During my past year of blogging, I’ve had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of several young, multi-talented, vivacious bloggers, from all over the world. Included are photographers, travelogue’ers, manga (Japanese cartoons) aficionados, ones who chronicle their life experiences/thoughts, and Foodies.
One such blogger who stole my heart is talented, delightful
Mimi Takano of Les Saveurs de Mimi. Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, Mimi is currently a NYU student studying media, culture and communications, as well as food studies. Mimi completed an Introduction to Foods and Food Science course, where she cooked for many hours. Mimi hopes to enroll in a culinary school.
She just returned from her semester of NYU studies in Madrid. During her stay and travels in Europe, Mimi documented her experiences in her blog. Mimi is back in her apartment kitchen to ‘whip up’ some new goodies to share with us!
I am delighted to introduce Mimi as my first Guest Post presenter.
Before I get started, I want to thank Fae so much for giving me the chance to write this guest blog for her.
Now, I don’t know about you guys, but NYC is getting pretty hot. There is no doubt that ice cream, sorbets and popsicle are a great way to cool off in this summer heat. However, we can’t really eat these ice-cold sweets for meals. So I’m here to share a good recipe that I’ve grown up eating all throughout the hot, humid summers back in Tokyo.
Sōmen, cold Japanese noodles, is one of my favorite meals during the hot months and trust me, after you make it, it’ll be yours too. Sōmen are thin (about 1.3 mm in diameter) white Japanese wheat noodles that have been stretched and air-dried. Typically, sōmen is served cold in a basket (sometimes with ice cubes) with a light flavored dipping sauce called tsuyu. Tsuyu is made from a katsuobushi (bonito flake) broth and can be flavored with different garnishes (ginger, welsh onion, etc.). Luckily, you can pick up ready-made tsuyu (Memmi) from any Asian grocery store.
Sōmen is sometimes, served in a flume of bamboo, carrying ice-cold water. This is called nagashi sōmen (flowing sōmen) and is a pretty fun meal considering that your chopsticks skills are put to the ultimate test. Catch the flowing noodles and you get to eat, don’t catch them and someone else might. Unfortunately, I don’t have a flume of bamboo lying around my apartment, so I stuck with the more typical way of serving sōmen.
So, let’s get started!
Sōmen • そうめん
Recipe by: Les Saveurs de Mimi (lessaveursdemimi.wordpress.com)
• Sōmen noodles (2 ~ 3 bundles)
• 2 ~ 3 eggs
• 1 cucumber
• 6 slices of char-siu or ham
• 3 scallions or welsh onions
• ¼ cup of tsuyu (ready-made noodle broth)
• A few drops of sesame oil
1. Break the eggs and add a little drop of tsuyu and sesame oil. Heat a small non-stick pan and pour a thin layer of the eggs into it. Gently flip it and cook until done. You want thin little egg pancakes. Repeat with all the egg batter and set aside to cool. Cut the cucumber, the ham and the egg pancakes into thin strips. Cut the scallions as well. These will be your garnish.
2. In a measuring cup (make sure it’s big) and measure out ¼ cup of the tsuyu. Add a couple of drops of sesame oil and mix. Set it aside.
3. In a big pot, bring water to a boil. Unlike pasta, it is unnecessary to add any salt to the water. Once the pot is boiling, drop in the noodles and cook as directed in the package. Sōmen cooks very fast, due to its thinness, so it should be between 2 to 3 minutes. Once the noodles are cooked, add some of the noodle water to the tsuyu. You want a 1:4 ratio of tsuyu and noodle water. Drain the rest of the noodles into a draining basket and run cold water over the noodles to cool it.
4. Now you can either place the basket over a plate and add a few ice cubes and serve it with small dipping cups of the tsuyu as a communal meal with the garnishes on the side or you can separate the noodles into the bowls and top it with the garnishes.
Now garnishing your sōmen is all up to you. If you don’t want any garnishes, you’re free to eat the noodles with just the tsuyu. The typical garnishes are simple, some sesame seeds, ground ginger, and welsh onions, but I do enjoy having some eggs, cucumber and ham on mine. It adds a little more color to the dish. I recently tried zucchini in my sōmen and it wasn’t half bad. Have some fun with it, try out some flavor combinations! The great thing about sōmen is that it seems to go with just about anything, the perfect culinary canvas!
~ どうぞめしあがれ • Douzo Meshiagare ~
Special thanks again to Fae for having me guest post, I had a complete blast! Hope to see some of you readers on my own blog. Until then, hugs and puppies! Mimi