april 21, 2009

For the past week, the weather in LA has been unbearably hot. With our mom coming over for dinner, we thought that cold somen noodles would be a perfect meal to combat the heat.

These noodles are kind of a fun dinner to eat. Everything is served in separate bowls and dishes and as you eat, you’re left to decide how much of each ingredient you want to have. The somen noodles are served in a bowl with ice water. Relishes are each in their separate dishes. Pick up any combination of relishes you want and place them into the dipping sauce. Next, take a biteful of somen noodles and swirl it around in the dipping sauce before eating it. Refill your dipping sauce with the relishes as necessary.

Cold Somen Noodles with Grilled Tofu

4-5 servings of somen noodles

Dipping Sauce
7 tbs mirin
1/2 tsp salt
7 tbs soy sauce
a handful of shaved bonito
1 2/3 cups water

small cucumber
3 eggs
2 inch piece of ginger
spring onion

Grilled Tofu
12 oz firm tofu
4 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs sesame oil
2 tbs rice wine vinegar
1 inch piece of ginger
2 cloves of garlic
pinch of salt

To make the dipping sauce, bring the mirin to a boil to evaporate the alcohol. Add the salt and soy sauce and stir gently to mix. Add the shaved bonito and let simmer for a minute. Add the water and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook over high heat for 3 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and strain to remove the bonito shavings. Let cool and chill in the refrigerator.

To prepare the cucumber garnish, cut the cucumber lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds in the middle with a small spoon. Next, cut the cucumber into thin slices. Sprinkle with salt and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse in cold water and drain.

For the grilled tofu, slice the tofu into 3/4″ pieces. Blot the tofu pieces dry with a paper towel. Combine the remaining ingredients in a shallow baking dish. Usually we add a bit of mirin into the marinade, but since the main noodle dipping sauce already had mirin, we decided to leave it out of the tofu. Allow the tofu pieces to marinade for at least 15 minutes. When ready to grill the tofu, pat the tofu dry and lightly brush both sides with canola oil. Now they’re ready to be grilled (we used our Le Creuset stovetop grill…they can also be pan fried).

To prepare the eggs, we just made a simple, thin omelette (3 whites, 1 yolk) and cut it into thin slices. For the remaining relishes, grate the ginger and thinly slice the green onions. Cook the somen noodles according to the directions on the package. Rinse under cold water immediately when done.

When ready to serve, place all the relishes in individual dishes. Place the somen noodles in individual serving bowls with ice water. The dipping sauce should also be served separately with an ice cube or two in each bowl. Enjoy!

Our mom also brought us some fresh strawberries (all the way from San Diego). So we ended our meal by eating them with some vanilla ice cream.

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