What Are Your Shameless Ramen Noodle Memories?
Many typically equate ramen with starving college students on a tight budget, or a quick fix on a cold winter’s night… About 80 years ago, Hiyashi Chuka, literally translated as ‘chilled Chinese food’, a confluence of Western, Chinese and Japanese cultures, had enjoyed its day in the sun. This summer chilled dish was both pleasing to the eyes and palette. Today we’re sharing it with you.
The dish’s standard composition includes: ramen noodles that are dipped in a tare sauce* and assorted toppings ranging from simple eggs, cucumbers and ham to those of a more adventurous nature. Either way, working with cold ramen noodles means less time in a hot kitchen, and a quick, easy to prepare filling meal. This statement comes from JNTO.
Yes, hiyashi chuka** can be purchased already made. Note, the quality and taste of the dish is dependent on the type of noodles used. Optimally, fresh ramen noodles are used; they provide a softer texture and can be found in the refrigerated or freezer section of Asian markets. They’re sold either with a soup base included (e.g. Sun Noodles) or not.
In addition to taste, presentation of your dish is key. For its signature look, display colorful toppings methodically arranged in a circular fashion, highlighting those important cultural aspects of an Asian meal. Read about it at Just One Cookbook. Suggested toppings and combinations: sliced carrots; ginger; chicken; sesame seeds; barbecued pork; tomatoes; bean sprouts; shredded egg; crab stick; shrimp; ham, cucumbers; celery; peaches; pan fried Spam; Chinese roast pork; poached lobster; nori seaweed; scallions; nectarines; shredded cabbage; shiitake mushrooms; asparagus; corn; snap peas. Four to eight toppings are usually sufficient to achieve a balance of desired flavors. This tip comes from Serious Eats and Just One Cookbook.
Dressing: Simple mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, sugar, and grated ginger perfectly balances salty, tart, sweet, and mildly spicy flavors. Instead, try using Japanese hot mustard, hot chili, karashi or ginger juice. This tip comes from Just One Cookbook.
Substitution: Run out of ramen? Soba, yakisoba noodles or angel hair pasta with baking soda can simulate ramen’s texture. Comparatively, yakisoba tend to be a bit thicker. Soba noodles, made from buckwheat, add a different flavor to the dish, but tasty nonetheless. Learn about this topic at Serious Eats.
Again, while the variation and combinations of Hiyashi Chuka may vary from place to place, yellow spring noodles have become synonymous with summer in Japan and can become part of your summer meals too!
*Tare sauce is a combination of water, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and sesame seeds.1/2 cup julienned cucumber
**Consume store bought Hiyashi Chuka in moderation due to its high levels of sodium, MSG and preservatives. Healthier options would be making a homemade dressing and/or skipping the included soup packet. This statement comes from The Kitchn.
So many ramen choices. What are your remarkable ramen memories? We look forward to seeing your own inspirations. Contact us on our social channels and please share your #ramen ideas along with cooking tips with us. Tweet us @Kitchology @ Share this post on all of your favorite social channels too!
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