Hiyashi Chuka is a Japanese ramen salad that is perfect to eat when it’s too hot to cook or you need a meal that is easy to prep ahead and serve. It’s also a great recipe for potlucks and picnics. Hiyashi chuka is typically made with fresh ramen noodles (which may contain egg), but I use dry ramen, udon, or soba (which don’t contain egg in the ingredients) interchangeably depending on what I have in my cupboard. This post was updated on September 5, 2023 for clarity and with a new photo.
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Hiyashi Chuka is the perfect meal on a hot day!
When I spent a summer in Japan, one of my favorite dishes to eat was Hiyashi Chuka, it’s so refreshing. As a food allergy mom, I love that it’s easy to make or prep ahead, loaded with vegetables, and easy to adapt for food allergies. You can make it the way you like it: cold noodles plus your choice of cold toppings with a light dressing. I like to add some salad greens as a base for more vegetables.
I pick 4-6 different toppings to serve with the noodles. Ham is the least allergenic protein topping for us, but one could also use shrimp, imitation crab sticks, scrambled eggs, or roast turkey. I pick a few vegetables: grated carrots, chopped cucumbers, cut organic corn, blanched bean sprouts, and then top with optional garnishes such as green onions or toasted sesame.
As my boys got older, I started adding more salad greens with a mild flavored salad green such as romaine hearts, iceberg lettuce, or butter lettuce. This is a great dish to serve as a main meal for 4 people and great to share at a potluck or picnic. It’s also great for meal prepping for quick grab and go meals.
Serve and eat within the same day after you add the dressing. If you store the dressing separately, the salad will stay fresh for 1-2 days.
Allergy Aware Asian Noodles: Hakubaku
I buy fresh ramen from our local Japanese market rather than use instant ramen but that is not as convenient as pulling a package of noodles from my pantry. I have used Hakubaku’s organic dried noodles for many years and their noodles have the most incredible flavor and texture.
- Somen is a thin wheat based noodle, similar to capellini.
- Udon (affiliate) is a thicker and wider wheat based noodle, similar to linguine. Their udon is different from fresh udon, which is thicker.
- Soba is the dark brown noodle, made from buckwheat, with a little more bite, fiber, and flavor.
- Ramen (affiliate) is a wheat based noodle, not as chewy as fresh ramen, and more nutritious than instant ramen.
All are delicious. According to Hakubaku’s FAQ, their organic dry noodle products are made on shared lines with wheat, egg, soy, and buckwheat. If you can’t find Hakubaku products, look for similar products distributed by Wel-Pac in the Asian section of conventional supermarkets. They’re good and have the same shared lines (wheat, egg, soy, and buckwheat).
Make a Japanese Inspired Salad Dressing
I also don’t use a lot of dressing, so readers might want to double the dressing ingredients or make another batch as needed.
- Tsuyu Tennen is a bonito (a type of fish) flavored soy sauce soup base and seasoning sauce that I buy from Nijiya, a Japanese grocery store located in several states. I’ve never called them about cross-contact but haven’t ever experienced any cause for concern either. If you can’t find a noodle soup base or have allergies to fish, the recipe notes includes instructions on how to make a similar dressing from scratch.
- Seasoned Rice Vinegar has a touch of sugar (ready to use for making sushi for other meals). I buy Marukan which seems to be a vinegar only company, but I have never called to check about any possible cross contact.
- Sesame Oil adds a nice flavor but is truly optional. I use Lee Kum Kee brand, which posts allergen information on their FAQ along with a phone number to contact them.
If you need suggestions for ingredients, please be sure to check out What’s in Nut Free Wok’s Cupboard? Allergy Aware Ingredients.
Hiyashi Chuka: Japanese Style Cold Noodle Salad
Perfect for a cool refreshing meal on a hot summer day. You can make this recipe quickly by prepping some of the ingredients while waiting for the water to boil for the noodles. It's also a great make-ahead meal for a potluck or picnics. This serves 4-6 as a main meal and 8-12 as a side dish.
- 1 package fresh ramen (8oz) or dry packaged Japanese noodles (soba, somen, udon, or ramen)
- 4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped or iceberg or butter lettuce
- 4 cups chopped or julienned vegetables Persian or English cucumbers, carrots, blanched bean sprouts, cut corn, edamame, grated carrot, halved cherry tomatoes, etc.
- 8 oz sliced ham or Canadian bacon, chopped or imitation crab, bay shrimp, and/or scrambled eggs (approximately 2 cups total)
- 1/2 cup scallions, chopped optional garnish
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame optional garnish
- 1/4 cup tsuyu tennen bonito soup base for noodles*
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil or olive oil
Boil water in a 4 qt or larger pot, cook noodles according the package, drain in a colander and rinse with cold water.
Wash and prepare the vegetables while waiting for the water to boil.
Chop sliced ham or Canadian bacon and prepare other toppings if using.
Combine dressing ingredients.
Place lettuce at the bottom of a large salad bowl.
If the noodles are stuck together, rinse with cold water, shake off extra water and add to the salad bowl.
Arrange the other toppings on top of or around the noodles (this is a good stopping point if the salad will be consumed later).
When ready to eat and serve, add the dressing and toss, serve immediately.
*If you can’t find tsuyu tennen soup base or are allergic to fish, you can make a close substitute: 3 tablespoons soy sauce (or soy sauce alternative), 2 teaspoon sake or mirin, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon seasoned rice vinegar, adjust to taste.
Calories are an estimate and may vary depending on what toppings you include.
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