Hiyashi Chuka (Chilled Ramen Salad)
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Hiyashi chuka is a popular summer dish that’s enjoyed during the dog days of summer in Japan because of its refreshing properties. However, I love it so much that I eat it year-round as a quick lunch or a lazy weekend meal. All my favorite textures and flavors can be found in this dish – crunch and chewy, sweet, sour, nutty, and savory. It’s exquisite and only takes 20 minutes to make, from start to finish.
Any dish served with a soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil dressing is a personal favorite of mine. I’m so in love with this flavor combination that I could easily have it every single day for the rest of my life.
But hiyashi chuka comes with more than just a really delicious dressing. The combination of chewy ramen noodles paired with cold and crispy shredded lettuce and cucumber strips, savory omelette, and meaty shrimp, makes this dish, as perfect as they come.
The recipe on this blog is a very traditional one. It’s the one I’ve been eating since I was a little girl, so you could say it’s a vintage hiyashi chuka recipe 😉. Enjoy!
What is Hiyashi Chuka?
Hiyashi chuka, which means “chilled Chinese” in Japanese, is a Japanese summer dish consisting of chilled ramen noodles topped with various ingredients such as tomato, cucumber, lettuce, tamagoyaki (sweet omelette), ham, charsiu pork, shrimp, menma (seasoned bamboo shoots), scallions, and beni shōga (pickled ginger). It’s served with a chūka-fū style dressing that’s sweet, nutty, and acidic, and a squirt of hot Japanese mustard (karashi mustard).
Other names for hiyashi chuka include reimen (Japanese for “chilled noodles”), which is often used in the Kansai region, and hiyashi ramen, which is used in the northern region of Hokkaido.
Ingredients for Hiyashi Chuka
- Ramen noodles: You can use fresh or dried ramen noodles for this recipe, I personally don’t have any preference. As long as the noodles are nice and chewy, they will work really well with this dish.
- Hiyashi chuka sauce: A mixture of soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, water, toasted sesame oil, and sesame seeds. It’s puckery sour, a little sweet and a little nutty. It’s absolutely delicious!
- Omelette: Since I’m not a huge fan of tamagoyaki as a topping for this dish (I don’t like the sweetness), I make a regular omelette instead. The omelette should be thin like a crepe so that it can be sliced into long ribbons.
- Shrimp: Look for US or Canada wild caught shrimp, or frozen ones with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) blue and white label. Not only are they better for the ocean life (overfishing is destroying marine life), they are also much better for you. Unlike shrimp imported from Vietnam, Thailand, India, or Bangladesh, which are farmed using antibiotics, in ponds that can be dirty with fecal matter and decay, and can be contaminated with bacteria such as E.coli, listeria, and MRSA. Whole Foods and Wegmans offer a better selection of sustainable seafood.
- Lettuce: Shredded lettuce adds a clean and refreshing element to this ramen noodle salad. It tastes just like summer on a plate!
- Tomatoes: The sweeter the tomato you can find, the better. And you can use any type of tomato for this dish.
- Cucumber: Another ingredient that makes this dish so refreshing is cucumber. Use kirby, Japanese, or English cucumber for the best crunch.
- Scallions: Use as much or as little you like. They add a nice crunch, a little sweetness and bitterness.
How to Make Hiyashi Chuka
For the full recipe, scroll to the bottom of the post.
- Gather all of your kitchen tools and ingredients.
- Whisk all of the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl and set aside.
- Slice the cucumber and tomato, and finely chop the scallions. Transfer to a plate and keep them separate.
- Shred the lettuce and transfer to a bowl or a plate.
- Add a little oil to a medium or large skillet and turn the heat to medium. Add the whisked egg and spread the mixture by tilting the skillet in a swirling motion, as thin as possible. Once the omelette is cooked, turn the heat off and grab a spatula. Fold each side to the center of the omelette so it’s rectangular shaped.
- Gently slide the omelette to a cutting board and let cool for a couple of minutes. Grab a knife and slice the omelette into thin strips. Set aside.
- Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the ramen noodles and cook according to the directions on the package. Fresh ramen noodles usually take about 2 minutes to cook, while dried noodles can take up to 5 minutes.
- Drain the noodles and run them under cold water. When the noodles are cold, drain them well and divide them among two shallow bowls.
- Add your toppings by placing them one next to another, until most of the noodles are covered.
- Pour the sauce over and serve with some hot Japanese mustard (karashi mustard).
Make it vegetarian by using smoked tofu instead of shrimp.
You can also use ham or charsiu pork if you don’t like shellfish.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different topping ingredients. I often make hiyashi chuka using whatever I have in my fridge. As long as you have chewy ramen noodles and all the ingredients to make the dressing, your ramen noodle salad will be delicious.
Ramen Noodle Recipes
There is so much you can do with ramen noodles, the list of dishes is endless and keeps on growing! Whether they are served hot or cold, dry or in a broth, it’s hard to go wrong with ramen noodles since they seem to go well with just about everything.
Here are some of my favorite ramen noodles recipes, all easy ones you can make at home in no time:
Did you like this Hiyashi Chuka Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!Print
Hiyashi Chuka (Chilled Ramen Noodles)
Make Hiyashi Chuka at home in just 20 minutes! Chewy ramen noodles tossed in a sweet, sour, nutty, and savory sauce – it’s the best!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 2 1x
- Category: Noodles
- Method: Boiling
- Cuisine: Japanese
Hiyashi chuka sauce
- 3 tablespoons plain rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce (or Tamari for gluten free)
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon roasted or toasted sesame oil or chili oil
- ½ tablespoon white sesame seeds
- 12 ounces fresh ramen noodles, or 6 ounces dry ramen noodles (for vegan: use vegan ramen noodles or thin spaghetti – Barilla and De Cecco are both vegan).
- 2 large eggs, whisked (for vegan: 1 small carrot sliced into thin ribbons or sticks).
- ¼ English cucumber, julienned. You can also use 1 kirby cucumber or 1/2 Japanese cucumber
- 4 cooked shrimp, sliced in half lengthwise (for vegan: half a block of firm tofu, drained and cubed).
- ½ cup shredded iceberg lettuce
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
- 6 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half, or ½ small tomato, cut into 6 wedges
- Hot Japanese mustard (karashi mustard) – optional but highly recommended!
- Whisk all the ingredients for the sauce until the sugar has dissolved, and set aside.
- Brush a medium size pan with a little oil and turn the heat to medium. When the pan is hot, add the whisked eggs and spread them to create a thin crepe. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until the omelette is cooked. Fold each side to the center so the omelette is rectangular shaped. Turn the heat off, transfer the omelette to a cutting board. Let cool for 2-3 minute.
- Grab a chef’s knife and slice the omelette into thin strips. Set aside.
- Boil the ramen noodles according to the directions on the package (usually around 2-3 minutes for fresh noodles).
- Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain again well and divide the noodles among two serving bowls.
- Divide the toppings and arrange them nicely on top of the noodles.
- Pour the sauce on top and serve with hot Japanese mustard (karashi mustard).
To make the cooking process even faster, make the sauce ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for up to 1 month.
Keywords: main, brunch, summer meal
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