Chilled Somen Noodles and Somen Noodle Dipping Sauce

Somen are thin, white noodles made with flour. It is refreshing to eat them cold. It's the ultimate summer food in Japan, when you don't have much of an appetite.

Chilled Somen Noodles and Somen Noodle Dipping Sauce
Photographed by Hideo Sawai

Recipe by
Yoshiharu Doi


Rice & Noodles



Calorie count is per serving
Excludes time spent chilling the somen noodle dipping sauce.

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 4 bundles somen noodles (200 g)
  • [Somen noodle dipping sauce]

    • 1 kombu kelp (8 cm x 8 cm)
    • 10 g bonito flakes
    • 1 ladle soy sauce (approx. 70 ml)
    • 1 ladle mirin (approx. 70 ml)
    • 4 ladles water (approx. 270 ml)
  • [Condiments]

    • ao-negi green onion, as needed
    • ginger, as needed
  • Cucumber, as needed



In a pot, combine all of the ingredients for the somen noodle dipping sauce, and slowly bring to a simmer over medium heat or lower.


Give it some time, and wait for the kombu kelp to expand. The basic recipe is 4 parts water to 1 part soy sauce to 1 part mirin.


When it comes to a simmer, skim off any foam. Dampen and thoroughly wring out a clean cloth and place it over a bowl. Pour the contents of the pot into the bowl to strain out the solids, and squeeze out the strained solids to squeeze out any additional liquid inside.


Fill a large bowl with ice water and place the bowl with the hot somen noodle dipping sauce on top of the ice water to rapidly chill it. Chilling it rapidly will help the somen noodle dipping sauce retain a better flavor.


Take care not to spill the bowl or get water into it.


Chop the ao-negi green onion into rounds, and peel and grate the ginger. Peel the cucumber and cut into rounds 1 cm thick, then blanch and transfer to cold water.


Prepare the condiments and somen noodle dipping sauce for serving by putting them into individual serving dishes.


Fill a pot with water and heat. Remove the wrappers around each bundle of somen noodles and place them in a metal tray. Prepare 100 ml of cool water.


When the pot comes to a simmer, add the somen noodles. When it comes to a simmer again, add some of the cool water to lower the temperature and stop the simmer. When it comes to a simmer once again, the noodles will be nearly finished cooking, so wait a short moment and cook the noodles to the desired firmness.


Strain the somen noodles while running the faucet in your kitchen sink. Submerge the noodles in water while cooling them with running water, and continue to rinse the noodles thoroughly once they have cooled.


Gently rub the noodles together while rinsing them to wash off excess starches, which will help keep them firm.


Serve in a glass bowl of ice water, garnished with cucumber.