Cool down and relax with this Japanese Cold Ramen dish called Hiyashi Chuka. It’s a bright, flavorful, fun way to experience the magic of ramen on a hot summer day!
As the temperature and humidity soar in Japan in the late summer, I just want to eat chilled noodle dishes like cold soba or cold udon. But when it gets extra hot, like it did this year when the rainy season ended two weeks early, all I can think about is the flavorful, rainbow color of toppings on a bowl of cold ramen called Hiyashi Chuka (冷やし中華). Today, I’m sharing a Hiyashi Chuka recipe with my favorite soy-sesame homemade noodle dressing.
What is Hiyashi Chuka?
Hiyashi Chuka literally means “chilled Chinese”; however, it is a Japanese dish with chilled ramen noodles and various colorful toppings, including strips of egg crepes, cucumber, ham, and imitation crab. Be creative and add your favorite toppings to this Hiyashi Chuka. If you are vegetarian, omit ham, shrimp, and imitation crab, and add your favorite veggies instead.
Finally, a soy sauce or sesame-based dressing is poured over the dish. Although the store-bought Hiyashi Chuka package comes with dressing, it has lots of MSG and preservatives. For a healthier option, you can easily make the dressing at home. The dressing recipe I specified below is more than enough for 3 servings of cold ramen, in case you want to add more toppings than what I have included.
On hot days, a cold noodle dish like Hiyashi Chuka is a delicious nutritious meal to cool your body down, while filling up your tummy. Now go ahead, pick up some ramen and your favorite toppings, and create this cool Japanese dish!
Hiyashi Chuka (Cold Ramen)
For Hiyashi Chuka Sauce
For Shredded Egg Crepe
- 2 large eggs (50 g each w/o shell)
- 2 tsp sugar
- ¼ tsp kosher/sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)
- 1 Tbsp neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, rice bran, canola, etc)
- 6 shrimps
- 1 Tbsp sake (for cooking shrimp)
- 1 Persian/Japanese cucumbers (or ⅓ English cucumber, julienned)
- 1 iceberg lettuce (cut into thin strips)
- ½ tomato (cut into wedges)
- 3-4 slices hams (cut into thin strips)
- 4-6 imitation crab meat (kanikama) (or crab meat, shredded)
- kaiware daikon radish sprouts (rinse and pat dry)
For Hiyashi Chuka
- 3 servings fresh ramen noodles (6 oz or 170 g fresh noodles per person)
- 1 Tbsp toasted white sesame seeds (optional garnish)
- Japanese karashi hot mustard (optional garnish)
- pickled red ginger (beni shoga or kizami beni shoga) (optional garnish)
- Gather all the ingredients.
To Make Sauce
- Combine all the noodle sauce ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk all together. You can keep it chilled in the refrigerator.
To Prepare Toppings
- For eggs, you make a thin egg crepe and cut it into thin strips (it's called "Kinshi Tamago"). If you want to make super-thin crepe, follow my recipe here. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, and salt. Heat the oil in the pan over medium heat. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and cook on both sides.
- Cool the crepe and slice into very thin strips.
- For shrimps, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add sake and shrimp and cover with the lid. The alcohol in the sake will help remove the smell and tender the meat. Turn off the heat when the color of the shrimp started to change and let it cook with the remaining heat. Do not overcook otherwise shrimp will become hard. Transfer shrimps to a plate and let cool.
- Cut all the topping ingredients to thin strips (so it's easier to eat with noodles).
To Cook Noodles
- Bring a big pot of water to a boil and add the noodles, separate the noodles before dropping them into water. Cook according to package directions. Drain the water and rinse the noodles to remove starch. Soak the noodles into a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain completely and divide the noodles into individual plates/bowls.
- Place all the toppings and pour the dressing before serving. Serve with karashi hot mustard and pickled ginger on the side, if desired.
- You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 2 days. Keep the sauce separated.