This version of hiyashi chuka (Japanese cold noodle) is made with healthy soba noodles. Refreshing and easy to make, this is a great weeknight dinner to serve it noodle bar style and pack it for lunch the next day.
I fell in love with hiyashi chuka when I worked at my summer jobs in Japan in my 20s. Hiyashi chuka literally means “chilled Chinese”, as this dish is a Japanese interpretation of cold Chinese-style noodles. Although hiyashi chuka is typically a summer affair, it’s also suitable for anytime you want a light meal, or to pack a lunch requiring no heating-up. Watch the video below to see how easy it is to make hiyashi chuka.
What Kind of Noodles Should I Use?
You typically see white ramen noodles in hiyashi chuka. Although unconventional, I prefer to use soba (buckwheat) noodles because they are healthier and tastier. You can use the kind of noodles you prefer.
Making The Dish Gluten-Free
Some soba noodles on the market are made with 100% buckwheat, while others are made with partial buckwheat and partial wheat. Buckwheat is naturally gluten-free, so if you need to avoid gluten, be sure to check the ingredients of your soba noodles.
Similarly with soy sauce, some soy sauce contains wheat. To make your dressing gluten-free, use a gluten-free soy sauce. I use organic tamari soy sauce; tamari soy sauce is usually gluten-free.
Serving Hiyashi Chuka Noodle Bar Style
My personal favourite way to serve hiyashi chuka is noodle bar style. Think of it like a salad bar with a spread of toppings alongside your noodles and dressing. Each person can make a plate for themselves. This works really well for kids who are picky eaters and for a larger group at dinner parties.
You can easily make this meal ahead of time. Once you prepare the following items according to directions, make sure to store them in separate airtight containers in the fridge until serving time: noodles, corn, eggs, cucumber, tomato, carrot, ham, and the dressing. Mixing a little sesame oil into the noodles can prevent them from sticking together. Keep your toasted sesame seeds and roasted seaweed in the package to maintain crispiness, and only cut the seaweed right before serving.
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Hiyashi Chuka: Japanese Cold Noodle (Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free Option)
for the noodle bar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons avocado oil
- 1 large carrot thinly julienned
- 1 cup corn kernels
- 300 grams dry soba (buckwheat) noodles
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 small tomatoes sliced
- 1/2 large English cucumber thinly julienned
- 200 grams cooked ham thinly julienned
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds optional
- 2 cups roasted seaweed cut into 1/4-inch wide strips
for the dressing
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 6 tablespoons soy sauce gluten-free option: use tamari soy sauce
- 3 limes each lime yields about 2 tablespoons of lime juice
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil
- Crack and beat 2 eggs in a small bowl. Heat the avocado oil in a flat bottom pan over medium-high heat. (I use a 10" cast-iron skillet as shown in the video.) Pour the eggs into the pan to cover the entire bottom. Fry the egg crepe for about 1 minute or until slightly golden, turn over gently and then fry the other side to the same doneness.
- Cut the egg crepe into 4 large strips of equal width (see video), stack them together and then cut them into 1/4-inch thin strips.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the julienned carrots and boil for 1 1/2 minute, then remove the carrots using a slotted spoon. In the same pot, add the corn kernels and boil for 4 minutes, then remove the corn using a slotted spoon.
- While the water is still boiling, add the noodles and boil for 7 minutes or according to package direction until they reach desired softness.
- Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse under cold water. Transfer the chilled noodles into a large bowl. Mix 2 tablespoons of sesame oil into the noodles to prevent them from sticking together.
- Mix honey, soy sauce, freshly squeezed lime juice, and the remaining sesame oil in a medium bowl. Stir with a spoon until the honey is completely dissolved.
- Serve all toppings, the dressing and the noodles in separate bowls.
- To assemble a plate, place desired amount of noodles on the plate, then top with cucumber, tomato, egg, corn, ham, carrot. Pour some dressing on the noodles to your taste. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and garnish with a handful of seaweed.