Chilled Somen with Shrimp and Mushrooms

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Something fun, easy, and pretty to decorate your favorite dishes:
Cut the root from a green onion. Make two parallel slices, about 1 1/2 inches long, through the length of the onion. It will look like a little onion brush. Trim away the “handle” so the “bristles” hold together. To make it curly, put it into a glass of water with a pinch of salt.
Chilled Fine Noodles with Shrimp Mushrooms
Hiyashi Somen

from: Japanese Cooking
a Simple Art
Shizuo Tsuji
page 457
2 servings
  • 7 ounces (200 grams) somen
  • ½ pound shrimp (225 grams) cooked and peeled
  • 2 large simmered shiitake, cut in half and thinly sliced

Dipping Sauce

  • 1 cup dashi
  • ½ cup mirin
  • ¼ soy sauce
  • small handful of small dried shrimp

Condiments

  • 1 Tablespoon wasabi horseradish
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped green onion

Boil the noodles according to package directions. Drain in a colander and wash well with your hands under cold running water. The key is to wash the starch off so the noodles don’t stick together. I chill the noodles, and inevitably they stick together after taking them out of the fridge: no worries though because a quick rinse restores them to their slippery noodle-y-ness.
If you are lucky enough to live where you can buy good large shrimp, cut them in half diagonally. Here, in the middle of the U.S. shrimp are generally available only as shrimp-sized and frozen. (Note, though, that lately there has been a bit of fresh-water shrimp farming beginning and those are fresh and large.) Mr. Tsuji indicates that he leaves the tails attached.
The dipping sauce is best made the day before. Combine dashi, mirin, shoy sauce, and dried shrimp in a medium-sized pan. Simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate.
To serve:
Use individual glass dishes for the noodles. Use tongs (or your fingers) to pick up a small mound of noodles, place them in a bowl, repeat until each bowl has several mounds of noodles. Gently pour about ½ cup of ice-water over the noodles. Tuck a few ice cubes into each bowl. Top the noodles with shrimp and mushrooms.
Serve the dipping sauce in separate small individual bowls. Pass the wasabi and green onions so each person can take what he likes.
To eat, add spicy condiments to dipping sauce. Pick up a mound of noodles and dip it into the sauce.
Chopsticks or forks work well.

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