Prawn and Seaweed Somen Noodles
The art of noodle making originates in China and it became popular during the Tang dynasty. Sômen noodles (from the Chinese word suomien) were first mentioned in a 13th century cookbook and then a little while later the food was introduced into Japan where it very quickly spread into common use. The recipe that was described talked of exceptionally thin noodles made of wheat dough by attaching them to two ends of bamboo sticks. The dough was coated with vegetable oil just before attaching. The oil helped to stretch the noodle even more thinly. Then the noodles dried in the open air and were cut into 20 centimetres bundles that consisted of about 4,000 noodles each. Nowadays in many parts of Japan sômen noodles are still made in this way.
Traditional Japanese cuisine is well known for its exceptional health benefits owing to a great number of dietary nutrients and easy-to-digest dishes. Sômen noodles is one of the fundamental ingredients to the cuisine. Seafood contains nutrients that are not present in terrestrial foods such as foods from a plant or animal origin. These include DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids which aid in the prevention cardiovascular diseases and dementia. Prawns are rich in B-group vitamins and minerals like zinc and selenium which promote healthy immunity. They also contain complete and highly-digestible protein providing all the essential amino acids human body needs. Seaweed is the superior source of a wide range of vitamins and digestible fibre. The latter was shown to normalise intestinal movement and host beneficial microbiota too.
So let’s start cooking and always remember you’ll need sômen-y noodles for a big family, they’ll be sure to ask for another one portion!
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- 250g/8.75oz prawns
- 100g/3.5oz somen noodles
- 1 tsp. dried seaweed
- 25g/1oz scallions, cut into 2” pieces
- 750ml/0.75 quarts water
- 7g/0.25oz dashi stock powder
- 15ml/1fl oz soy sauce
- 1 tsp. brown sugar
- Rehydrate seaweed in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes. Drain and chop into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook somen noodles for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.
- In a sauce pot, bring water to a boil.
- Add scallions and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add prawns and simmer for 2 minutes.
- Turn the heat off.
- Strain cooked prawns and scallions out of the pot. Discard scallions and leave prawns to cool.
- Stir in dashi, soy sauce, and sugar. Let stand for 2-3 minutes.
- Strain broth to a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth.
- Bring broth back to a boil if serving hot. Otherwise, chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Arrange cooked somen, shelled prawns, and chopped seaweed in a bowl.
- Ladle in hot or chilled broth.
- Top with more scallions and togarashi.