Pho is a labor of love. It can take hours, sometimes even a couple of days to create the famously flavorful broth. But this Chicken Pho can be on the table in under 2 hours! I have a couple tricks to coax maximum flavor with read more
July and August in Japan (and really almost everywhere) can be incredibly hot and humid. So instead of steaming hot bowls of noodle soups, they turn to cold noodles, including this hiyashi chuka, a vibrantly colorful cold ramen noodle bowl.
Hiyashi Chuka translates to “chilled Chinese”, probably a nod to the ramen noodles, which originated in China. But as far as I know, that’s really all that is Chinese about this dish. It’s one of those dishes that doesn’t really have a set recipe because it is endlessly customizable. And each home makes it a little differently based on taste and what is in the fridge. Eating less meat? Leave out the ham. Don’t love bean sprouts? No problem, throw in your favorite veggie. These bowls can be assembled ahead of time and kept chilled, making Cold Ramen an ideal ending to a long, hot, summer day. Don’t be put off by the lengthy list of steps; this is very simple and straight forward to prepare.
Cold Ramen Sauce
While there may not be hot broth for this summer noodle dish, there is a tangy and umami rich sauce. This is a highly seasoned sauce, which is important because you are topping it on unseasoned noodles and juicy veggies, which tend to leach a lot of water into the dish. You can make this sauce ahead of time and store it in the fridge. It’s good for about a week.
Cold Ramen Toppings
The first topping I make is the egg crepes. Start by whisking the eggs. Then prepare a nonstick skillet by pouring in a little oil and then wiping it out with a paper towel. Use this oil soaked paper to season the pan each time before you pour in more egg.
Once the egg crepes are done, the rest of the toppings are very quick to prepare. I blanche the bean sprouts in boiling water for 20 seconds, and then drain them.
Then I cut all the rest of the toppings into long strips. Not only does it look nice, but when you scoop the ramen noodles, all the yummy toppings will be scooped with them too.
Assemble Cold Ramen Noodle Bowls
Cook the noodles according to package directions. Usually they just need 1-2 minutes depending on the thickness of the noodle. It’s important that you loosen and untangle the noodles with your hands before dropping them in the boiling water. Also, make sure you use chopsticks or tongs to continue untangling the noodles so they cook evenly as individual strands.
Once the noodles are cooked, rinse them under cold water to remove excess starch, drain them well, and divide into serving bowls. For whatever reason, ramen noodles are packaged 3 per pack which is why this recipe yields three servings. If you need another serving, buy two packages and freeze any extra noodles. You can defrost the noodles overnight in the fridge when you need them. Do not cook the noodles straight from the freezer as the noodle ball will cook as a lump and you will not be able to get the noodles to untangle.
I like to add fun garnishes like toasted sesame seeds, pickled ginger, Japanese hot mustard, and some sliced scallions.
And I serve it with sauce on the side so that everyone can decide how much they like. Plus, the dark sauce tends to dye everything once it’s poured so the dish has much better wow factor if you serve it un-sauced.
Chill out this weekend and enjoy these Cold Ramen noodles. Then take a moment to rate and comment on the recipe, and show off your bowls by tagging us @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 4 Tablespoons sugar
- 6 Tablespoons rice vinegar (unseasoned)
- 2 Tablespoons roasted sesame oil
- 3 Tablespoons water
- ¼ teaspoon dashi powder (optional)
- 1 Tablespoons toasted white sesame seeds
- 1 tsp grated or minced ginger
- 1 large clove garlic minced
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 9 large shrimp (I used 21/25 size)
- 2 Persian cucumbers (or ⅓ English cucumber, julienned)
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 1 8 ounce ham steak or 4 slices ham
- 6 pieces crabstick (½ cup real crab meat)
- 3 eggs
- Oil for making egg crepe
Noodles and Garnish:
- 3 servings fresh ramen noodles (6 oz or 170 g fresh noodles per person)
- 2 scallions sliced thin
- 1 Tbsp toasted white sesame seeds
- 3 Tablespoons pickled red ginger (beni shoga or kizami beni shoga)
- 3 teaspoons Japanese karashi hot mustard
Make the sauce:
- Combine all the sauce ingredients.
- Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
- Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use. The sauce stays fresh for a week in the fridge.
Make the egg crepe:
- Crack the eggs into a small bowl with a couple dashes of salt and whisk to scramble them. Set aside.
- Heat a small skillet over medium heat for several minutes. Pour a tablespoon of oil into the pan. Take a paper towel, crumple it, and then wipe the inside of the pan with the paper. (Leave the oil-soaked paper aside to wipe the pan between each batch).
- Add 2 Tablespoons of the egg to the pan and swirl it to cover the bottom of the pan. Keep swirling until you don’t have any more liquid egg to swirl.
- Cover the pan with a lid and cook the egg for 20 seconds and then take the lid off.
- Blow onto the egg. (The edge will lift up). Flip the egg with chopsticks or a spatula and cook the other side for another couple of seconds.
- Transfer the egg crepe to a plate.
- Wipe the pan with the oil-soaked paper and continue cooking in the same way until all of the egg is used up and you have a pile of egg crepes. Set the plate aside until the egg is cool enough to handle. Then cut the egg crepe in half, stack the egg halves, and then slice into very thin strips.
Prepare the remaining toppings:
- Bring 2 ½ cups of water to a boil over high heat.
- Add 1 teaspoon of salt and the shrimp and stir to combine.
- Turn off the heat and let the shrimp sit in the hot water for 3 minutes.
- Transfer the shrimp to a plate and let it cool.
- Rinse the pot and again fill with water.
- Bring the water to a boil over high heat and add the beansprouts.
- Stir the bean sprouts and let them cook for 10-20 seconds.
- Drain the sprouts into a colander and cool under running water. Drain and set aside.
- Next we will be cutting all of the toppings into long thin strips which will mimic the shape of the noodles.
- Slice the cucumber into thin planks and then stack the slices and cut across lengthwise to yield long thin strips. Set aside.
- Next cut the ham into thin strips. Set aside.
- Unwrap the crab sticks and then use your hands to gently separate the strands. Set aside.
Prepare the noodles:
- Open the packages and use your hands to untangle and separate the noodles. Bring a big pot of water to a boil and add the noodles. Stir with chopsticks or a pair of tongs to separate the individual strands and to keep them from sticking together. Cook according to package directions (should be about 1-2 minutes).
- Drain the noodles in a strainer/colander and rinse the noodles under running water to remove excess starch and cool the noodles. Drain the noodles completely and divide the noodles into individual plates/bowls.
- Place all the toppings attractively on top of the noodles. Use whichever garnishes you like and top your noodles. Serve cold ramen with sauce on the side.
*you can make these cold ramen noodle bowls ahead of time. Keep the bowls covered and refrigerated until ready to serve.
Keywords: cold noodles, noodles, summer, japanese, shrimp, cucumbers, ramen
Have some kimchi laying around in the fridge that you need to use up? Try these Korean style dumplings, known as Mandu. They are stuffed with shrimp and kimchi, so they are packed with explosive flavor. And of course I serve them with a yummy dipping sauce. I even manage to squeeze some noodles into them, and I make no apologies for that. Noodles are life! So what are you waiting for?
First Make Mandu Dipping Sauce
Dipping sauces are half the fun of dumplings, whether you call them potstickers, mandu, wontons, or gyoza. And this one has the gingery, tangy, toasty flavor we all love. A little rice vinegar, some soy sauce, minced ginger and garlic, sugar and toasted sesame oil create a perfectly balanced sauce. Just mix everything together and set aside.
Make the Mandu Filling
I start with the shrimp. Since they are going to be ground, it doesn’t matter what size you use. Get whatever’s on sale! Also, it’s not necessary to grind them to paste; chunks of shrimp will give your dumplings much better texture and flavor.
I use one of my favorite noodles for this, the Korean noodle made out of sweet potato starch. They have an awesome chewy texture, and they are naturally gluten free. They can be labeled as either Japchae or Dangmyeon noodles. (Try them in my Mushroom Japchae). You can substitute with mung bean noodles (also known as bean thread noodles) if you’re at a Chinese grocery store that doesn’t carry Korean products.
Shape the Mandu
I use a very simple fold and seal to speed up the process. If you want to try your hand at a more decorative, but more labor intensive dumpling, I give detailed instructions in the note section on how to make the pretty pleats.
Repeat with the rest of the filling, which should yield about 3 dozen dumplings. (Do you see a couple of dumplings that don’t match in the photo below? This is what happens when other people want to help you! 😉 You can freeze some at this point, and I give instructions for that in the note section. Having delicious homemade dumplings in the freezer ready to go for a last minute craving is like money in the bank. The best part is not having to defrost the dumplings before cooking. They go straight into the pan from the freezer. Add a couple more minutes of cooking time and you’re good to go.
Cooking the Mandu
Dumplings in Korea can be deep fried, pan fried, boiled, or steamed. I give directions for boiling them, which creates a softer dumpling. I prefer them pan fried; I love the crispy wrapper which contrasts with the soft interior, but you do you.
Then I add a little water to the pan and cover it with a lid. This creates steam which helps to ensure the filling is cooked all the way through. After a couple minutes, once the water has evaported I take the lid off and let the mandu crisp up a little bit before serving.
These shrimp and kimchi mandu are crispy, spicy, and make a terrific starter. Or just eat a plateful and call it dinner. It will be our secret. Let me know what you think by rating and commenting on the recipe below. And don’t forget to show off your gorgeous dumplings by tagging us @funkyasiankitchen; we love seeing your creations!
- 1 package dumpling skins
- neutral oil for pan frying
- ½ pound shrimp (you can use any size since you will be chopping them up)
- 1 egg, divided
- 2 teaspoons potato starch (can also use corn starch)
- 2 ounces dried sweet potato starch noodles (dangmyeon)
- ¼ yellow onion minced
- ½ cup chopped garlic chives (2 oz. about ¼ of a large bunch)
- 1 cup kimchi, squeezed tightly to eliminate juice and finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 teaspoons peeled and minced ginger
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
Make the dipping sauce:
- Combine the garlic, ginger, rice wine vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and sesame oil.
- Stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.
Make the filling:
- In a food processor, place the shrimp, egg white (save the yolk for later), potato starch, garlic, and ginger into the bowl.
- Pulse 8-10 times until roughly chopped. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add the sweet potato starch noodles and lower the heat to medium high.
- Simmer the noodles for 6-8 minutes until the noodles are chewy and do not have a hard core (taste one to check).
- Strain the noodles into a colander and rinse under running water to cool.
- Then put the noodles into some paper towels to dry off the noodles.
- Chop the noodles into small ¼ inch pieces and add them to the shrimp mixture.
- Add the minced onion, chives, kimchi, ginger, oyster sauce, toasted sesame oil, salt, and pepper to the shrimp bowl.
- With clean hands or a spoon, mix the ingredients well.
Make the Mandu/Dumplings:
- Put the egg yolk into a small bowl and whisk well with a fork.
- Take one dumpling wrapper and brush half of the edge with the egg wash. Spoon 1 Tablespoon of filling onto the wrapper.
- Fold the wrapper over and seal the edges. This makes a simple half coin dumpling.*
- Set the dumpling aside on a tray and keep making more dumplings until all of the filling has been used up. You will yield approximately 36 dumplings.
Pan Frying the Dumplings:
- Heat a pan over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Add a Tablespoon or two of oil (depending on the size of the pan you are using) and swirl to coat the pan.
- Add as many dumplings as will fit the pan without the dumplings touching.
- Cook the dumplings for 2 minutes until the bottoms are golden brown. Flip them and brown the other side for 1 minute.
- Add 2-3 tablespoons of water and cover the pan with a lid. Cook with a lid and cook for 2 more minutes until the water has evaporated.
- Take off the lid and cook for an additional minute to re-crisp the skin. Transfer the mandu to a plate and serve with the dipping sauce.
- Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a 4 quart pot over high heat.
- Add 8-10 dumplings and cook for 2-3 minutes until the dumplings float to the surface.
- Scoop them out with a slotted spoon or spider, letting the water drain back into the pot.
- Repeat with more dumplings as desired.
- Transfer the dumplings to a plate and serve with the dipping sauce.
*If you would prefer to make more decorative mandu, place 1 tablespoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper and then holding the dumpling with your left hand (if you are right handed), pleat the dumplings by pushing the dough with your left index and middle fingers to create a fold and then pulling it with your right index finger, pinching gently to form a pleat. Seal the pleat by pinching it firmly with the right index finger and thumb. Keep folding and sealing 6-7 times across the top of the dumpling until you have a row of beautiful pleats. It takes a little practice to make it work, but keep trying. All misshapen dumplings taste amazing too!
*You can freeze any dumplings you do not plan on consuming immediately. Put them on a tray so they are not touching. Freeze them for 6-8 hours until they are frozen solid. Bang the tray on the kitchen counter to loosen the dumplings and transfer them to a zip top freezer bag or an airtight container. You should cook them straight from frozen, adding 2-3 more minutes to the cooking time.