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Tanabata Somen

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Tanabata (Star Festival) is basically celebrated on July 7th or August 7th in Japan. It's traditional for people to write wishes on colorful paper strips and tie them to bamboo trees on this day. The most commonly eaten food on Tanabata are somen noodles. It's said that somen noodles resemble the Milky Way or weaving threads. Chilled somen is served with colorful toppings.

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 14 oz dried somen noodles
  • *For dipping sauce
  • •1 1/2 cup kombu and katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) dashi
  • •1/4 cup soy sauce
  • •1/4 cup mirin
  • *For toppings
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 2 eggs and 1 tsp of sugar, beaten
  • 4 okra, boiled and cut into 1/4 inch thick pieces
  • 2 oz imitation crab, shredded
  • 4 small tomatoes, sliced into thin rounds

Preparation:

  1. Put mirin in a sauce pan and heat. Add soy sauce and dashi soup stock in the pan and bring to a boil. Stop the heat. Cool the sauce.
  2. Put a pinch of salt over cucumber slices and set aside for a few minutes. Squeeze cucumber slices to remove the liquid. Set aside.
  3. Oil a medium skillet and pour a scoop of egg mixture and make a thin omelet like a crepe. Make a few sheets. Cut the omelet into thin strips.
  4. Place salted cucumber, egg strips, imitation crab, tomatoes, okra slices in a plate.
  5. Boil water in a large pan. Add dried somen noodles in the boiling water, gently stirring with chopsticks.
  6. Boil somen noodles, following the package instructions. It usually takes a couple minutes. *If it's necessary, add a little bit of cold water in the pan to prevent overflowing.
  7. Drain somen noodles in a colander and cool them under running water. Wash the noodles with hands under running water.
  8. Serve cold somen in a large serving bowl.
  9. Serve dipping sauce into individual cups.

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