This week’s sweltering summer heat made me crave the chilled Asian noodle salads from my pre-Paleo days (my “salad days,” pun intended), so I decided to make a Whole30-friendly Paleo Hiyashi Chūka (a.k.a. Cold “Ramen” Salad).

Several bowls of paleo cold ramen surrounded by bowls of paleo and soy-free dipping sauce.

What’s hiyashi chūka?

In short, it’s a refreshing summertime ramen salad—cold noodles served with a vibrant assortment of colorful toppings and seasoned with a chilled tare sauce, a sweet, umami-packed soy sauce flavored with mirin, vinegar, and dashi. Influenced by Chinese and Western cuisines, this 20th-century Japanese invention literally means “chilled Chinese food.” I have fond memories of slurping up bowls of hiyashi chūka while Henry and I ate our way through Kyoto; when we returned to San Francisco, we were determined to seek it out in Japantown.

Or, rather, I was determined to seek it out. Henry just tagged along to humor me.

Sadly, like many Asian dishes, hiyashi chūka doesn’t easily lend itself to being Paleo-ized. News flash: Ramen isn’t exactly a staple of caveman cuisine. I resigned myself to a ramen-free existence…until I saw on Instagram that my pal Kyle Hildebrant was frequenting a ramen joint in Portland that served a grain-free version using spiralized vegetables. Naturally, I had to go check it out myself.

The spiralized veggie noodles at Kayo’s Ramen Bar were fantastic in steaming broth, but in this hot hot heat, I knew what I really wanted was a bowl of hiyashi chūka. Plus, I had a sneaking suspicion that one of my new sauces from Ready or Not!, our upcoming cookbook, could double as the dipping sauce.

And guess what? I was right!

This veggie-packed, Whole30-friendly version of hiyashi chūka uses spiralized and blanched daikon noodles in place of cold ramen, and my All-Purpose Stir-Fry Sauce turns out to be a worthy replacement for the traditional soy-based tare. But just like the original, this chilled “ramen” salad is topped with a rainbow-hued assortment of julienned meat and veggies that you can customize according to your preferences.

If “All-Purpose Stir-Fry Sauce” doesn’t ring a bell, it will soon. This is my go-to sauce for stir-fries, marinades, stews, and much, much more. The recipe for the sauce is in the “Get Set!” section of our new Ready or Not! cookbook, but I’m spilling the beans here today because EVERYONE needs some in their kitchen arsenal. (Note: The recipe for the sauce in this recipe makes just ¼ of what I’d normally whip up, so if you’d like to use All-Purpose Stir-Fry Sauce for other purposes, do the math—or buy our cookbook!—to make a pint of the stuff.) Of course, if you’ve preordered our cookbook and downloaded the bonus thank you gifts, you already got the recipe as part of the 50-page preview of the new book!

Paleo Hiyashi Chūka (Cold “Ramen” Salad)

The whole point of Ready or Not! is to arm you with easy to prepare recipes that you can whip up no matter if you’re ready to cook or not—and All-Purpose Stir-Fry Sauce is one of the insanely versatile staples that’ll make cooking a breeze. If our cookbook hadn’t already gone to print months ago, this recipe for hiyashi chūka would’ve been featured smack dab in the “Kinda Ready!” section as a prime example of how to combine pre-made ingredients to easily transform and elevate your leftovers in minutes.

If you have a bottle of All-Purpose Stir-Fry Sauce on hand and some extra Paleo Char Siu (remember how I told you last week that I’d show you how to repurpose your leftover char siu?), this recipe will take no time at all. Don’t have any char siu sitting in the fridge? No worries—just top your ramen salad with whatever veggies and meat you have lying around. I bet Wonton Meatballs or Cracklin’ Chicken would be fantastic in hiyashi chūka. Think of this as a choose-your-own-adventure meal!

A note about daikon

Yes, you need to blanch and chill the spiralized daikon to get the proper noodle texture and remove the radish-y flavor. Trust me: It’s worth the extra step. Too much work and/or can’t find daikon at the grocery store? Substitute raw celery root, parsnip, zucchini, or jicama instead! No excuses, bub.

Time to break out your spiralizer!

Ingredients

Paleo Hiyashi Chūka (Cold “Ramen” Salad) by Michelle Tam https://nomnompaleo.com

  • ¼ cup coconut aminos
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1½ teaspoons rice vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger 
  • ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • Diamond Crystal brand kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ghee or fat of choice
  • 1 pound daikon
  • ½ pound leftover Paleo Char Siu (or your fave cooked protein), sliced into matchsticks
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, cut in quarters
  • ½ English cucumber, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 large carrot, cut into thin matchsticks with a knife or julienne peeler
  • ¼ cup broccoli sprouts
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons shredded toasted nori (optional)

Someone slicing paleo char siu into thin strips.

Equipment

How to make Paleo Hiyashi Chūka Cold Ramen Salad!

First, shake up a mini jar of All-Purpose Stir-Fry Sauce if you don’t have some already made in the fridge! In a small jar, combine the  coconut aminos, orange juice, fish sauce, rice vinegar, garlic powder, ground ginger, and sesame oil. 

A step by step instruction on how to make the soy-free and paleo all-purpose stir-fry sauce.

Seal the lid and shake vigorously. Label the jar and store in the fridge for up to two weeks in advance.

Mixing the ingredients for the soy-free and paleo all-purpose stir-fry sauce.

When you’re ready to make the hiyashi chūka, fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, assemble the rest of the ingredients. Crack the eggs into a bowl and add about a ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt.

Cracking an egg into a metal bowl and sprinkling salt.

Beat it. (Beat it, beat it, beat it, no one wants to be defeated.)

Someone beating eggs in a metal bowl with a fork.

Heat a large cast iron skillet, griddle, or nonstick pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the ghee. Once it’s melted, pour in the whisked eggs, gently tilting the pan so that the egg covers the surface and forms a thin omelet. As soon as the omelet has set, flip it over and cook on the other side for about 30 seconds or until cooked through.

Buttering a flat skillet and adding the beaten eggs to create a flat egg pancake.

Transfer the omelet to a cutting board and fold it into thirds before thinly slicing cross-wise. Set aside.

Folding the thinly cooked egg omelet and slicing it into thin pieces.

In the meantime, grab your daikon. Cut the ends off, and peel off the skin. I like to use fat, straight daikon for spiralizing. Depending on the size of your daikon (and the number of folks you’re serving), you may need only half of a large one.

Someone peeling and preparing a daikon to get spiralized.

Spiralize the daikon, and set the daikon “ramen” aside.

Someone using a spiralizer to spiralize daikon.

Prepare a large bowl of ice water and a colander. (You’ll be boiling the daikon for only a minute or two, so you’ll need to be prepared to drain and chill the noodles quickly.)

A metal bowl with ice filling with water.

When the water in the pot is boiling, add a large pinch of salt. Transfer the daikon noodles to the boiling water and give them a good stir.

Salt is added to a boiling pot of water. Then the daikon noodles are placed in the water.

Cook the noodles for 1-2 minutes or until soft, but still al dente.

Daikon noodles cooking in a pot of water with a pink spatula inside the pot.

Immediately drain the daikon noodles and transfer them to the ice water bath. 

Someone draining the daikon noodles from the pot and placing them in an ice water bath.

Once the noodles are chilled, fish ’em out and dump them back in the colander to drain completely.

Someone pulling the chilled daikon noodles up from the colander.

Divide the daikon into two large bowls.

Someone placing the chilled daikon noodles into a bowl.

Top with Paleo Char Siu, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, broccoli sprouts, scallions, sesame seeds, and nori. Or with whatever you have in the fridge! 

An overhead shot of all the prepped ingredients for Paleo Hiyashi Chūka.

Make it pretty, okay? We eat with our eyes, too!

Two prepped bowls of Paleo Hiyashi Chūka.

Pour on the All-Purpose Stir-Fry Sauce right before serving and adjust the amount to your taste. Mix everything up, and slurp it all down!

Someone adding the all-purpose stir-fry sauce to the Paleo Hiyashi Chūka bowl and mixing the ingredients.


Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPhone and iPad app, and in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013), Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017), and Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2021).


PRINTER-FRIENDLY RECIPE CARD

Paleo Hiyashi Chūka (Cold “Ramen” Salad)

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings 2 servings
This veggie-packed, Whole30-friendly version of hiyashi chūka uses spiralized and blanched daikon noodles in place of cold ramen, and my All-Purpose Stir-Fry Sauce replaces the traditional soy-based tare. But just like the original, this chilled “ramen” salad is topped with a rainbow-hued assortment of julienned meat and veggies that you can customize according to your preferences.

Ingredients  

  • ¼ cup coconut aminos
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • teaspoons rice vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger 
  • ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • Diamond Crystal brand kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ghee or fat of choice
  • 1 pound daikon
  • ½ pound leftover Paleo Char Siu or your fave cooked protein, sliced into matchsticks
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes cut in quarters
  • ½ English cucumber cut into matchsticks
  • 1 large carrot cut into thin matchsticks with a knife or julienne peeler
  • ¼ cup broccoli sprouts
  • 1 scallion thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons shredded toasted nori optional

Instructions 

  • First, shake up a mini jar of All-Purpose Stir-Fry Sauce! In a small jar, combine the  coconut aminos, orange juice, fish sauce, rice vinegar, garlic powder, ground ginger, and sesame oil. Seal the lid and shake vigorously. Label the jar and store in the fridge for up to two weeks in advance.
  • When you’re ready to make the hiyashi chūka, fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, assemble the rest of the ingredients. Crack the eggs into a bowl and add about a ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt. Beat the eggs well.
  • Heat a large cast iron skillet, griddle, or nonstick pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the ghee. Once it’s melted, pour in the whisked eggs, gently tilting the pan so that the egg covers the surface and forms a thin omelet. As soon as the omelet has set, flip it over and cook on the other side for about 30 seconds or until cooked through.
  • Transfer the omelet to a cutting board and fold it into thirds before thinly slicing cross-wise. Set aside.
  • In the meantime, grab your daikon. Cut the ends off, and peel off the skin. I like to use fat, straight daikon for spiralizing. Depending on the size of your daikon (and the number of folks you’re serving), you may need only half of a large one. Spiralize the daikon, and set the daikon “ramen” aside.
  • Prepare a large bowl of ice water and a colander. (You’ll be boiling the daikon for only a minute or two, so you’ll need to be prepared to drain and chill the noodles quickly.)
  • When the water in the pot is boiling, add a large pinch of salt. Transfer the daikon noodles to the boiling water and give them a good stir. Cook the noodles for 1-2 minutes or until soft, but still al dente.
  • Immediately drain the daikon noodles and transfer them to the ice water bath. Once the noodles are chilled, fish ’em out and dump them back in the colander to drain completely.
  • Divide the daikon into two large bowls. Top with Paleo Char Siu, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, broccoli sprouts, scallions, sesame seeds, and nori. Or with whatever you have in the fridge! 
  • Pour on the All-Purpose Stir-Fry Sauce right before serving and adjust the amount to your taste. Mix everything up, and slurp it all down!

Video

Notes

Yes, you need to blanch and chill the spiralized daikon to get the proper noodle texture and remove the radish-y flavor. Trust me: It’s worth the extra step. Too much work and/or can’t find daikon at the grocery store? Substitute raw celery root, parsnip, zucchini, or jicama instead! No excuses, bub.

Nutrition

Calories: 372kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 12g | Fiber: 6g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!

About Michelle Tam

Hello! My name is Michelle Tam, and I love to eat. I think about food all the time. It borders on obsession. I’ve always loved the sights and smells of the kitchen. My mother was (and is) an excellent cook, and as a kid, I was her little shadow as she prepared supper each night. From her, I gained a deep, abiding love for magically transforming pantry items into mouth-watering family meals.

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38 Comments

  1. These look amazing! but I can’t find daikon here this time of the year (and find zucchini noodles a bit too watery). Do you think a regular radish will be a good replacement?

  2. I’m not fully paleo, but I am eating low carb, so I thought I would have to cut ramen out altogether… then I found this! Thank you!

  3. No doubt, This recipe looks so delicious in those beautiful pictures!!! Love all those super healthy ingredients!!!

  4. I grow daikon, but mine don’t get anywhere near as huge as the one in your pictures. Can I use the smaller ones, or is there a certain cultivar that gets crazy big?

  5. Made this tonight and it was a big hit here. Even got my family to eat the daikon noodles (and they loved them). I made cracklin’ chicken in an air fryer as my protien. This will be in our regular rotation this summer!

  6. Hi Michelle!

    We’re going on a road trip and I was looking for compliant recipes that I could eat cold, and this looks like it fits the bill! Do you have any prep tips for taking this on a multi-day drive? “Dry” ingredients combined in a jar in a cooler + sauce in a separate jar reserved for when you’re ready to eat? Any tips on how long they would last in said jar?

    1. I’m not sure! I think you can keep all the dry ingredients in a jar and store the sauce separately. As long as you keep everything chilled at refrigerator temperatures, I think you should be okay for a couple of days.