Sunday, August 12, 2012

[Shinya Shokudou - Chapter 10] Hiyashi Chuka

Time flies! We've gotten to the 10th chapter of Shinya Shokudou Cooking Club already!  This time we're making a refreshing cold dish that is very suitable for hot summer days like today.  Hiyashi Chuka 冷やし中華 (中華涼麵) is cold ramen noodle salad served with a colourful variety of toppings.  Popular toppings include cooked ham, egg omletes, cucumber and tomatoes but honestly you can almost put anything that you like so it's the perfect way to clean out the fridge.

The Japanese are very specific about their food (and almost everything else in general) and because they have distinct four seasons, their food selections always change with the seasons as well.  Hiyashi Chuka is a good example.  Hiyashi Chuka is a very popular dish in Japan, but it's often only offered in restaurants in the summer time, just like sukiyaki is considered a winter dish only. I remember when I was an exchange student in Nagoya many many summers ago, my very hospitable host family was asking me what I wanted for dinner one day.  I told them I wanted sukiyakis because it's one of my favourite Japanese food (and besides, I didn't know that many Japanese dishes back then).  They all looked at me in horror as if I just requested for some kind of food that is forbidden in Japan.  It was really funny because for Chinese people, we can pretty much have hot pot anytime of the year.  We just have to make sure we have the air-conditioning blasting on top of our heads!

In my recipe, I have chosen cooked ham, imitation crab meat, cucumber, egg omletes, tomatoes and cooked shrimps as my toppings.  For the tare sauce, I used the lemon soy sauce from Cooking with a Dog's Hiyashi Chuka recipe.  Cooking with a Dog is a YouTube cooking show about a Japanese woman (aka The Chef) who cooks WITH her super adorable toy poodle called Francis.  If you haven't tuned in to this YouTube channel before, do it!  There's almost 100 videos with very straightforward preparations of Japanese home cooking and they all look so very delicious!

Serves 2
Difficulty: Easy

2 bags of ramen noodles
4 slices of cooked ham, cut into fine strips
5-6 cooked shrimps
1 Japanese cucumber, cut into fine strips
1 tomato, cut in 12 wedges
1 cup of imitation crab meat, shredded finely
1 teaspoon with sesame oil

For the lemon soy sauce dressing:
100ml chicken broth
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Karashi (Japanese Hot Mustard) to taste

For the egg omlete:
2 eggs
1 tablespoon mirin
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon corn starch

1. Mix all the ingredients for the lemon soy sauce (except for the Karashi) in a small bowl.  Whisk to combine and put the mixture in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
2. Mix the corn starch with water until dissolved and add the mixture to another small bowl with the eggs, mirin, sugar, and salt.  Beat the egg mixture until uniform in colour.
3. In a small non-stick pan, heat oil over medium heat. Pour half of the egg mixture into the pan and quickly swirl the pan to spread the egg into a thin layer like a pancake.  When the egg is almost cooked, turn off the heat and flip the egg.  Use the remaining heat to cook the other side.  Transfer to a chopping board when done.  Repeat this step for the rest of the egg mixture and pile the second layer on top of the first one on the chopping board.  Cut the egg omlete into fine strips and set aside.
4. Cook the ramen noodles in a pot of boiling water according to the instructions on the package.  Drain and rise the noodles with running cold water and then transfer cooked pasta into a bowl with ice water.  Drain the noodles completely and toss it with 1 teaspoon of sesame oil.
5. Serve the noodles in a chilled plate and top it with the shredded egg, cucumbers, crab meat, ham and tomatoes.  Drizzle the dressing over the noodles and serve the Hiyashi Chuka with karashi hot mustard.

1. Adding the corn starch in the egg will help the omlete stay together when fried.
2. Similar to my Scallops and Salmon Roe Cold Pasta recipe, you can put the serving plates in the freezer just before you start cooking.  Serving the cold noodles on a chilled plate will keep it cool while you're eating it.

Let's take a look at other members' Hiyashi Chukas!

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