Summer weather means one thing: Chilled Chukka Ramen Salad
I’ve been reading Takashi’s Noodles by Takashi Yagihashi and I was intrigued by his Chilled Crab and Shrimp Salad with Chukka-Soba Dressing. I loved this dish as a kid and I can still remember the cold and chewy noodles topped with cucumbers and a sweet and vinegary dressing. It was the perfect thing on a hot summer day. I use dried ramen noodles but frozen ramen noodles works well too. I would not recommend using instant ramen noodles because I guess I’m just a ramen snob or something. I would use it in a pinch.
Grinding your own sesame seeds takes time, but it’s well worth it. Toast the sesame seeds lightly, then grind it using a suribachi mortar and pestle like the one here.
Chilled Chukka Ramen Salad
For the Salad
2 servings of dried ramen noodles, about 3 ounces each (frozen ramen is ok, too)
2-inch piece of carrot, peeled and sliced into thin sticks
2-inch piece of cucumber, peeled and deseeded, sliced into thin sticks
1 beaten egg, with a pinch of sugar and salt
2.5 ounces of ham, sliced 1/4-inch thick and cut into sticks
4-5 grape tomatoes, halved
1 teaspoon oil for cooking the egg
3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
2 tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
nori seaweed cut into thin strips
toasted sesame seeds
1. Grind the sesame seeds into a rough paste using a suribachi mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. Heat the soy sauce, rice vinegar, mirin, and sugar in a small saucepan for 1-2 minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice and sesame oil. Add this to the ground sesame seeds and stir to combine. Set aside. (Note: if you don’t have time, leave the sesame seeds whole, but reduce the amount to 1 tablespoon. Increase the amount of sesame oil to 1 tablespoon.)
2. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the dried ramen noodles. Boil the noodles for about 5 minutes or until they are just cooked. Drain the noodles in a colander and immediately rinse it with cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well.
3. Heat the oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the beaten eggs. When the omelette is almost cooked, turn it over and heat for 10 more seconds. Cut the omelette into thin strips.
4. In a bowl, add 2 tablespoons of the chukka dressing to the chilled ramen noodles. Stir to combine. Divide the ramen on individual plates and place the carrots, cucumbers, omelette strips, and ham on top of the ramen. Pour 1 tablespoon of the chukka dressing over the vegetables on each plate. Garnish with nori seaweed strips and toasted sesame seeds. Serve salad chilled.