Aug 08, 2023
Ultimate somen that changes the concept of somen
As long as it calls itself “somen cuisine,” somen is the most important ingredient for ON TOKYO.
In choosing the somen, we consider “deliciousness”, “healthiness” and “beauty”.
For these three simple reasons, we chose Yamakatsu's noodles from Miwa Yamakatsu Seimen in Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture.
However, Yamakatsu's repeated efforts to make the noodles are not simple, and incorporate various ingenuity to maintain the deliciousness. We would like to introduce the thoughts of the producer, Mr. Katsuyama Yamashita, who we visited the production site and a part of the work that supports "deliciousness and healthiness".
Representative brand of Miwa Yamakatsu Seimen "Hitosujinawa"
Miwa, which has become synonymous with somen, started making somen in 1804 . Mr. Katsuyama Yamashita, who is currently the 6th generation owner, is known as a “men master” who has devoted himself to making delicious noodles for half a century.
One of the epochs in Mr. Yamashita's work was the choice of not using oil, which completely overturned the common sense of somen making. Regular somen is coated with vegetable oil to prevent the noodles from drying out. However, Mr. Yamashita decided that the oxidation of somen oil was not desirable in terms of flavor and health effects, and stopped using oil. By using Yoshino kudzu instead, we succeeded in eliminating the oxidized smell. At the same time, the new manufacturing method has led to the creation of somen noodles that are lustrous, beautiful, and have a gentle mouthfeel and smooth texture.
Mr. Yamashita named this somen "Hitosujinawa" with a life lesson to protect the life of making noodles. Even now, from the selection of raw materials to the manufacturing process, we are trying to further improve the quality.
6 reasons to bring out the deliciousness of somen
We asked Mr. Katsuyama Yamashita, a somen craftsman, about the reason for its deliciousness.
I know that labeling wheat as domestically produced is a better image, but if standards for inspection of pesticides and herbicides are not in place, it cannot be said that it is safe just because it is domestically produced. If it turns out that foreign-grown wheat complies with stricter safety standards, we select wheat from the country or production area that is considered to be the best at that time. We use wheat that satisfies both taste and safety, including wheat produced by domestic contracted farmers.
Mineral water with finely crushed natural ores is used to eliminate iron, which is an obstacle in making water noodles.
In order to make delicious noodles, it is essential to use salt in the noodle making process. Currently, we use a blend of salt from several production areas, including Awaji salt from Kyushu and Hyogo. Emphasis is placed on the balance of minerals that contain potassium and magnesium and can excrete sodium chloride. When the noodles are kneaded, the salt content is 6.2 to 6.5 %, but when the noodles are boiled and eaten, the salt content drops to 0.02% , and it has been proven through experiments that the noodles are almost salt-free.
4. Aging time
The most important thing when making noodles is to stick to flour, salt, and water, and let the batter mature at a low temperature to slowly stretch the noodles. The umami of the noodles is brought out by slowly maturing them at a low temperature while considering various conditions such as climate, room temperature, and humidity.
The more gluten, the stronger the noodles and the easier it is to make them. However, at Yamakatsu Seimen, gluten is cut to the limit of what can be called wheat flour. The gluten level of Yamakatsu Seimen is 7 , compared to 11.5 for normal somen. We are aiming for deliciousness with the umami of starch and a gentle mouthfeel.
6. Raw noodles
Somen is dried noodles. We will send freshly made raw noodles directly from Miwa to Tokyo so that you can overturn the misconception that somen is a summer item in a good way and give you a fresh surprise. We hope that you will enjoy the unique taste of raw noodles and the variety of noodle dishes that can be used with various ingredients.