If you are Hawaiian or Japanese American there is a good chance that you have had somen salad. It is one of my favorite dishes for a hot day, because the noodles are served cold. I wasn’t sure my kids would eat this, because there are a lot of vegetables they don’t typically eat, like cucumber, carrots, and green onions. Thankfully, I subbed spam for Kamaboko (pink and white fish cake), and we were all good after that. If you aren’t sure your kids will like a meal, always put in spam.
I found this was a great dish to serve at the dinner table with the ingredients in individual dishes, and then to let the kids pick their own servings. One note, always keep the sauce separate from the noodles until serving. If you mix in the whole bowl of sauce into the noodles, then all the sauce will get soaked up. If you are using rice vinegar, the longer the noodles are soaked in the sauce then the more of a vinegar taste you will end up with.
All the vegetable items are totally optional, though I really think you need something crunchy like cucumbers or carrots to really appreciate the dish. The good thing about serving it at the table is that kids will pick and choose what they want to add to their plate anyways.
Somen Salad for Kids
- 5 bundles somen noodles (dried)
- 1/2 cucumber
- 1 carrot or 5 small carrots
- 1 container spam
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 4.5 tbsp soy sauce add more if you want it saltier, and if the you don't want as much of the rice vinegar taste in y our somen salad.
- 4 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 1 cup chicken broth
- Get the ingredients. Not shown are eggs and chicken broth.
- Peel (if using regular sized carrot) and julienne the carrot
- Cut cucumber seed portion out of the cucumber, and then cut into thin strips (julienne).
- Cut spam into thin strips
- Crack the eggs and stir them for scrambling
- Fry the spam for about 2 minutes on medium heat, stirring the spam while it is in the pan. Put on plate when completed.
- I would leave a little bit of oil in the pan from the spam, and then add in the eggs. Resist the urge to really mix the egg, just leave as it hardens up. You want the egg cooked, but in a shape you can cut it for serving. Fry until egg is cooked through on medium-low heat. You can cover the egg with a pan cover to steam it quicker, that way the top of the egg gets cooked faster.
- After the egg is cooked, remove from pan. Wait for the egg to cool down and then cut into thin strips (will look like the spam thin strips).
- Get the somen noodles and rinse them under water to get the starch off the dried noodles (starch is on almost all dried noodles). Do not worry if you forgot to do this, your somen salad will still taste great.
- Boil water for the somen noodles. When the water reaches boiling add the somen noodles.
- The noodles are super quick to cook, they are about maybe 2 minutes total of cooking. Your package should say how long it takes to cook them, but I have mostly seen about 2 minutes in the pot. You want the noodles to taste a tad hard, but not crunchy at all. You also don't want the noodles to feel limp, you want a little structure to them. Strain the noodles.
Cook Somen Sauce
- Mix sugar, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil, and chicken broth
- Put the cucumbers, carrots, spam, and egg in a serving dish. Not all people like sesame seeds, so I just put it on the table for anyone that wants it.
- Put noodles in the individual bowls.
- Put the somen sauce on the table with serving spoon.
I got this recipe from Kathy at Onolicious Hawai’i, and I adapted it to make it kid tested and approved. She has awesome instructions on her blog for making the full-featured somen salad.