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Cold Somen Noodles With Garlic, Tomatoes and Peperoncino
Rice, Noodles or Bread?
Here in Japan and the rest of Asia, a meal without rice is considered incomplete, which is why it's not too surprising that the word for "meal" in Japanese literally translates to "rice". So asking someone if they'd eaten translates to "Have you eaten rice?". It's true.
Of course times are changing along with the modern taste buds of the new generation. In place of rice, noodles often take center stage and at Western restaurants, bread is always king. As for me, I've never really given it much thought because I simply love all kinds of food. As long as it tastes good, I don't really have a preference.
This is the reason why I find myself playing around with all sorts of ingredients, mixing up ingredients from around the globe, sometimes creating rather inedible concoctions. However it is fortunate that most of the time, they turn out rather interesting and sometimes mind-blowing good!
What About You?
Which Do You Prefer?
Japanese Somen Noodles
Take this recipe for example. I craved pasta but only had Japanese Somen Noodles. I figured they're similar to Capellini so decided to swap the two. I pretty much stuck to this classic recipe, which is basically pasta with garlic, olive oil and chili peppers. It's a super simple dish but works for me when I want something light and refreshing. Oh, I also added some fresh tomatoes, but that's totally optional.
When working with Somen Noodles, the key is in the timing. Never, ever overcook Somen. Overcooked Somen is just as bad as soggy spaghetti, perhaps even worse. You see, Somen cooks in approximately 3 minutes, sometimes less. Any more and they start to become soft. Cook them any longer and they literally melt in your mouth and that's not really a good thing!
However that's also the beauty of Somen. The thin and delicate strands of noodles cook so fast, you'll have lunch on the table in a flash! Seriously, they are the quickest noodles you can make.
Although I've kept this recipe simple, you can enjoy Somen with your favorite pasta sauce, such as Marinara, Bolognese and even Carbonara! Enjoy and Buon Appetito!
- 300 grams somen noodles
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 red chili pepper, de-seeded and chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- First, cook somen noodles according to package directions, usually 2-3 minutes. Drain, rinse in cold water and set aside.
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in skillet. Add garlic and chili peppers and sauté for 1 minute.
- Add the drained somen noodles and toss to coat.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with some grated Parmesan cheese if desired.