Cold Summer Ramen Noodles

Cold Summer Ramen Noodles

Discover the refreshing and tangy hiyashi chukka recipe, featuring cold ramen noodles topped with a flavorful sesame vinaigrette. This traditional Japanese dish is perfect for summer, and offers flexibility with a variety of farm-fresh toppings. Learn how to create this homestyle favorite and explore the authentic flavors of Japan.

Paging through a review copy of A Cook's Journey to Japan, a charming new cookbook filled with homestyle faves, I landed on the hiyashi chukka recipe, cold ramen noodles with sesame vinaigrette. Man, that looked good. While training in a Kyoto kitchen last month, during Japan's hot 'n humid rainy season, these refreshing, tangy noodles were always a delight served as makanai, or staff meal. Easy and fast to prepare, too. (serves 4)

Hiyashi Chukka (Cold Summer Ramen Noodles with Sesame Vinaigrette)

Serves 4

For the Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (add more if needed)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons ground toasted sesame seeds (add more if you're a fan)

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces fresh ramen noodles
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1/2 pound medium shrimp, boiled and peeled
  • 1 cucumber, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 yellow squash, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 large tomato, cut into thin wedges (preferably beefsteak for its perfect ripeness)

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Dressing: In a mixing bowl, combine rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and ground toasted sesame seeds. Whisk until smooth. Adjust the taste with additional sugar or sesame seeds if desired.

  2. Cook the Noodles: Bring a large pot of water to a boil (do not add salt). Add ramen noodles and cook for about 2 minutes until toothsome. Drain and rinse under cold water.

  3. Prepare the Egg: Lightly oil a skillet with vegetable oil and heat over medium. Pour enough beaten egg to create a paper-thin layer. Once set, flip, and then set aside. Repeat with remaining egg, oiling the skillet as needed. Once cooled, slice the omelets into thin threads.

  4. Assemble the Dish: Place a mound of noodles in the center of each dish. Artfully arrange the shrimp, cucumber, squash, and tomato over the noodles.

  5. Serve: Generously pour the sesame vinaigrette over the toppings and noodles. Enjoy your refreshing Hiyashi Chukka!

This dish is perfect for hot and humid days, offering a tangy, refreshing taste with the delightful textures of fresh vegetables, tender shrimp, and silky noodles.