All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Yakinasu-iri nyumen / warm somen noodles and grilled eggplant in broth

A gentle nyumen -- somen noodles in warm broth – with a creamy texture and the toasty aroma of grilled eggplant. When prepared with fewer somen thin wheat noodles, this can be served as a pleasant side soup (like miso soup that accompanies other dishes).

1/2 of recipe:
414 calories; 18.6 g protein; 2.1 g fat; 79.6 g carbohydrate; 74.7 g net carbs; 555 mg sodium; 43.0 mg cholesterol; 4.9 g fiber


Somen noodles for two (180 g in photo)
2 nasu eggplant (230 g Chinese eggplant in photo)
2 shrimp
1 small knob ginger
2-3 shiso green perilla leaves
1-2 tsp katakuriko potato starch (to clean shrimp; not in photo)

For broth
500 cc dashi
1/2 tsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp usukuchi shoyukoji usukuchi soy sauce rice malt
1 tsp sake
2 tsp mirin
Small handful katsuobushi bonito flakes (4g in photo)
Pinch salt (not in photo)


Microwave rice vinegar for 10 seconds.

In a stovetop-safe container or small pot, put dashi, usukuchi shoyukoji, sake, mirin and rice vinegar, and bring to boil.


Meanwhile, prepare yakiyasu.
Remove calyx of eggplant, poke overall with toothpick, and grill.

When done (you can press down eggplant effortlessly with chopsticks), remove skin (see yakinasu recipe for how to remove skin).
Cut into 3-4 sections.

Put eggplant in broth, and simmer for 1 minute.


Put katsuobushi bonito flakes in "tea bag" packet, and put in broth.

Remove from heat, and cool completely.


Boil somen noodles as directed on package, but aim to stop cooking 30 seconds before package indicates.

When done (noodles become somewhat translucent), drain, and cool with cold water.
Rub noodles between both palms to smooth surface, and rinse until water runs clear.
Keep noodles in cold water.

In the meantime, boil plenty of water to warm noodles.


Remove bonito-flake packet from broth, and heat with eggplant.


Grate ginger.

Julienne shiso, and soak in water.


Shell and clean shrimp with katakuriko potato starch, rinse, and drain well.


When water is hot, soak somen noodles to warm them up.


When broth boils, add shrimp, and cook until shrimp turn pink.

Taste broth, and add salt as necessary.


Serve somen in warm bowls, top with eggplant and shrimp, and pour broth, garnishing with ginger and shiso.

Ready to serve.

  • Prep for this dish, especially cooling grilled eggplant in soup, takes a bit of time, so plan ahead.
  • Bonito flakes are added to soup for a strong broth.
  • When tasting broth before serving, remember that the goal is to have it slightly saltier than usual for a final dish, as water on noodles tends to weaken the broth.
  • As an additional measure, get rid of excess water from noodles before serving in bowls to prevent weakening the broth flavor.
  • Shrimp are optional.
  • If shiso is not available, try something in season, such as green beans or okra (blanched, microwaved or grilled).
  • Dried somen noodles contain a high amount of sodium (1260 mg per 90 g somen above). However, around 90% is removed during the boiling process.
  • The nutrition figures above are when 0.2 g salt is added and soup remaining in the bowl is not consumed. When the soup is consumed, sodium content would be 631 mg, and all other figures would be slightly higher.
  • If shoyukoji is not available, use regular or usukuchi soy sauce (usukuchi soy sauce gives a saltier taste and paler color) and slightly more mirin and sake (1 tbsp mirin and 2 tsp sake, for example). When using soy sauce instead of shoyukoji, you might not need to add any salt at the end. Shoyukoji contains about 30-40% less sodium than soy sauce and also has a mellow note. ... No matter what you use, always taste before adding more seasoning.
  • I used usukuchi shoyukoji rather than regular shoyukoji above for a paler color and to reduce the need for salt at the end.


Sissi said...

Another amazing Japanese idea to use nasu! It's funny because I have only recently discovered nasuyaki (but love it!).

Sissi said...

Of course I meant "yakinasu", sorry for the error... I am still new to the dish :-)

neco said...

Hi Sissi,

Yakinasu is of my favorite nasu dishes. Very simple and tasty! Grilled nasu marinated in the broth above tastes good as is (without somen noodles) too. Eggplant in general finally is becoming more common where we live, and I cannot wait to try more eggplant recipes.