Hiyashi Chuka is a Japanese cold noodle salad usually served in summer. Cold ramen noodles come with a colourful assortment of toppings, drizzled with a slightly tangy sesame-soy-vinegar dressing. I first tried this dish two years ago at a Japanese restaurant when it was on the special summer menu. It was a scorchingly hot day and the refreshing taste from the cold noodles provided some cool respite from the summer heat.
This dish can be served as an appetizer or main meal, and is great for picnics and parties too. The toppings can be arranged on a separate platter so that your guests (or whoever you're serving) can help themselves to their own choice of vegetables, meat, egg and so on. Some ideas for the toppings include shredded omelette, ham, seafood, cucumbers, carrots, green seaweed (ogonori), wakame, ikura, tomatoes, salad leaves, and the list goes on. In my dish, I used salad leaves, cucumbers, egg, wakame, tomatoes, and some shredded roast duck and char siu (bbq pork). I would have included green seaweed if I had some. It has a delicate and mildly salty taste to it, and lends a cool textural crunch to every bite. I added a little chilli oil to my dressing as it gives a little "smokiness" to the flavour, but you can omit that if you want to make it non-spicy. Here is the recipe below.
Hiyashi Chuka (Cold Ramen Noodle Salad) Recipe
300g fresh ramen noodles
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
2 cups mixed salad leaves
1/2 cup julienned cucumber
1 tbsp dried wakame, soaked in hot water until softened
Shredded ham/chicken/meat/prawns/crabstick (optional)
3 tbsp sesame oil
1 1/2 tsp grated ginger
3 tbsp Japanese rice vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp chilli oil (or to taste)
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Prepare the dressing by whisking all the ingredients together in a bowl until well combined. Put it in the fridge to chill.
Combine the beaten egg with salt and sugar. Heat up a large non-stick pan/wok and lightly grease it with vegetable oil. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and swirl it around quickly to make a large thin omelette. Once cooked, remove and let it cool before shredding it thinly. Set aside.
Cook the ramen in boiling water for 30 seconds or until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water. Then plunge it into a bowl of iced water to cool.
To assemble, place the salad leaves in a bowl and arrange the noodles over them with the topping ingredients. Drizzle over with the dressing and toss until combined. Serve cold.