A Cool Noodle Bowl

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Are you wilting in summer heat? Here in San Francisco, our temperature is rising from the low 60s to the high 60s, which is probably our seasonal norm.

So, lucky us, it’s not so hot that we are battling sluggish appetites and cooking lethargy. But if you are, here’s my favorite solution: cold Japanese noodles.

Somen, thin Japanese wheat noodles, cooks in just two minutes–one minute in boiling water and one minute in simmering water. Soba, thin buckwheat noodles, takes a little more time—about five to eight minutes. Either is delicious served cold with a dipping sauce.

You can buy a bottle of tsuyu, a noodle broth and dipping sauce concentrate, at Asian grocery stores, online, or from the International section of some supermarkets. The label on the bottle will tell you how much water to use to thin it down—more for a soup stock; less for dipping.

You simply boil the noodles, drain and chill under running water with some ice cubes. Make a dipping sauce by diluting the tsuyu and serve with sliced green onion and nori shreds. (Toast the nori sheet over your stovetop burner following our how-to video; then use kitchen scissors to cut the nori in shreds.)

Total time to get dinner on the table should take no more than 15 to 20 minutes, start to finish. Accompany with tofu cubes to drizzle with soy sauce and a small salad, and call it a day.

Or, for a bit more effort, make a Cold Noodle Bowl.

Cold Noodle Bowl
1 package (9 ounces somen noodles)
2 cups shredded lettuce (crisp lettuce, such as iceberg or romaine)
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons naturally brewed soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon sriracha (more if you like it hot)
¼ cup vegetable oil
Condiments (see some choices below), cut in matchstick pieces or sliced
4 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

Cook somen noodles following package directions. Drain and rinse under cool running water. Let sit in colander with a handful of ice cubes to chill completely while making the dressing.

To make the dressing: in a jar with tight-fitting lid, combine vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and sriracha. Cover lid and shake to blend ingredients. Add vegetable oil and shake again until dressing is well blended. Shake again just before using.

Add ½ cup lettuce to each of 4 soup bowls. Discard any unmelted ice cubes and add the noodles, dividing equally. Top with condiments of your choice. Drizzle with dressing, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

Note: for this Cold Noodle Bowl pictured, condiments are ham, carrots, radishes, cherry tomatoes, green onion and a thin, 1-egg omelet cooked in a broad, nonstick skillet and shredded with a sharp knife.

Some Protein Choices:
Ham
Drained canned salmon
Char siu pork
Kamaboko (Japanese fish cake)
Omelet

Some Vegetable Choices:
Carrots
Cucumber
Radishes
Green onion
Cherry tomato halves
Beansprouts

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Posted: Jul 9th by Sandy_Hu