Friday, October 12, 2012

Hiyashi Chuka Guest Post!

About a month ago, our friend Naahmah made a lovely Japanese summer dish called Hiyashi Chuka.  The great thing about this dish is that it can be prepared for meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans!  It's all about the toppings and the amazing vegan savory broth that is poured over the noodles.  Here's the post she wrote about it.  I took the pictures and we enjoyed this meal outside because it was still warm!

Hiyashi Chuka translates literally to “chilled Chinese,” and it’s an example of shoku, an adaptation of Chinese cuisine for Japanese palates. It’s a summer dish – chilled noodles, chilled broth, and chilled toppings. While it’s from Japan, it’s a very easy dish to do, and a great way to use leftover bits and pieces from the fridge. While there’s a lot of toppings, they’re all discrete and you can make them at your leisure over the course of the day. The base is vegan, the toppings are at your discretion, and all you have to do is put it together and eat!

Sauce
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup Japanese soy sauce (Kikkoman or Yamasa are my favorites, feel free to use a low-sodium version)
  • 2 Tbsp freshly toasted sesame seeds
  • ½ tsp sesame oil

Grind the sesame seeds in a [waribashi] (if you’re being fancy) or a mortar and pestle, or your device of choice, until it is a fine paste. Mix the vinegar and sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved, then whisk together the rest of the ingredients. Chill.

Noodles
  • ½ lb to 1 lb fresh ramen or lo mein noodles
  • If you’re lucky and have an Asian supermarket at your disposal, this will be easiest. If you can’t find fresh ramen, look for a Chinese lo mein noodle, with egg in it, about the width of angel hair to spaghettini, curly and tangled together.  It may say “for stir frying.”
  • Bring a large pot of water to boil, no salt, and cook the noodles until they are al dente. Drain and chill in an ice bath, then set aside. Generally, I have this as the last step before assembly.

Toppings

Tamagoyaki
2-3 eggs, beaten with ½-1 tsp sugar, splash mirin or sake
You can find [LINK] of the art of making the thinly layered Japanese omelette, but it does take time. If you can’t quite get it working, just make multiple thin omelets, let them cool, and cut them into strips.


Slow Cooked Shiitake Mushrooms
  • 10 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked for at least 4 hours, with ¼ cup of the soaking liquid reserved
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ Tbsp sugar
  • 1 ½ Tbsp vegetable oil

Stir-fry the drained shiitake in the vegetable oil over high heat for at least 5 minutes. Mix the reserved liquid, soy sauce, and sugar, and add to the pan. Cook until the liquids have been absorbed or evaporated. Let cool, slice into strips.


Baby Bok Choy
3 bunches Baby Bok Choy
Steam until your desired level of crisp-tender, shock in an ice bath.


Tofu
Melody made a [baked, marinated tofu] that she sliced into strips. It was incredibly creamy and delicious.


Enoki Mushrooms
½ package Enoki mushrooms, broken into pieces
Clean and use raw.

Other Topping Ideas
  • Raw cucumber spears
  • Stir-fried bean sprouts
  • Poached chicken style seitan or commerical 'chicken' breast, sliced into strips
  • Marinated Tempeh, cooked and sliced into strips
  • Thinly sliced raw or crisp-tender cooked vegetables


Garnishes
  • Some aonori or thin strips of nori
  • [Beni Shoga]
  • [Karashi] or a strong Chinese-style mustard



 Thanks for such a delicious dinner! I look forward to having this again next summer! 

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