Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hiyamugi with Sesame Dipping Sauce

As a Japanese person living in U.S., I tend to be the Japanese food expert among my non-Japanese friends. Rice and miso soup was part of my life, and my knowledge about Japanese food should be much deeper than someone who grew up with burgers and pizzas. However, this turned out not to be true in the blog world. La Fuji Mama, one of my favorite blogs, has a brilliant collection of authentic Japanese recipes. It's easy to tell through her blog that she is an amazing cook and has native-level knowledge of Japanese food. On her recent post, she selected cold Japanese noodles as a topic. There were mouth watering pictures of hiyashi chuka, somen, and soba, and I've been craving for them.

Hiyamugi is probably less known compared to soba or udon. You can think of it as very thin udon or slightly wider somen. That's basically all it is. I just had house-made hiyamugi at Kajitsu, a very nice Japanese restaurant in New York City, and it came with a fabulous sesame dipping sauce. At the restaurant, the sauce making starts with preparing konbu dsahi, seaweed stock. In my version, I took a shortcut and used store bought dashi soy sauce, Japanese soup base. It may not be as delicate as Kajitsu's, but it's quick, easy and creamy yet refreshing. You won't miss a thing!

Hiyamugi with Sesame Sauce Print Recipe

2~4 inches Japanese or Taiwanese cucumber, thinly sliced 
a pinchsalt
2 Tbspwhite sesame paste
1 Tbspdashi soy sauce* (aka mentsuyu or soba tsuyu)
1 Tbspsoy sauce
1 cupwater
1 Tbspmirin
1/2~1 Tbsproasted white sesame seeds (optional)
3 bundles hiyamugi or somen

  1. Prepare the Sauce: Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the sliced cucumbers. Mix well and set aside. In a small pot, combine the sesame paste, dashi soy sauce, soy sauce, mirin and 1/2 cup of water and bring to a boil. Cook for 2~3 minutes whisking to incorporate the sesame paste with liquid.  Pour the sesame mixture in a different container and add the 1/2 cup of water.
  2. Rinse the salted cucumbers and squeeze out the excess water.  Add the cucumbers in the sesame mixture and chill in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes or until cool.     
  3. Cook the Noodles: Fill a large stock pot at least half full with water and bring to a boil.  Add all the hiyamugi at the same time and cook, stirring occasionally, according to the directions of the package.  If the pot froths to the point of overflowing, add some cold water to calm it down. When it's done, rinse with running cold water and drain well.  Serve on plates and sprinkle sesame seeds if desired. 
  4. Serve with the sesame dipping sauce on the side. 

Serves 3

* mirin and dashi soy sauce(mentsuyu/soba tsuyu) are easy to find at Asian grocery stores. 


Fuji Mama said...

Your hiyamugi looks DELICIOUS!! Thank you for your kind words. I always get nervous posting my Japanese recipes, because I know that I have Japanese readers reading, and I want to do their amazing cuisine justice!