We are making Abura Somen, a local dish in Amami Oshima Island. It is perfect for summer because it is quick to make and full of nutrients. The Abura Soumen with the delicious iriko-dashi broth is exceptionally delicious!
First, let's prepare the ingredients. We are using small-size niboshi or iriko, dried baby sardines so that even children can enjoy them easily. If there are large ones mixed in, remove the heads and stomachs.
Cut the satsuma-age, fried fishcake into about 5 mm (0.2") thin slices. If you don't have satsuma-age, you can use chikuwa fishcake or crab sticks. We hear crab sticks are easy to find even outside of Japan.
Cut the thin pork belly slices into 8 cm (3.1") pieces.
Cut the carrot into very thin slices 4 cm (1.6") long. Cut the onion into 5 mm (0.2") wedges and separate the layers. These green parts are the root ends of garlic chives.
Quickly rinse the moyashi bean sprouts and drain thoroughly.
Cut the garlic chives into 4 cm (1.6") lengths.
Next, let's boil the somen noodles. When the water comes to a boil, add the somen noodles. If somen noodles are not available, thin udon noodles, rice vermicelli or thin pho noodles can be used and the dish should still be delicious.
The package says the boiling time is one and a half minutes, but 40 seconds should be fine.
Remove the somen with a mesh strainer and pour over water to cool slightly.
Then place the strainer into a bowl of cold water. Rub the noodles with your hands to remove any gooey film. We are showing this step on the counter just for filming so do this under running water if you are at home.
Hit the bottom of the strainer with a kitchen towel numerous times to remove the excess water.
Next is today's useful tip! Submerge the pork slices in the hot water in which the somen noodles were cooked. This will remove the excess fat and any unwanted smell, and the salt from the somen noodles will slightly season the meat, making it delicious. Since you already have the hot water, you should definitely parboil the meat here.
Loosen up the slices with kitchen chopsticks.
When the color turns white, remove and place them onto a paper towel.
Now, let's make the Abura Somen. Heat a pan and add the olive oil. Add the dried baby sardines and saute.
When the pan is hot enough, reduce the heat to low and saute them slowly for about one and a half minutes. Stir-frying removes the fishy smell of the dried sardines and makes the dashi broth tasty. It also makes it easier to eat as an ingredient. Be careful as it is easy to burn.
When the dried sardines have become crispy, add the parboiled pork, and the firm vegetables, carrot, onion, and the root ends of the garlic chives.
Stir-fry on medium-high heat.
When the vegetables are almost cooked, add the moyashi bean sprouts and satsuma-age, fried fishcake and continue to stir-fry.
When all the vegetables have been coated with oil, add the water and bring to a boil.
Add the dashi soy sauce or mentsuyu noodle soup base.
Season it with salt but adjust the amount to your taste.
Mix and coat the ingredients with the broth thoroughly.
Then, add the garlic chives and mix well from the bottom.
Garlic chives are rich in nutrients and are effective in relieving fatigue and beating the summer heat.
As soon as the color of the garlic chives becomes bright, add the somen noodles and coat them with the broth.
To keep it healthier, we used minimal oil, but if you coat the somen with oil after boiling, the noodles will loosen up easily.
Now, serve the Abura Somen on a plate.
Finally, sprinkle with white pepper and half-ground white sesame seeds.
We used a little less noodles, but the dish is filling enough with plenty of ingredients. Enjoy the Abura Somen and beat the hot summer heat.
If dashi soy sauce isn't available, substitute the water with thick dashi broth, and the dashi soy sauce with regular soy sauce.
Stir-frying garlic and dried red chili pepper rings after sauteing the niboshi will add a bit of kick, making it more delicious.