Cold Ramen or Hiyashi Chuka was traditionally served in summer as a refreshing chilled alternative to hot Ramen in the days before air-conditioning became commonplace and is still served seasonally in some places. Thus all the ingredients of Hiyashi Chuka, cucumber, ham, omelette and imitation crab sticks and even the Ramen itself are served cold. This Goma variety is served in a creamy sesame sauce and is great for lunch on a hot day. If you love the taste of peanut butter, you are definitely a fan of Goma Hiyashi Chuka, even if you don’t know it yet.
- Ramen (2 servings)
- Ham (100g)
- Imitation Crab Sticks (100g)
- Cucumber (1/2)
- Eggs (2)
- Sesame Oil
- Sesame Seeds (black or white)
- Soya Sauce
- Rice Vinegar
- Hon Dashi Granules
- If you keep your Tahini in the fridge, take it out ahead of time so it has a chance to warm up.
- Dissolve 1t of Hon Dashi granules in 1/3 cup of warm water to make some stock.
- Beat 2 eggs with 1/3 of the stock, 1T of Mirin and 1 heaped t of sugar. Cook an omelette with the egg mixture, using low heat to make sure it doesn’t get burnt. Cut the omelette into strips that are about 1/8 of an inch wide and place the egg strips in the fridge, covered in cling film.
- Cut the ham into long strips matching the egg. Do the same with the crab sticks. Also put them in the fridge in cling film.
- Julienne half a cucumber into long thin pieces. They must be as thin as the noodles so they don’t remain rigid. Ideally you’d use a mandolin slicer for the cucumber as it is difficult to cut the cucumber sufficiently thin by hand. Keep the julienned cucumber in the fridge as well.
- If you intend to make your Hiyashi Chuka presentable keep all the toppings separate in the fridge. They should also all be of the same length.
- Now for the sauce. Mix 3 heaped t of Tahini with 2T sesame oil, 1T rice vinegar, 1T Mirin, 1t soya sauce in a bowl. Use the back of a tea spoon in a circular motion to integrate the tahini into an emulsion.
- Dissolve 1t sugar in the remaining stock. Stir the stock slowly into the emulsion to thin it down into a sauce and then place the sauce in the fridge. It should thicken again once it becomes cold.
- Boil the ramen. When the noodles are done (it’s best to judge by tasting) rinse them immediately with running cold tap water in a colander. You’ll need to move the ramen around with your hands as the bottom portion will tend to stay warm. Use iced water if it is a warm day and your tap water is not cold.
- Leave the colander to drain for a short while and then divide the ramen onto plates. Pour the sauce evenly into the noodles and then arrange the toppings over the noodles.
- Finally sprinkle each plate with some sesame seeds and serve.
- Gomadare means Sesame Paste Sauce, which is where the ‘Goma’ in Goma Hiyashi Chuka comes from. Plain Hiyashi Chuka refers to original cold ramen that is served in a vinegary soya sauce.
- Hiyashi means chilled, which makes sense but Chuka means Chinese Style, which is strange since this dish was invented in Japan. My guess is that the closest thing Cold Ramen resembled when it first came out was Chinese tossed noodles (i.e. Lo Mein) and that’s how Chuka came into the picture.
- The egg and cucumber are standard ingredients for Hiyashi Chuka, but the strips of meat are allowed to vary. You can also have more than 4 toppings. Some common alternatives/additions are roast chicken, Chashu pork, fish cake, corn and tomato.
- The sweet omelette is essentially made according my Tamagoyaki Recipe. You can check it out if your are interested in the finer details.
- The Ramen that you use should be of the yellow wavy type. If you can’t find ramen pasta is a viable alternative. In Japanese-western buffets you sometimes see a cold pasta version of Goma Hiyashi Chuka in the appetizer section. And of course you could try making ramen from spaghetti. Whatever noodle you end up using, make sure its a type of noodle that doesn’t get mushy easily – i.e. no instant noodles.
- If you have no Hon Dashi, you can substitute in 1/3 cup of any kind of stock you fancy, but it should be salted.
- If you have no Mirin you can boil 4T Sake with a dab of maple syrup down to 2T to make your own substitute.
- If you have no rice vinegar, any kind of white vinegar should do.