Kanako's Kitchen

Hiyashi Chuka: Chilled Noodles with Ham, Egg and Vegetables

Posted in main dish, Recipe by kanako on July 13, 2010

Walk down any main street in Japan at the start of the summer and you’ll see these little signboards hanging from restaurant shingles saying “We’ve Started Making Hiyashi Chuka” (Hiyashi Chuka Hajimemashita) . It’s when you start seeing those Hiyashi Chuka signs that you feel summer’s really started.

What is Hiyashi Chuka? Literally, it’s “chilled chinese” – meaning “chilled chinese noodles“, of course. It’s another of those refreshing cold-noodle dishes we Japanese instinctively turn to when the weather gets sticky and hot.

The key to this dish is the Kinshi tamago ( “Silk thread egg”) garnish: basically, a stack of omelettes sliced very very thin. It takes some practice to get kinshi tamago just right, but once you learn how to make it, it will be very useful to garnish a lot of Japanese dishes.

For this recipe, I use Japanese Somen noodles instead of chinese noodles.  That may seem contradictory, considering the name and all but, somehow, the real chinese noodles we find in Canada are different from “Made-in-Japan Chinese-style noodles” we get back home. Trust me, though: somen noodles work great with this recipe. Added plus: Somen noodles are easy to find in almost any Asian store.

Since so many of my readers seem to live in Japan, I should add a clarification: in Western Japan, where I’m from, this dish is often called “reimen“. This can lead to confusion on two fronts. First, because it sounds a bit like “ramen” – that ubiquitous hot noodle soup. The two are not at all the same. And, second, because in Eastern and Northern Japan, “reimen” refers to a spicy cold noodle dish from Korea that’s become Morioka’s signature dish: that kind of “reimen” is totally different from Hiyashi Chuka.


Ingredient: (for two)

  • Somen noodles – two bundles

Kinshi tamago

  • Eggs – two
  • Sugar – one teaspoon
  • Salt – a pinch

Sauce

  • Soy sauce – 5 tablespoons
  • Sugar – 3 tablespoons
  • Rice or apple cider vinegar – 5 tablespoons
  • Mustard – 1 tablespoon
  • Sesame oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Sesame seeds – 1 tablespoon
  • Water – 1 tablespoon

Other toppings

  • Cucumber
  • Cooked ham
  • Tomato
  • Shiso leaves (optional)


Preparation:

I. Make Kinshi Tamago

  1. Break the eggs in a small bowl and add one teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of salt.
  2. Lightly beat the eggs.
  3. Heat a pan and spread the oil. Clean away the excess of oil using kitchen paper.
  4. Pour a small amount of egg on the pan at very low heat (if it’s too hot, take the pan off the heat source and use the residual heat).
    Wave the pan to make the egg spread thinly but equally over the pan, like a crêpe.
  5. When the surface dries out, turn over the omelette, being careful not to break it.
    I recommande you to use your hand to flip the omelette. You can use a spatula, too. But I think it easier with your hands.
  6. Then take away from the heat and put the very thin omelette on a plate. Let it cool.
  7. Repeat three or four times.
  8. When all the omelettes are completely cooled, stack them on top of each other, roll them up and slice the roll very thinly using a high quality, very sharp kitchen knife.
    Rolling all the omelettes together is important, because if the roll is too small it’s difficult to slice them thin enough.
  9. Kinshi tamago is ready. Keep it in a tupperware container or wrap it up in cellophane to keep it from drying.

II. Make the sauce: Mix all the ingredient for sauce and keep it in the fridge.

III. Slice the vegetables and the ham.

IV. Boil and cool the noodles. ( See Somen for details.)

V. Topping:

  1. Place the cool noodles in a deep plate.
  2. Then place the vegetable separately over the noodles.
  3. Finally, pour the sauce over the dish. Serve.
  4. Add mustard and/or mayonnaise at the table, if you like.

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9 Responses

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  1. Jae said, on July 15, 2010 at 12:37 am

    Oh you’re back! Yea! I love your site dearly. It’s really elevated my Japanese home-cooking to a new level. I used the negimiso sauce on top of seared tuna and my family loved it!

    • Francisco Toro said, on July 15, 2010 at 7:58 am

      Great to have you back! Actually, it’s a bit of a relief to see we still have some readers!

      Yeah, that negimiso sauce is something else, isn’t it?

      Anyway, I hope it’s hot where you are, because summer is here and Kanako’s extremely into the seasonal stuff. Keep checking back!

      ft
      (the husband)

  2. Hiroko said, on July 15, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Looks delicious!Makes me want to eat hiyashi chuka tonight.

    • kanako said, on July 16, 2010 at 9:37 am

      Hiyashi chuka is one of the easy-to-recreate-outside-Japan dishes. Please try it!

  3. Jenn said, on July 23, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Welcome back! I am so happy to see you back and posting new recipes. Was so sad when I kept on coming back and seeing no new postings.
    Thanks a lot!

    I love hiyashi chuka. Gotta try your recipe soon.

    • kanako said, on July 23, 2010 at 5:07 pm

      Hi Jenn,
      thank you for your comments.
      I’m back now!

  4. Jenn said, on July 24, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Hi Kanako,

    It’s me again! I made your hiyashi chuka for lunch today. It was great! It was a bit of an improvisation as I did not have ham or cucumbers at home – ended up using other toppings instead. The sauce was great.
    Have to say, I never thought of using cold somen for the noodles part of the dish and really liked it.
    It was my first time trying to make kinshi tamago and drumroll please…..total success.
    Thanks again for your wonderful website and all the pictures….it helps so much!
    Have a great weekend.

  5. Kara Miller said, on June 28, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    I’ve been looking for hiyashi chuka! I can’t wait to try it at home. Thank you.

  6. Dean said, on March 16, 2013 at 12:56 am

    Hi Kanako,
    I tried your recipe a few months ago, and the taste was unforgettable. I would recommend others to include the shiso leaves because it adds a heavenly aromatic sweetness to the dish. Or so I think…

    Thank you for sharing the recipe!


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