Cold Noodles – Japanese Summer Recipes

food ramen recipes

It's a typical scene in anime series: The protagonists sigh as they sink onto the wooden veranda of a traditional Japanese house, a wet towel around their necks and a fan in their hands. The cicadas chirp and a wind chime rings merrily in the breeze. It's summer in Japan and that means high temperatures and even higher humidity. To cool down, in addition to classics such as ice-cold barley tea or watermelon, there are a number of delicious recipes for cold noodles in Japan.

While we are only familiar with cold noodles in the form of noodle salad, Japanese culture has produced a number of variations to whet the appetite even on hot days. We present two dishes that taste light and refreshing in summer temperatures. The recipes are easy to make at home. We have linked everything you need in the MYCONBINI online store for Japanese food.

Recipe for Zaru Soba - Cold Buckwheat Noodles With Dip

The absolute classic among Japanese dishes with cold noodles is zaru soba. The term soba refers to buckwheat noodles. They have a hearty, nutty taste and are an integral part of everyday Japanese cuisine. For zaru soba, the brownish noodles are sprinkled with finely chopped strips of nori seaweed and dipped in a thin sauce called tsuyu. Depending on taste, the tsuyu can also be spiced up with wasabi or fresh spring onions.
The name of the recipe goes back to the traditional form of presentation. This is because zaru means “strainer” in Japanese and, in true style, zaru soba is eaten from a lacquered plate on which a bamboo sieve has been placed. But this Japanese summer dish with cold noodles also tastes delicious on a normal plate.

Ingredients (serves 2):



1. Cook the Soba Noodles:

  • Bring a large pan of water to the boil.
  • Add the soba noodles to the boiling water and cook according to the instructions on the packaging.
  • Drain the noodles and rinse thoroughly under cold water to remove the starch and cool the noodles.
  • Place the cooled noodles in a bowl of ice water to cool completely.

2. Prepare the Tsuyu:

  • In a small saucepan, heat the soy sauce, mirin and sugar or rice siurp over medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Add the dashi stock and mix well.
  • Allow the sauce to cool and then place in the fridge until chilled.

Tip: You can also prepare the sauce in advance and keep it in the fridge for up to three days. If you don't have time to prepare the dip yourself, you can also use ready-made soba tsuyu.

3. Serve:

  • Arrange the soba noodles on a plate. In Japan, two to three ice cubes are often placed on top of the noodles to keep them cool.
  • Pour the cold zaru sauce into small bowls.
  • Arrange the nori strips over the noodles.
  • Optional according to taste: Serve the sliced spring onions and wasabi in small bowls or directly on the plate next to the noodles and sprinkle sesame seeds over the noodles.

4. Enjoy:
You decide how you prefer to eat your zaru soba. Add ginger, radish, wasabi and spring onions to the sauce as desired. The soba noodles are then dipped into the tsuyu and slurped.

Recipe for Hiyashi Chuka Gomadare - Cold Ramen Noodles With Sesame Sauce

Foto: Hajime Nakano, Flickr, CC BY 2.0 DEED

Hot ramen soup is the worldwide trend dish. But did you know that ramen noodles are really versatile and can also be eaten cold, for example? A classic dish that you can order in many restaurants in Japan in summer is hiyashi chuka: cold ramen with boiled chicken breast, ham, egg strips and vegetables. This colorful mixture is often served with a tsuyu, as we introduced to you above with the zaru soba, but the dish with cold noodles also tastes super refreshing with a sesame sauce.

Ingredients (serves 2):

Sesame sauce:

  • 4 tbsp sesame paste (tahini)
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • Water (to thin the sauce if necessary)


1. Cook the Ramen Noodles:

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  • Add the noodles to the boiling water and cook according to the instructions on the package.
  • Drain the noodles and rinse thoroughly under cold water to remove the starch and cool the noodles.
  • Place the cooled pasta in a bowl of ice water to cool completely.

2. Cook the Chicken Breast:

  • Bring a pot with 1 liter of water to a boil.
  • Wash and slice the ginger.
  • Wash the spring onions and cut into pieces about 5 cm in size.
  • Add the ginger, onion pieces, salt and chicken breast to the water.
  • Bring the water to the boil and skim off any foam.
  • Turn the heat down to low, cover the pan with a lid and leave just a small slit open, cook for a further 15 minutes.
  • Then remove the cooked chicken breast from the pan and pat dry with a kitchen towel.

3. Prepare the Sesame Sauce:

  • In a bowl, mix the sesame paste, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, grated ginger and chopped garlic well.
  • Add water as required to thin the sauce to the desired consistency.
  • Chill the sauce until ready to serve.

Tip: To grate ginger easily, original Japanese graters are available in our store.

4. Prepare the Egg:

  • Lightly beat the egg and season with a pinch of salt.
  • Fry the egg thinly in a small, oiled pan over a medium heat, similar to a crêpe.
  • Allow the thin omelette to cool and cut into thin strips.

Foto: whity, Flickr, CC BY 2.0 DEED

5. Prepare Vegetables and Side Dishes:

  • Cut the cucumber, ham and tomato into thin strips.
  • Also cut the nori sheet into thin strips.
  • Using two forks, shred the cooked chicken breast into thin strips.

6. Serving:

  • Arrange the chilled pasta on a large plate.
  • Arrange the sliced vegetables, chicken strips, ham strips, tomato slices and ice cream strips decoratively on top of the noodles.
  • Sprinkle nori strips and sesame seeds over the dish (optional).
  • Serve the cold sesame sauce separately or pour over the noodles.

7. Enjoy:
The Hiyashi Chuka looks very appetizing due to the different, colourful ingredients. The Japanese noodle dish is only mixed with the sesame sauce and enjoyed chilled when ready to eat.

There are many more Japanese summer dishes for cold noodles. We hope these two recipes will whet your appetite for more and help you to enjoy some authentic Japanese cuisine even when it's hot outside.

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