Tanabata is a summertime festivals which pays tribute to bittersweet star-crossed love between the weaver and the cow herder, represented by the constellations of Vega and Altair respectively. Destined to meet only once a night out of the year, these two celestial lovers are celebrated on the night of Tanabata – where it is believed that dreams and wishes come true. Colored paper inscribed with wishes are adorned to a bamboo branch and the night of Tanabata has a certain magical quality of the mysterious and unknown.
When it comes to Tanabata, soumen is the traditional noodle to eat. Delicate and white it represents the Milky Way the plate with star-studded vegetables to guide the appetite.
1/3 container soumen
1 Japanese cucumber, julienned
2 pieces ham, julienned
3 okra, sliced thin
5 mini tomatoes, cut in half
½ carrot, peeled and julienned
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons mirin
1 teaspoon crushed sesame
1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, lightly salted. While the water is boiling, prepare the sauce of the noodles. Combine sugar, soy sauce, and mirin.
2. Boil the noodles and once cooked, drain and run under cold water to cool immediately and soak in a large bowl full of ice water for 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the egg. Whisk 1 egg with a dash of water in a small bowl. Heat a small frying pan to medium-high and grease with oil. Once the pan is hot, add the eggs and allow them to cook in a single layer. Once the bottom layer is cooked through, use a spatula to flip. Once cooked, let the eggs cool on a plate or paper towel. Once cool enough to handle, slice into thin strips and set aside.
4. Drain the noodle and arrange either a) in a large bowl or b) divided in separate bowls. Adorn the top with the cucumber, ham, okra, tomatoes, carrot, and egg.
2 tablespoons milk
A dash of salt and pepper
¼ small onion, chopped finely
1 generous handful fresh spinach, thoroughly cleaned and chopped
Butter for sautéing
1. Whisk eggs, milk, salt and pepper together in a small bowl.
2. In a small frying pan, sauté the onion in melted butter until translucent.
3. Add the spinach to the butter until thoroughly wilted.
4. Add the spinach-onion mixture to the eggs and gently combine.
5. Grease the pan again with butter. Add the egg mixture. Do not touch the egg until the bottom has thoroughly set.
6. Once able, attempt to flip the egg mixture as you would a pancake or flapjack. If that is not possible, use a spatula or other cooking instrument and divide it down the middle, flipping one semi-circle at a time.
7. Once cooked through, set aside on a plate to let it cool slightly. If you wish, you can cut the omelet into squares, diamonds, or other shapes.