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Back Pocket Recipe: Ivan Orkin’s Hiyashi Chuka

Back Pocket Recipe: Ivan Orkin’s Hiyashi Chuka

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A cold noodle dish is Ivan Orkin’s back pocket ramen recipe.We all have recipes that we keep coming back to. They’re the ones we lean on for dinner parties or potlucks.

The ones we make when we aren’t feeling ambitious, but still want impressive results. We make them over and over again and always get rave reviews. At OXO, we like to call them our Back Pocket Recipes.

These recipes are too good not to share, and that’s what inspired us to start collecting them. So we’re getting back pocket recipes from our favorite chefs, influencers, cookbook authors and OXOnians, so you too can have a Back Pocket Recipe to rely on.

ivan orkin

Ivan Orkin, the chef behind Ivan Ramen, has a recipe for a popular dish served throughout the hot months in Japan:

The name of this dish literally translates to “chilled Chinese”, and as all ramen dishes do, it traces its roots back to China. Besides being incredibly refreshing, the dish is also supremely versatile. Traditional toppings typically include; julienned ham, julienned cucumber, cooked egg, and sliced tomato, but one could add almost any leftovers found in the fridge. Cooked chicken, shrimp, roast beef, or even bacon are all excellent choices. You can also swap out the cucumbers and tomatoes for whatever fresh vegetables you have. In the spring, at Ivan Ramen, we do a version with crisp radishes and sweet peas. In the summer, we love to take advantage of peak season tomatoes and sweet corn, and during the fall some roasted squash or mushrooms make a great addition. The component that really brings the entire dish together is the tare, or dressing. It is an almost “drinkable” vinaigrette, which is wonderfully complex and displays a great balance of acidity, sweetness, and umami. Give this recipe a try on a hot day, or to take advantage of any leftovers you have in the refrigerator and make your own version.  There are no rules!

Some notes on ingredients: 

You really want to use fresh ramen noodles if you can. If they are frozen, make sure to handle them carefully while frozen, and let them thaw gently in the fridge before using. A thicker noodle is preferred for this recipe, but any ramen noodle will work. (In a pinch, dried ramen noodles with no seasoning, can be substituted.  Cook them and cool them as described in this recipe)

making ramen noodles

Brown Rice Vinegar is available in many Asian grocery stores (or on Amazon). If you have never had it, you should seek it out. It is delicious. If you can’t find it or do not have it on hand for this recipe, go ahead and sub in either all rice vinegar or substitute a third of the rice vinegar with sherry or malt vinegar for a more complex flavor. 

The recipe here is a fairly traditional version: 

For the Noodles

Instructions

  1. First, set up a bowl with some ice cubes and cold water while you get some unsalted water up to a boil.
  2. Follow the cooking directions on the package of the noodles. If there are no instructions, cook just barely past the “al dente” stage. They should still be firm, but there should not be any resistance in the center when biting through the noodle, as they will be shocked in ice water to stop the cooking process.
  3. Once the noodles are cooked, remove them from the boiling water, and immediately transfer them to the bowl of ice water. Move them around once they are in the ice water so they don't clump and retain any of their heat. Once cooled, drain them thoroughly.

For the Hiyashi Chukka “Tare” (the dressing)

**Makes enough for up to 18 portions. You can make this in advance and leave it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.:

Ingredients

500ml soy sauce (2 cups + 1 Tablespoon)

170ml sake (3/4 cup)

170ml mirin (3/4 cup)

300ml rice vinegar (1 1/4 cup)

180ml brown rice vinegar (3/4 cup)

60ml sesame oil (1/4 cup)

Garlic Oil (see recipe below) (1/4 Cup + 1 T)

150g honey (if you don't have a scale, this is just shy of a half cup)

18g salt (Roughly 1 Tablespoon)

Instructions

  1. Combine the sake and mirin in a heavy bottomed pot. Bring it to a boil and then reduce to a gentle simmer for 3 minutes to remove the raw alcohol flavor.
  2. Add the soy sauce, honey, and salt to the pot and stir until all are dissolved.
  3. Remove from the heat and allow the liquid to cool.
  4. Mix all of the remaining ingredients together with the cooled mixture, making sure the salt and honey are fully incorporated and dissolved.

For the garlic oil

This is optional, you can substitute canola oil or any other neutral flavored oil:

Ingredients

4 garlic cloves

75ml Canola Oil (1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon)

Instructions

  1. Crush the garlic lightly with the flat side of a knife blade.
  2. Combine the garlic and canola oil in a small saucepan and put on very low heat. The oil is done when the garlic is very soft. (About 10 minutes)
  3. Strain and reserve the oil for this recipe. The garlic solids can be saved for other use They are good on literally anything and can be combined with some butter for quick garlic spread or rubbed on meat before grilling or even added to your favorite dressing or condiment.

To make the scallion omelet

Ingredients

3 eggs, beaten

2 Tablespoons scallions, cut into rings

Oil for cooking

Instructions

  1. Heat the pan on low heat for a minute or so. When hot, add a light film of oil to the pan then add eggs to cover the bottom of the plan in a thin, even layer
  2. Sprinkle scallion rings evenly over the top, and gently shake the pan. When the egg has just fully set, flip it out onto a cutting board upside down. As soon as it is cool enough to handle, roll the egg up around itself into a “tube” and make thin slices across, resulting in thin strips of omelet.

To assemble the Bowl

Ingredients

1 portion of Noodles, drained

80 mL (roughly 3 oz) Hiyashi Chuka tare

1/4 cup julienned ham

1/4 cup julienned seedless cucumbers

3 slices of tomato

1/4 cup julienned scallion omelet

2 Tablespoons scallion rings

Karashi Mustard (the spicy Asian Mustard) – optional

Instructions

  1. Add the noodles to the serving bowl, then the Hiyashi Chuka tare.
  2. Mix them up together to ensure that the noodles are fully coated in the tare. Think of the bowl as being divided into 4 quadrants. In each separate section, you will lay out the ham, then cucumber, the omelet, then tomato.
  3. Garnish with scallions and a dollop of the Karashi mustard in the middle, if desired.
  4. Enjoy!

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