Monday, May 17, 2010

Nagashi Sōmen

Nagashi Sōmen is a traditional way to eat Sōmen noodles here in Japan. First a bit about the noodles. They are a white, thinly stretched wheat noodle less than 1.3 mm in diameter. Usually we eat them cold, in a dipping sauce made of katsuobushi (shaved dried bonito). We often put in some ginger root, chives, or even egg into the dipping sauce for extra texture and taste.

The nagashi is the fun part. I cut a 10m section of Moso-bamboo and split it in half, then knocked out all the nodes. We propped it up on some smaller 'boo and set up the hose to run water down it. Then we dropped small clumps of noodles down the chute. As they raced down, we tried to scoop them out with our chopsticks. Quite a bit of it ended up in the colander placed at the base. Unlike the upscale restaurants, we recycled the noodles and gave them a second chance down the flume. It was great! Then came the dessert. We took little fruit konyaku desserts (like jello but firmer) and ran them down. The kids loved it. You can also send cherry tomatoes, strawberries, or anything that is fairly round and will tumble down the chute in the stream.

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