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Cold Somen Noodles With Garlic, Tomatoes and Peperoncino

Updated on September 4, 2014
Somen noodles are a great substitute for capellini
Somen noodles are a great substitute for capellini

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?

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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!

Cooking Time

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 30 min
Yields: 2


  • 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


  1. First, cook somen noodles according to package directions, usually 2-3 minutes. Drain, rinse in cold water and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium heat in skillet. Add garlic and chili peppers and sauté for 1 minute.
  3. Add the drained somen noodles and toss to coat.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with some grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

Rate This Recipe!

5 stars from 3 ratings of Cold Somen with Garlic and Peperoncino

Please Feel Free To Tell Me What You Think. Thanks!

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    • tazzytamar profile image

      Anna 2 years ago from chichester

      Rated this 5* after eating it for lunch today!! Absolutely delicious recipe and I will definitely be making it again :)

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 2 years ago from Kansas

      Looks like a delicious recipe. I love Asian food, but do not cook myself much. This looks like an easy recipe that even I could do.

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 2 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      vespawoolf thanks so much. i hope you try it out. Let me know how it goes!

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

      This is well written. In Peru rice is also a staple, but I prefer noodles. I like the idea of this dish, plus I have the ingredients in my pantry!

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      SheGetsCreative noodles are ok in my book now and then. I like to cook a plate and share it so I don't end up eating the entire plate myself.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 3 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Looks tasty! We're pretty much off noodles, rice and bread around here but I'm saving this for our next "carb day" :)

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      debW07 thanks for taking the time to comment. I hope she likes it.

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Brite-Ideas, thanks. I hope you like it. Really one of the easiest recipes I've made.

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Susan Recipes, it's my pleasure. Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment.

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Jerzimom thanks so much!

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      PaulaAtwell, actually no. Somen noodles are made of wheat while soba is made from buckwheat.

    • profile image

      debW07 3 years ago

      My daughter would absolutely love this dish! I'll have to print it out and make it. Thanks!

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      This looks simple and delicious, another recipe to add to my collection!

    • Susan Recipes profile image

      Susan 3 years ago from India

      Wow... Your hub is making me feel hungry now. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jerzimom profile image

      Cheryl Fay Mikesell 3 years ago from Ladysmith, WI

      This looks good! Now I'm hungry. :) You have such great recipes!

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 3 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      Quick question. Are somen noodles the same as soba noodles?

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Merrci, thank you. Somen noodles are like very thin udon noodles, but very similiar to capellini.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      It looks so tasty, Smine27. I've never tried Somen noodles, but will now. Are they similar to udon? Interesting how quickly they cook too. Fast and easy is always good!