I love a good noodle salad. And the mother of all noodle salads would be hiyashi chuka soba.
Hiyashi chuka is a Japanese noodle dish consisting of chilled ramen noodles, julienned vegetables and meat, and a tangy vinaigrette. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Japan in the summer but it gets hot. Super hot. I was there last July and I remember slurping up some piping hot bowls of ramen – a bit crazy, I know. I should’ve gone for the hiyashi chuka that was on the menu.
It was that memory that inspired me to make this dish for my office’s monthly cooking workshop. I had taken my InstantPot home as it was too hot to cook anything and thought that perhaps a salad of sorts would be appropriate for the group. It went over so well. Chewy soba noodles, tons of fresh vegetables and a savoury and sweet vinaigrette. My only regret was not making more noodles! Needless to say, we all left the large conference room with full, but not bloated, bellies.
This recipe is so easy to make and can be made with an assortment of produce. For this particular workshop, we used buckwheat soba noodles, enoki mushrooms, blanched bean sprouts, two hot house tomatoes, one English cucumber, tamago, ham, imitation crab meat, scallions, and roasted sesame seeds. You are more than welcome to use any other herb or vegetables in this dish. My only advice would to keep everything the same size – julienned, of course. Some kaiware sprouts, chiffonade shiso, leafy greens, corn and radishes would be divine in this recipe. For an added crunch, perhaps deep-fried tempura bits and nori would be an welcomed addition.
HIYASHI CHUKA SOBA - serves 6
4 bundles buckwheat soba noodles
6 cups bean sprouts
2 eggs, scrambled
1 English cucumber, de-seeded and julienned
2 hot house tomatoes, sliced and halved
1 (100g) pkg enoki mushrooms, ends sliced and mushrooms separated
1 bunch scallions, sliced diagonally
4 slices ham, julienned
2 (100g) imitation crab sticks, sliced thinly
sesame seeds, roasted
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup toasted sesame oil
¼ cup rice vinegar
½ tsp white pepper
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp chili oil (optional)
In a pot of boiling salted water, cook the noodles until pliable and chewy, about 5 minutes according to packaged directions. Rinse in cold water and set aside.
Blanch the bean sprouts for 30 seconds in a pot of boiling water (can use the same water as the soba). Rinse and set aside.
In a small saute pan, cook the scrambled egg until firm. Remove from heat and julienne once it has cooled down.
In a small bowl, whisk all of the ingredients for the vinaigrette until the sugar has dissolved.
Distribute an even amount of noodles in two 6 individual bowls. Begin to place each ingredient on top of the noodles side-by-side and separate. Drizzle with vinaigrette and top with roasted sesame seeds. Serve immediately.