Somen

Somen is Japanese noodle made of wheat flour and salts, which is very thin and white.

Flowing Somen is called "Nagashi Somen" or Somen Nagashi" in Japanese. At Flowing Somen, Somen are put in water flowing along a long bamboo gutter. You catch the noodles with your chopsticks, dip them in a cool broth, and eat them.

Flowing Somen brings you fun and cools taste at party lunch in summer season. Kids love Flowing Somen at the "Golden Week Holidays" every yea.

Preparation:

First, you get the bamboo with 5 to 6 inch diameter. At the Golden Week, you can get some bamboo shoot. Please note that the bamboo is quite heavy, so that many people is needed for transportation.

Cutting the bamboo with a saw
It is so heavy
Hit the wedge timber  at the same time

To cut the bamboo vertically, first you use a hatchet. Then, you can use a square timber. Pay attention to prevent the gutter surface twisting. To adjust the twisting, use a saw.
Break the joint using steel hummer.
Wash the bamboo gutter with running water.

Cooking:

Somen. Ibono-ito is the recommended brand.
It is not recommended to use cheap Somen brand. Cheap one is sometimes gets sticky.
Boil Somen with a big pot. Follow the instruction written on the Somen pouch.
Wash the boiled Somen to cool down in a draining basket with running water.

Dip Sauce and Seasoning. Dip sauce is made of soy-sauce, fish boiled soup, and mirin (Sweetened Sake).
But you can purchase ready-made dip sauce from Japanese food corner at Supermarket. Mitsukan and Yamasa are well-known brands in Japan.

Chopped Green Onion Chopped Myoga
Minced Sesami (White) Minced Ginger
Myoga before mincing Ready-made Sauce. Just dilute to serve.

Eating:

Server says "Ikuyo!" (Hey, somen is coming, Are you ready?) and put Somen on the top of the bamboo gutter with running water. (S)he is quite busy, since people along the stream require lots of somen.
Some portion of running somen reach to the end of gutter. But those can be recycled.
To eat a lot, it is better to stand at the right side of the running direction, since you can catch Somen more easily than being at the left side. If you are left-handed, it is better to stand on the left side. (Counter-current Chopsticks can grasp lots of somen.)



In house conditions the table can be served in another way.

Useful hints:

Nikiru means removing alcohol by boiling it.
Hitonitachi means lightly boiled.

Use cotton string to tie the end of somen together when boiling. It makes it easier to serve somen decoratively on dishes. Somen can be boiled evenly inside and tightly on the surface (aldente) by adding water to lower the temperature when somen is boiling. So that somen doesn't absorb any odor from your hands, be sure to rinse with running cold water to cool down before touching. Somen is made with kneaded wheat flour, stretched into thin strips using vegetable oil. There are 1 year somen or 3 years somen. Oil content decreases as time passes and texture becomes smoother years after made. Colored from shiso, plum, egg, green tea somen can be boiled in a short time. Wash these kinds of somen particularly carefully by hand to remove odor of oil. There is no need to wash 3 year somen by hand, just rinse. Somen yellowed or moulded are too old to use. Keep somen in a closed can, store it in cool and dark place. If somen is more than 1 year old dry under the sun to help remove odor.