Hiyashi Chuka, perfect for hot summer days

One day, I felt the rush to make Hiyashi Chuka or Japanese cold noodles with tangy sauce and a lot of toppings. Despite the very hot weather, I drove to the supermarket only to buy pork ham which is one of the ingredients I prefer, out of the blue, just like that. I blame the pregnancy hormones.

Hiyashi chuka is served in restaurants in Japan only during the summer months. It is a light, healthy, easy to put together, delicious meal anyone can make!


  • egg noodles (as much as you like)
  • oil for frying egg


  • slices of ham
  • 2 eggs
  • cucumber
  • cherry tomatoes
  • nori seaweed
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • soy sesame dressing (pictured on the right)*

* There are lots of dressing/sauce variations. I used the ready made bottle of Red Shell Sesame Soy Dressing but if you don’t have an Asian grocery store in your area, I am guessing (because I have not tried) – Italian dressing or experiment whatever salad dressing you have in your fridge and see what suits best! Amazon sells Kewpie Brand Deep-Roasted Sesame Dressing

ANOTHER SAUCE VERSION (the sesame sauce is creamy while this is watery, light, tangy and has that distinct Japanese taste)

  • 2 Tbsp Kikkoman Soy Sauce
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp Pure Sesame Oil
  • 1/2 tsp powdered chicken stock (or bouillon)
  • 4 Tbsp water

Mix everything together.


The beauty of this dish is that you can make your own version according to your taste. Toss in other topping ingredients like, cooked crab stick, wakame seaweeds, strips of cooked chicken breast, celery, etc


1. Heat oil in pan and pour scrambled the egg (with salt). Move the pan so the egg mixture is thin. Flip then remove from pan immediately/

2. Slice the toppings lengthwise – the cucumber, ham, fried scrambled egg (like it’s shredded) and nori seaweed. Quarter the cherry tomatoes.

3. Cook the noodles according to package instructions. When cooked, run the  noodles in tap water and dip in ice water bath to chill.

4. Drain the noodles.

5. Divide the noodles into service size bowls.

6. Arrange the toppings on top of the noodles.

7. Pour the desired sauce/dressing.

DONE! Now slurp your noodles like it’s nobody’s business!

Cold Soba Noodles, perfect for hot summer

Like Dubai, most of Japan gets hot and humid at this time of the year and my mother in-law knows that Dubai exceeds that hot and humid thing they are experiencing there.  Summer in Japan meant eating cold dishes to fight the heat. I got a heavy package a few days back and when I opened it, it was not surprising that she sent me dried soba noodles so we can have that taste of Japan summer – even inside our temperature controlled home.

dried soba noodles

Not all soba noodles are created equal as there is a different soba noodle in terms of texture, taste and color in different prefectures (provinces) in Japan. I lived in Nagano Prefecture, popular with Shinano or Shinshu soba noodles made with 100% buckwheat flour and water and nothing else. This soba variation is too starchy for me. However, Niigata Prefecture (my husband’s hometown) being a coastal area, adds seaweed (funori) as a bonding agent for their soba noodles. Along with the rich taste of high quality buckwheat, the seaweed adds smoothness in the soba. The one in the middle of the photo is from my mother in-law.

Okay…enough of the Soba 101 lesson. Let’s get to the recipe. It’s really simple – one of those quickie Japanese meals you can do and enjoy.


  • 100 g per person (most dried soba noodle packs come in 100 g bundles)

You can try the Hakubaku Organic Soba, Authentic Japanese Buckwheat Noodles sold online at Amazon.

Dipping sauce:

Combine everything in a pan, let boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Let it cool. You can do this ahead of time and store in the refrigerator.

* Making your own dashi stock

Boil water with sea kelp. Add bonito flakes, simmer more. Drain the bonito flakes, remove the sea kelp. Store for future use.


THE EASY WAY: Buy a concentrated tsuyu or mentsuyu then thin it out with water —>>>

Condiments (either one or all if you like):

  • Chopped spring onions (the white stalk part only) – for me this is a must
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Grated wasabi
  • Shichimi tohgarashi (7 kinds of pepper)
  • Chopped shiso leaves – if this is available 

1. Boil water in a big pot.

2. Like how you would cook pasta, add the dried soba noodles in the boiling water. But unlike cooking pasta that requires a ‘rolling boil’, reduce fire to medium so the noodles are just simmering.

3. Depending on the noodles and the cooking directions written on the package, cook the soba noodles for 7-8 minutes or test by easting a strand. It should be cooked well, not al dente like pasta or overcooked mushy.

4. When the soba noodles are cooked, drain them into a colander.

5. Fill the pot with running cold water and return the cooked soba. Yes, you rinse it with cold water to get that starchy smell and texture.

6. Gently swish the noodles with your hand and take a small amount out of the cold water. Allow water to drip off before placing in the zaru or bamboo slats (this serves as a strainer to drain excess water out).

We love our soba noodles cold so after rinsing in cold water, I immerse them in water with ice because the cold water tap in Dubai is not that cold.

soba in ice water

7. Sprinkle thin slices of nori seaweed in the soba noodles. You can buy pre-cut nori seaweed in most Japanese grocery stores. If you have the nori sheets the size of an A4 paper, you can improvise and cut it yourself (like what I did).

zaru soba

8. Place the soba mentsuyu (dipping sauce) in small bowls and serve.

cold soba

Dozo, meshi-agare (Enjoy your meal) !


UAE/Dubai residents can get various Japanese ingredients from the Japanese store, Dean’s Fujiya located near Lamcy Plaza in Bur Dubai. Telephone: 04-337-0401.