Summer Somen!

Summer Somen!

Yukari Sakamoto, a renowned Japanese chef, educator, and food journalist, has authored an informative guidebook 'Food Sake Tokyo' with in-depth details on the city's culinary scene, perfect for food enthusiasts visiting Tokyo. This article also includes Yukari's recipe for Summer somen noodles with a quick homemade dipping sauce (tsuyu) rich in umami flavors.

Chef, educator and food journalist Yukari Sakamoto has just published a new book: Food Sake Tokyo, a fabulous guide to the city's eats. Go Yukari! I first met Yukari a few years ago; I've always learned a ton when she lectures on Japanese food. Her book reflects her deep, deep knowledge -- what I love about it is the incredible, broad and extensive details she shares, from the phrase for "juicy meat" to a detailed rundown of the stores in Kappabashi, the city's restaurant supply district, to a listing of "antenna shops" (read the book to find out what that means!) to wonderful culinary itineraries. I am so impressed by how much work Yukari has put into this book. If you're into food and heading to Tokyo, this is your guide.

When I emailed Yukari to tell her how much I liked her book, I asked if she wouldn't mind sharing a recipe or two for us here on the JFR. Yukari graciously sent me a few. First up: Summer somen noodles with a quick, homemade dipping sauce (tsuyu). What a super easy yet deeply umami-rich tsuyu. Mmmm. Here's the recipe:

(Serves 4)

3 cups dashi (use this method, or buy dashi packs at the store)
3/4 cups soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin
1 tablespoon sugar
3 cups katsuobushi
4 servings dried somen
Shredded nori (optional)
Thinly sliced fresh shiso leaves (optional)
Wasabi (optional)
Thinly sliced scallion (optional)
Ground roasted sesame (optional)

To make the somen dipping sauce: Combine the dashi, soy sauce, mirin, sugar and katsuobushi in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Strain the liquid through a cheesecloth or fine-mesh sieve. When the liquid comes to room temperature, transfer to the fridge to cool thoroughly.

Cook the somen following the instructions on the package. Somen is usally sold divided into individual serving portions, so you know how much to cook. Rinse the somen in cold running water. You can also throw a few ice cubes on the noodles to cool them further. Be careful not to overcook; somen is thin like vermicelli.

Serve the somen with the dipping sauce on the side. Garnish the noodles with the optional nori or shiso, and garnish the dipping sauce with the optional wasabi, scallion and/or ground sesame, to taste. Enjoy these refreshing noodles on a roasty summer day!

(Thanks, Yukari!)