Hiyashi chuka-soba (summer time chilled ramen noodle)
When the hot and sticky summer approaches, Chinese-style restaurants across Japan begin to carry on their menus a special summer ramen noodle dish called hiyashi chuka-soba. The noodles are served cold with various toppings, and bathed in a refreshing sauce flavored with rice vinegar and sesame oil. This is one of the dishes which I taught at Battenkill Cooking School in Salem, NY, last Saturday, and everyone LOVE IT! Topping can be all vegetables or vegetables with seafood, ham or chicken. Serve chilled with a glass of chilled tea and beer!
1/4 cup mirin (sweet cooking wine) or 1/4 cup sweet sherry
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/3 cups chicken stock
1/3 cup shoyu (soy sauce)
2 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons ginger juice (peel and grate fresh ginger on a fine grater; place the grated pulb in a cheese cloth and squeeze to produce ginger juice)
3 cups mung-bean sprouts, soybean sprouts or 1 1/3 cups alfalfa
10 slices locally produced ham, cut into thin sticks (1/4-inch wide). 3-inch long
4 Kirby cucumber, julienned (each cucumber weighs about 3.5 ounce)
8 cherry tomatoes, cut into half
1 teaspoon sugar
13 ounces dried chuka-soba noodles (substitute it with Angel hair pasta)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
White sesame seed as garnish
Hot mustard paste as condiment
In a saucepan bring the mirin to a gentle simmer. Add the sugar and chicken stock and bring it to a boil. Add the soy sauce, and when the mixture boils again, transfer it to a clean jar. Add the rice vinegar, sesame oil and ginger juice. Let it cool and refrigerate for 2 hours. (You can prepare the sauce a day in advance.)
In a medium pot of boiling water blanch the mung bean or soybean sprouts for 30 seconds. (Alfalfa, 5 seconds). Drain them and place them in a bowl of cold water with ice cubes.
Break and beat the eggs in a bowl and add the sugar and 4 pinches of salt. Heat an 9-inch skillet. Put about 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil into the skillet, and coat the bottom evenly. Pour out the excess oil, reserving. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add enough egg liquid to thinly coat the bottom of the skillet. Cook the egg until it is firm on the bottom. Turn the omelet over and cook it for 3 seconds more. Remove the omelet from the skillet and let it cool. Make more thin omelet. Cut the omelet into fine julienne strips.
Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling water for 2 minutes (no salt added) or as instructed on the package. Drain the noodles, rinse them under cold running water, drain them again and toss them with the sesame oil. Transfer the noodles on a serving platter and garnish the top with the bean sprouts, ham, cucumber, tomato and julienned omelet. Pour the sauce over and chill in the refrigerator until served. Before serving the platter sprinkle the top with 2 tablespoons white sesame seed and 2 teaspoons hot mustard paste in a small cup on the side.