami-rich dipping sauce and your choice of condiments.

Somen Noodles
Photographed by Taku Kudo

Recipe by
Kazuko Goto




Rice & Noodles



Calorie count is per serving.
Excludes time needed to reconstitute the dried shiitake mushrooms and chill after simmering.

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 4 bunches somen noodles (200 g)
  • [Dipping sauce]

    • 400 ml dashi
    • 50 ml mirin
    • 2 tbsp usukuchi soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp soy sauce
    • 5 g skipjack shavings

      *Packed into a tea filter bag.

  • 3 eggs
  • A pinch of salt
  • A dash of vegetable oil
  • [Simmered shiitake]

    • Note

      *Makes one batch.

    • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms
    • 300 ml dashi
    • 2 1/2 tbsp sugar
    • [A]

      • 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
      • 1 1/2 tsp usukuchi soy sauce
      • 1 tbsp mirin
    • Konbu kelp, as needed

      *Left over from making dashi.

  • 1 cucumber (cut into thin strips)
  • [Condiments]

    • Myoga (cut into thin strips), as needed
    • Japanese green onions (chopped), as needed
    • Shiso leaves (shredded), as needed
    • Young ginger (grated), as needed



To prepare the dashi, start by soaking 30 g of konbu in 1.8 L of water for 8-10 hours.


Pour the konbu and water into a pot, place over medium heat, and skim off any surface scum that may appear. Remove the konbu just before the water comes to a boil and then add 30 g of skipjack shavings. Return to a gentle boil and immediately turn off the heat.


Line a strainer with paper towels and set over a pot. Strain the dashi. Make sure to wrap the skipjack shavings in the paper towels and squeeze tightly to get all the umami out.



Make the [Dipping sauce]. Add the ingredients to a pot and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the bag containing the skipjack shavings, and cool.


Adding extra skipjack shavings to the dipping sauce boosts its umami.


Make the shredded egg crepe to be used for garnish. Beat the eggs and add a pinch of salt. Coat a frying pan with a dash of vegetable oil and pour in a small amount of beaten egg. Swirl evenly around the bottom of the pan to form a thin layer, like a crepe. When the edges begin to set, flip over and cook the other side. Repeat the process until you've used up all of the beaten egg mixture. Once cool enough to handle, stack the crepes and cut into thin shreds.


Make the [Simmered shiitake]. Rinse the dried shiitake and reconstitute in plenty of water. Remove the stems and cut the caps into thin slices. Add the shiitake and dashi to a saucepan and simmer for 3-4 minutes over medium heat. Add the sugar and simmer for another 3-4 minutes, then add [A] and use the konbu from making the dashi as a drop-lid. Simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes, until there's barely enough liquid to cover the shiitake. (Add extra water if necessary during simmering.) Allow the shiitake to cool in the liquid and soak up the flavor.


Use the konbu left over from making dashi as a drop-lid to infuse the shiitake with more umami.


Add the somen to a pot filled with an ample amount of boiling water and cook according to the directions on the package. Drain and rinse under running water to chill, rubbing the noodles together. Arrange the somen in a dish filled with ice water. Serve with the shredded egg, [Simmered shiitake], cucumbers, [Condiments], and the [Dipping sauce].


Both the [Dipping sauce] and [Simmered shiitake] can be stored in the freezer. Prepare a large batch and freeze for later use in various recipes.

[Somen noodles need to be chilled right away!]
The essence of somen noodles is in how smoothly and easily they go down your throat when you swallow. To achieve this sensation, make sure to drain the somen noodles immediately after boiling, and rub them under running water to both chill and firm.