Hiyashi Chuka, which literally means “chilled Chinese”, is a Japanese noodle dish that is perfect for hot summer days. Typically, it consists of chilled ramen noodles that are topped with a colorful array of seasonal ingredients and finished with a refreshing soy sauce and sesame oil vinaigrette. However, in our version, we switch things up by using soba noodles and topping with natto.
Natto, or fermented soybean, is a traditional Japanese food known for its sticky texture, pungent odor, and nutty taste. Due to its unique texture and smell, natto is known as a “love-it-or-hate-it” type of food. However, once you are able to move past any initial hesitation, you’ll be able to enjoy the many health benefits of natto. Rich in probiotics, fiber, and protein, natto is an excellent superfood to add to any diet.
In this recipe, we keep things vegan by topping the chilled soba with cucumber, red bell pepper, and atsuage (deep-fried bean curd). However, feel free to get creative and add your own twists to this recipe! Traditional Hiyashi Chuka ingredients include shrimp, ham, imitation crab, thin egg crepe, lettuce, and tomato. To plate, julienne the toppings into long, rectangular strips and layer them vertically on top of the noodles. Place toppings that are different colors next to each other to add to the visual appeal of this dish.
For a refreshing, light, and healthy meal that can be adapted to a variety of palates, try making Natto Hiyashi Chuka Soba!
- 1 serving soba noodles (try using 100% soba noodles)
- 2 tbsp cold water
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp soy sauce (available in our Creative Beginnings: Redefining "Wa" Care Package)
- 1/2 tbsp sugar
- 3 tbsp vinegar
- Natto (1 pack)
- 1 tbsp takuan (pickled daikon radish) (chopped)
- 1 tbsp shio konbu (salt kelp)
- 1 Japanese cucumber (or 1/3 English cucumber, julienned)
- 1/3 red bell pepper (julienned)
- 2-3 pieces atsuage (deep‐fried bean curd, julienned)
- Cook the noodles in a pot of boiling water as per the instructions on the package, drain, rinse in ice cold water, drain again and put on a plate/bowl
- Mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
- Mix the takuan and shio konbu with the natto.
- Top the noodles with the natto mixture from step 3 and the other cut toppings, pour the sauce on top and enjoy!
Introduction courtesy of Britney Budiman
Britney Budiman (@booritney) is a writer, minimalist, aspiring effective altruist, and runner-in-progress with a penchant for saying “yes.” Previously, she has worked in Cambodia at a traditional arts NGO, in Brazil as a social sciences researcher, and in San Francisco at a housing start-up. She currently lives in the countryside of Kagoshima, Japan, where she teaches English. Her favorite thing in the world is good conversation.