Recipe for Cold Summer Noodles by Rika Yukimasa

‘Hiyashi somen’ are very popular in Japan for meals on hot summer days because they are light and refreshing.


WordsClémence Leleu

© ‘Rika’s Modern Japanese Home Cooking’ by Rika Yukimasa, Rizzoli New York, 2020. Photography © Teruaki Kawakami.

Chef Rika Yukimasa shares a recipe for cold noodles, taken from her book Rika’s Modern Japanese Home Cooking: Simplifying Authentic Recipes. These noodles, known as somen (or hiyashi somen when eaten cold), are made from wheat flour, like udon, but are much finer. ‘Hiyashi somen are perfect for summer because the dish is served cold and they cook quickly, so the kitchen doesn’t heat up’, Rika Yukimasa explains in the introduction to the recipe. ‘In restaurants, they are often served with one or two edible maple leaves floating in the water, which gives the impression of eating the noodles from a cool stream’, she continues. 

In Rika’s Modern Japanese Home Cooking: Simplifying Authentic Recipes, the chef wanted to share simple and authentic Japanese recipes that everyone can reproduce in their own kitchen. Each dish is paired with a drink, and for hiyashi somen, Rika Yukimasa recommends a glass of pinot gris.


Serves 4


1 piece kombu (5 cm by 5 cm)

480 ml water

20 g bonito flakes

60 ml + 1 tbsp (15 ml) soy sauce

4 g sugar

1 tbsp (15 ml) mirin

4 portions somen noodles

240 ml ice cold water

Chopped scallions, to garnish

Grated ginger, to garnish


For the dipping sauce, place the kombu and the water in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil over a low heat. Just before the water starts to boil, take it off the heat and remove the kombu

Add the bonito flakes and leave to simmer, uncovered, for ten minutes over a medium heat. Drain into a large bowl and rinse the saucepan.

Measure out 400 ml of liquid to put in the saucepan. Add the soy sauce, sugar, and mirin and bring to the boil, then leave the liquid to cool.

Cook the somen following the instructions on the packet. Use chopsticks to stir the noodles so they don’t stick. Every time the water starts boiling again, add cold water to the pan to prevent it from boiling over.

Once the noodles are cooked, drain and rinse them under cold water, rubbing them gently. Place the noodles in the ice cold water.

Put the scallions, ginger, and dipping sauce in small bowls, then encourage guests to flavour the sauce with the scallions and ginger as they wish, and to dip their noodles in the sauce. 


Rika’s Modern Japanese Home Cooking: Simplifying Authentic Recipes (2020), by Rika Yukimasa, is published by Rizzoli.

Rika Yukimasa presented the show Dining with the Chef, broadcast on NHK to over 150 countries. She has also released numerous recipe books in Japanese; Rika’s Modern Japanese Home Cooking: Simplifying Authentic Recipes is her first to be written in English. 

© Rizzoli