Japanese cold gluten-free and low-carb tofu noodles with vegan sauce!
“Somen” noodles are thin Japanese noodles that are eaten mostly cold with a soy sauce based dipping sauce called “mentsuyu” (麺つゆ, literally means “noodle liquid sauce”). Somen noodles are made of wheat, but in recent years, somen noodle products that are made of tofu came on the market and have become hugely popular.
As they are made of tofu, they are gluten-free and low in carbs! They can be purchased at any supermarket or even at a convenience store in Japan.
Traditional wheat somen noodles come in a dry form and need to be boiled (just like pasta) to eat. If not eaten right away, it could either dry up and stick together (as gluten becomes glue) or get really soften (if kept in water). The nice thing about tofu somen noodles is that it’s ready to eat (just drain water) and is highly versatile for various cooking methods (cold, hot and stir-fry).
Tofu somen noodles even come with a little packet of mentsuyu (noodle sauce), but the problem is, mentsuyu contains dashi stock made of bonito (fish) flakes. So, you might think that soba and udon without meat or fish topping are vegan, but they actually are not (at restaurants) because the sauce is not vegan.
Luckily, making vegan mentsuyu at home is not difficult at all and contains only 3 ingredients – vegan dashi stock, soy sauce and amazake concentrate!
First step is to combine 2 Tbsp amazake concentrate, 3 Tbsp water and 6 Tbsp soy sauce. Usually, this soy sauce mixture (“kaeshi” or かえし) is made with a combination of soy sauce, mirin (sweet rice wine), sugar and sake, but I’m using amazake concentrate to make it sugar-free and alcohol-free.
You can use the mixture as is if you don’t mind having bits of rice pieces from amazake concentrate in the sauce, but if you want the sauce to be clear, you can filter it using a method of your choice.
Then you just need to combine it with equal part vegan dashi stock. (In this case, 100ml soy sauce mixture and 100ml vegan dashi stock would make enough dipping sauce for 2 people.) That’s it!
Prepare toppings for somen noodles. Today, I’m having homemade vegan kimchee, julienned cucumber and some tomatoes, but you can have it with any salad vegetables!
YUMMM! Softness of tofu somen noodles stays just right and noodles are not stuck together even after being kept in the fridge while making the sauce.