It is hot out, and you don’t feel like eating, let alone cooking. Don’t fret, there is always hiyashi chuka (冷やし中華).
Hiyashi chuka consists of a plate of chilled ramen noodles served with an assortment of toppings and a refreshing sesame or soy-based sauce. There are many toppings to choose from, ranging from fancy to cheap: char-siu pork, shredded chicken, asparagus, shrimp, shiitake mushrooms, bean sprouts, pickled ginger, and so on. It is the perfect summer treat. I made the most basic version with shredded egg, tomato, ham, and cucumber. Offering a nice balance of ingredients, textures and colours, hiyashi chuka works well in a bento too.
Ingredients and Procedure
- 1 serving of ramen noodles
- 1 egg, beaten
- a chunk of cucumber
- 1 slice of cooked ham
- 1/2 of a medium tomato
- a dash of toasted sesame seeds (optional)
- 2 tbsp dashi
- 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 drop of rayu (optional)
Cook ramen noodles according to instructions on package. Avoid using instant ramen noodles: I have not tried them myself, but I imagine that their texture won’t be chewy enough. When noodles are done, drain them and cool them with cold running water or ice immediately. Set aside.
Heat a nonstick pan over medium low heat. Add egg and spread it out into a thin crepe. Finely slice egg, cucumber, ham, and tomato. Arrange noodles and toppings in a (chilled) bowl.
Mix all ingredients for sauce together. Pour sauce over noodles and garnish with sesame seeds (if you want) just before serving.
I don’t have any sesame seeds in the pantry right now, so that is why I did not add them to my hiyashi chuka here. Nevertheless, I would recommend them for their nutty aroma. I would also love to eat this with a sesame sauce next time!
Also, if you have the time, you can chill your serving bowls in the refrigerator for an hour in advance. Ah, the luxury…