Since Okinawa has slightly unique history different from the main island of Japan, Okinawan cuisine also differs significantly.
Because of the hot nice climate and beautiful ocean throughout the seasons, traditional Okinawan cuisine colors a variety of colorful vegetables, a lot of pork, and pork, and tremendous seafood.
Okinawan food is so unique and delicious mixing international cultures such as Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese, and American.
The staple soup broth and seasonings in Okinawa, bonito dashi broth is mainly used.
In Okinawa cuisine, noodle dishes also are popular such as OKINAWA SOBA (aka OKINAWA ramen), OKINAWA YAKI SOBA, and SOMEN CHANPURU.
Today, I am going to share SOMEN CHANPURU, which you can get easily ingredients including noodles.
What’s SOMEN CHANPURU
SOMEN CHANPURU is one of the representative local food in Okinawa, which is stir-fried SOMEN noodles with canned tuna in oil/ spam, vegetables, and mushrooms.
Seasoning for Somen Chanpuru is very simple: salt, pepper, Bonito dashi, etc..
It is called “SOMIN chanpuru” in Okinawan accent.
“CHANPURU” refers to “mix together”, “mix up”, “muddle up”, “shuffle up” or something like that in the Okinawan local language.
Since Somen is thin and mild, and seasonings are simple and light, so easy to eat but savory flavor from dashi stock.
Somen noodles are a type of thin Japanese noodles made from wheat flour, known as the summer noodles in Japan.
With a mild (plain) flavor and delicate texture, they are served chilled or let swim in a cold water bowl with ice, dipping in a soy-based dashi sauce in the summertime.
Also, it is served in hot dashi soup called “NYUMEN”.
Since SOMEN are thin and easy to cook, they’re often over-cooked and mushy.
HOW TO MAKE OKINAWA SOMEN CHANPURU
If you want to follow the Okinawan staple, go for canned tuna in oil. In Japan, we often use canned tuna in oil for several dishes from salad dishes to stir-dried dishes.
It’s an excellent source of protein and can be found easily.
Choose canned tuna in OIL, don’t waste the oil, stir tuna flakes with oil.
Spam, yes, spam, you’re not wrong, it is absolutely popular in Okinawa since American culture has been deeply influencing Okinawan culture.
The salty flavorful spam flavor goes well with mild (plain) SOMEN, add crumble egg is also supreme.
You can skip proteins for vegetarians.
Basically, you can add your favorite vegetables or vegetable leftovers keeping in the fridge for a few days.
However, better to avoid adding too much amount of vegetables and mushrooms to prevent the noodles from becoming sticky and mushy.
- Bean sprouts
- “Nira” Chinese chives
- “Goya” bitter melon
- Shima-Tofu (Okinawa local tofu)
As I mentioned, SOMEONE easily becomes sticky, starchy, and mushy since it is made of wheat flour and saltwater only, and thin.
So, a quick-cooking technique and important tips are required to make SOMEN CHANPURU.
- Cook SOMEN noodles 1-minute less than the package instruction.
- Rinse off the starch well while changing the water.
- Mix toasted sesame oil (or another kind of cooking oil) after draining to avoid them sticking together.
- Use a non-stick frying pan or a non-stick wok.
- Try not to mix the cooked noodles with a pair of tongs (or chopsticks) too much.
- Avoid adding too much vegetables and mushrooms.
- Finish 1-2 minutes to cook after adding the noodles.
OKINAWA NOODLE: SOMEN CHANPURU
- 2 bundles dried SOMEN noodles
- 1 tbsp Toasted sesame oil *for noodles
- ⅓ cup Carrots, Julianned
- ⅓ cup Mushrooms, sliced
- ⅓ cup Leeks, sliced
- ½ canned Tuna in oil *optional
- 1 TSP Hondashi
- ½ tbsp Japanese dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Toasted sesame oil *for cooking
- 1 tbsp Japanese sake/ Shochu (Awamori)/ White wine
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Bonito flakes *optional
- Beni-Shoga pickled ginger *optional
- Chopped green onion *optional
- Gather ingredients.
Cook SOMEN noodles
- In a large pot, bring water to a boil.
- Cook SOMEN noodles 1 minute less than the package instruction.
- Drain the water, rinse off the starch well.
- Drain the water, and drizzle toasted sesame oil and mix well. Set aside.
- Preheat a non-stick frying pan, and add oil.
- Cook leeks and carrots, then add mushrooms over medium-high heat.
- Sprinkle Japanese sake/ Shochu (Awamori)/ White wine, cook ingredients for about 2 minutes.
- Add canned tuna in oil. Add the oil in a can your desired amount. Stir all ingredients. Add Hondashi powder, soy sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. *the oil can add flavor.
- Add cooked SOMEN noodles. IMMEDIATELY, stir all ingredients well while shaking and turning the frying pan rather than using a pair of tongs.*Avoid mixing them using the pair of tongs too much. The noodles will be sticky.
- When all ingredients are well combined, serve the noodle. Garnish with bonito flakes/ "Beni-shoga" pickled ginger/ chopped green onion if desired.