Junsai Somen by Chef Jeff Ramsey

Secret Recipe: Junsai Somen

Written by Chef Jeff Ramsey

“The Japanese Issue”,  August-September 2023

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This dish is refreshing and light, without any oil. Even without using fat and strong seasoning, we can make a satisfying dish with complex aromatic qualities because of the use of dashi, which is high in umami. The umami is key to making delicate foods that have great depth of flavour.

Chef Jeff Ramsey and his Junsai Somen dish

Ingredients (for 6 Servings)

  • 60g junsai (watershield)
  • 1 piece of sudachi or lime 
  • 120g somen
  • 6 pieces of hanaho (perilla blossoms)

Somen Dashi:

  • 12g usukuchi soy sauce 
  • 2g sugar
  • 20g mirin
  • 145g katsuo dashi

Marinated Fruit Tomato:

  • 150g dashi
  • 3g katsuobushi
  • 25g mirin
  • 3g moshio
  • 1g hondashi
  • 2 pieces of fruit tomato

Method

  1. First make the somen dashi by combining the four ingredients in a small pot, heating it on medium heat, and then bringing it to a simmer. Chill the mixture over an ice bath and then store in the refrigerator. 
  2. Next, create the marinade for the fruit tomato by combining the dashi, katsuobushi, mirin, moshio, and hondashi in a pot and bringing to simmer to cook off the alcohol. Chill in a container without straining. 
  3. Peel the fruit tomato with a knife (instead of blanching) for a better mouthfeel by first cutting the tomato into six equal wedges and then inserting the knife at each corner of the wedge and pressing the knife flat against the chopping board so that it slides right under the tomato skin.
  4. Place the tomato wedges in the marinade, cover, and keep in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
  5. Now marinate the junsai by setting aside 130g of the somen dashi and placing the junsai in it. (The junsai only lasts two days in the dashi.)
  6. Zest a sudachai or small lime and add it to the remaining somen dashi. Then juice the sudachi or lime and strain the juice through a sieve to remove the seeds. Add the juice to taste to your somen dashi for a slight tangy flavour. Place your citrus spiked somen dashi in the freezer for 30 minutes before serving this dish.
  7. Make six bundles of somen noodles, bounding one end of the bundle with a small rubber band to keep the noodles together for a pretty presentation. 
  8. Cook the somen in boiling water as per the instructions on the packaging. It’s important not to overboil. When the noodles are done, strain out the hot water and plunge the somen into ice water and chill.
  9. Pick up each bundle by the bands and choke the bundles and slide your hand down to remove all the water. Then dip the bundles in the somen dashi and again remove the excess liquid. 
  10. Place the noodles on a chopping board and hack off the noodles near the rubber band. Pick up the noodles carefully and form a circle at the bottom of a serving bowl. 
  11. Place two tomato wedges in the centre of the noodles and spoon about 10 pieces of junsai around the noodles. Garnish with the hanaho.
  12. Finally carefully pour the chilled somen dashi into the bowl and serve cold.
On Taste

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