Soumen is a very popular kind of noodle in Japan, especially during the summer season. These are very thin hand-stretched strand like noodles made from wheat flour. The main specialty of this noodle is that it is served cold something which helps to bring down the body temperature in the hot summer months.
Photo: Kim Hanneman on Flickr
There are a number of brands of soumen noodles. Ibo no ito is one of the famous brands. Ito in Japanese means thread. These soumen noodles are named after the Ibo area of Hyougo prefecture of Japan from where it originated. It is produced in the Tatsuno city of Ibo district. The unique manufacturing process and the thread like structure of these noodles make it distinct from other types of noodles.
Ibo no ito Soumen
The site of the manufacturers of ibo no ito soumen noodles talk about the peculiarities and the manufacturing steps involved in the production of this noodle.
The process is explained here and you might find each of the steps, really interesting. They also have a lot of simple soumen recipes explained here. These noodles could be cooked similar to the soba or udon. But it can be served in many different ways as per your wish.
How to cook?
The way to cook soumen noodles is the same as that of udon, soba etc. these are the steps of cooking.
- Boil water in a vessel. Add some salt also.
- Put the soumen noodles into the boiling water. It will not require much cooking time since the noodles are extremely thin. 2 minutes of cooking will be enough. Please don’t overcook it. While you boil, keep stirring it to mix it, so that the noodles will not stick to each other.
- Drain the hot water and wash it in cold water until it gets cold.
The cooking process is over.
Adding cold water to cool it down.
Photo: Andy on Flickr
How to serve? ( Ways I tried)
Soumen noodles can be s in many different ways. Will share the ways I have tried.
With vegetables and meat.
Photo: Kazu Masuda on Flickr
- Make a soup of desired vegetables (cabbage,carrot, radish or anything you love ).
- Boil water in a vessel.
- Add some salt.
- Half cook the vegetables in medium flame.
- Add some dashi.
- Put the cooked soumen noodles into it.
- Make a soup of meat, fish and veggies
- Boil water in a vessel. Add some salt.
- Put the cut meat (pork, chickecn or beef) and cook it well. You may also add sea foods (oyster, fish, prawns etc.).
- Add the cut vegetables into it and let it hal cooked.
- Put the cooked soumen noodles and add some bonito shavings (Katsuobushi) into it. You may add dashi also.
Both of these are tasty ways of serving the soumen noodles in soup. A more simple and different ways to serve these noodles are with fresh veggies.
3. Along with fresh veggies
With fresh vegetables.
Photo: Megumi on Flickr
- Serve along with freshly cut vegetables and cooked meat or sea food.
- Adding some cut leeks (negi) or grinded ginger also make it tasty. Wasabi may be also added to get a different taste.
- Some tsuyu can be used along with it. The cool noodles could be eaten dipped in tsuyu.
I heard about this noodle from a friend and I was surprised thinking that why she is caring about the brand name Ibo no Ito. After preparing and eating it, I also felt that there is some speciality. Other brands of soumen are also delicious too.