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Somen help?


Dante
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So, I can do Asian cooking so long as I avoid the noodles- meat, vegetables, nuts, spices- I'm there.

But every time I try to cook somen, it comes out as a gelatinous mass.

Last night I tried cooking my noodles for half the 3-minute recommended cooking time and still ended up with noodle jello (granted, my wife didn't mind, but still- I find a weak area in my cooking, I need to fix it).

Anyone got any good tips for the somen-challenged? :sad:

Sincerely,

Dante

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Whether to rinse somen under running water after cooking depends on the use. If you use somen in a cold dish, rinsing is mandatory. Rinse well with several changes of water until the somen is cooled. If you put somen in hot soup, however, you don't have to rinse it.

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I think you have to be extra careful to "separate" the somen as you drop them into the boiling water. - just sort of rain them down in an endless curtain of somen!

I don't measure the time, I drop about half a cup of cold water into the pot twice as it comes back to the boil. Three times it the norm for dried noodles, but some somen are very fine and don't need that long - test after the second lot of cold water, and decide whether or not they are ready.

I agree, always drain and rinse. I find it takes too long to cool a good amount of noodles under the tap - drain and dump in a bowl of cold or even iced water, rubbing the noodles together as if you were washing them - they won't break up.

I dump noodles into cool water once, even when I'm going to use them in a hot dish (there are hot somen dishes :shock: ).

You can then drain again and continue under the tap or with a fresh bowl of cold water if you want. Having them in a bowl of water rather than under the tap makes it easy to grab some noodles and arrange them nicely on the serving dish (where I cunningly conceal a few ice cubes in summer). For family use, a bowl of iced water with a seasonal leaf or flower floating on it is a perfectly fine serving dish for somen.

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I think you have to be extra careful to "separate" the somen as you drop them into the boiling water. - just sort of rain them down in an endless curtain of somen!

I don't measure the time, I drop about half a cup of cold water into the pot twice as it comes back to the boil. Three times it the norm for dried noodles, but some somen are very fine and don't need that long - test after the second lot of cold water, and decide whether or not they are ready.

I agree, always drain and rinse. I find it takes too long to cool a good amount of noodles under the tap - drain and dump in a bowl of cold or even iced water, rubbing the noodles together as if you were washing them - they won't break up.

I dump noodles into cool water once, even when I'm going to use them in a hot dish (there are hot somen dishes  :shock: ).

You can then drain again and continue under the tap or with a fresh bowl of cold water if you want. Having them in a bowl of water rather than under the tap makes it easy to grab some noodles and arrange them nicely on the serving dish (where I cunningly conceal a few ice cubes in summer). For family use, a bowl of iced water with a seasonal leaf or flower floating on it is a perfectly fine serving dish for somen.

I know, you are talking about bikkuri mizu (surprise water), right? Like I said elsewhere, this water is a remnant of the days when a kamado was used and heat control was difficult. I don't put surprise water any longer. Just lower the heat, that's all.

You are talking about nyumen (にゅう麺) (somen in hot soup), right? I browsed through proper recipes for making nyumen, and I found somen needs to be boiled hard and then rinsed before being added to soup. But I know some lazy cooks (not me) simply boil somen in soup.

Finally, when did you become a host, Helen? Was there an official announcement?

Let me say, "Congratulations!" :biggrin:

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So, I can do Asian cooking so long as I avoid the noodles- meat, vegetables, nuts, spices- I'm there.

But every time I try to cook somen, it comes out as a gelatinous mass.

Last night I tried cooking my noodles for half the 3-minute recommended cooking time and still ended up with noodle jello (granted, my wife didn't mind, but still- I find a weak area in my cooking, I need to fix it).

Anyone got any good tips for the somen-challenged?  :sad: 

                                                                    Sincerely,

                                                                          Dante

The most instructive info is at www.justhungry.com - always dump your somen in ice water after cooking - check it out

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I'm not familiar with the dumping method. The thing is that the slimy starch on the surface of the noodles must be removed by rinsing them under running water, rubbing them against each other with your hands, with several changes of water, so that the starch does not turn to glue when the noodles are cooled. This goes for all other types of Japanese noodles, hiyamugi (thicker than somen), udon (thickest of the three), and soba and ramen noodles (when making hiyashi chuka). As I said upthread, when you put the noodles in hot soup, you usually don't have to do the rinsing. Anyway, that's how noodles are handled in Japan.

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