20 March 2013

Somen Noodles, Prawn and Cucumber Salad

My sister is very good at buying cookery books as presents and one little gem she got for Joe is A Little Taste of Japan. My close family are obsessed with Japanese food, my mother having spent some time living there when she was tiny, and one of the things Joe has done for me over the past ten years is hand rolled sushi for me. Knowing this my sister bought him A Little Taste of Japan to broaden our at-home Japanese cooking horizons, so on Saturday night I was treated to sushi, sashimi and Somen Noodles, Prawn and Cucumber Salad.

Well I would have been if you could get all the ingredients in a mad dash at Waitrose in Shepherds Bush... which you can't. So we were missing a few things but this salad was delicious anyway and perfectly fine without them, or with the substitutions we made. Probably another great all-round dressing to liven up a normal salad with prawn or beef and we will definitely be having this again but next time I will venture to Thai Smile to see if I can get the things we were missing.

Somen Noodle, Prawn and Cucumber Salad

Serves 4 as a starter or 2 fatties

2 Lebanese (short) cucumbers
1 tbsp dried wakame pieces*
200g dried somen noodles
12 cooked king prawns, peeled. deveined and cut in half lengthways
3 spring onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
shichimi togarashi (seven spice mix) to serve, optional*

Dressing:
½ tsp dashi granules*
125ml Japanese rice vinegar
60ml mirin
1 tsp Japanese soy sauce
2 tsp lightly grated fresh ginger
pinch of sugar
½ tsp sesame oil

* things we didn't have

We also couldn't find somen noodles so we used thin egg noodles which were yummy.

1. Cut the cucumbers in half lengthways, scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon, then slice the flesh very thinly on a slight diagonal. Put the slices of cucumber in a colader, sprinkle with salt and leave for 10 minutes before rinsing and squeezing out as much  water as you can. Chill.

2. Meanwhile soak the wakame in cold water for 5 minutes, or until rehydrated and glossy but not mushy. Drain well and chill... or skip this step if you too can't find Wakame.

3. To make the dressing mix the dashi granules with 1 tbsp hot water until dissolved. Add the rice vinegar, mirin, soy sauce, grated ginger, sugar and sesame oil and stir to combine. Chill.

4. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, then reduce and simmer. Add the noodles and cook for 2 minutes or until tender (or follow the instructions on the packet). Quickly drain and rincse under cold running water until completely cool.

5. Combine the cucumber, wakami, noodles, prawns and half the spring onion in a bowl. Pour on the dressing and toss well. Serve immediately garnished with the remaining spring onions and the shichimi togarashi.

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