I always get so excited when the spring season comes and make a lot of cherry blossom-theme dishes. This is one of them and I add salt-preserved sakura (cherry blossom) flowers to the broth, and I even use the pink sakura-flavored somennoodles made from flour and sakura from Japan. The aroma of sakura in this dish is just so beautiful. But, don’t worry if you don’t have any of them! You can totally make the delicious somen hot pot without the sakura flavors, and this dish can be enjoyed all year round. You can also change the other ingredients to cook with the noodles by using different kinds of mushrooms or tofu, if you like. It’s so gentle on the stomach and always comforting.
Vegan optionSubstitute the kombu and bonito dashi with kombu and shiitake dashi or your choice of vegan dashi
EquipmentClassic-style Donabe (1.8-qt/ 1,800 ml or larger)
- 12 or so salt-preserved sakura (cherry blossom) flowers with the stems on (optional)
- 4 cups (1,000 ml) kombu and bonito dashi or your choice of dashi
- 3 tablespoons white tamari
- 1 1/2 tablespoons mirin
- 8 oz (240 g) somen noodles
- 3 – 4 medium shiitake mushrooms, quartered
- 1/3 oz (10 g) dry yuba (tofu skin)
- 9 mitsuba (Japanese parsley), tie 3 together into a knot (so you can make 3 knots; optional)
- Ground roasted golden sesame seeds, for serving
- Yuzu shichimi togarashi, for serving
- Soak the salt-preserved sakura flowers in water in a bowl for a few minutes. Drain and gently rinse to remove excess salt. Pat dry and cut off part of the stems if necessary so the remained stems with the flowers are about the same length. Set aside.
- Combine the dashi, white tamari, and mirin in a donabe. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
- Meanwhile, cook the somen noodles for about 30 seconds shorter than the package’s instructions. Drain and rinse in cold running water. Drain again and set aside.
- Add the shiitake mushrooms to the broth and cook for a minute or so. Add the noodles and bring back to a simmer. Add the yuba and mitsuba. As soon as the yuba is soft (30 seconds or so), turn off the heat. Serve into individual bowls with the sesame and shichimi togarashi on the side.