Cold Summer Noodles: Karami Daikon Beni Shoga Onsen Tamago Hiyashi Soba

Summer is blinkin hot in Kyoto, so this time of year we need meals that not only nourish but also cool. Cold noodles; soba, udon and somen are a staple. In addition to ice and cold, the Japanese like summer dishes to be quite salty and sometimes to include some kind of bitter taste. I developed this beautiful and tasty cold noodle dish recently and thought you might like to take a look. It uses bitter radish and homemade pickled ginger for flavor and I garnished it with a parboiled ‘hot spring’ egg. Even if you can’t get all the same ingredients, I hope that it inspires you!

Cold Summer Noodles: Karami Daikon Beni Shoga Onsen Tamago Hiyashi Soba 辛味大根 紅生姜 温泉卵 冷やしそば

Cold Summer Noodles: Iced Soba with Karami Daikon, Beni Shoga and Onsen Tamago

After I did this article on my favorite cold udon at Tsunamichi I thought that I ought to do a recipe post too. I somehow came up with this simple recipe that is really quite great. Unfortunately the ingredients are not readily available overseas, I think. However, if you are a real foodie, you could easily grow the radishes and make the pickled beni shoga ginger yourself.

The Ingredients
nama (fresh) soba or udon
karami bitter daikon radish
beni shoga pickled ginger
tsuyu (dashi-broth based sauce)

Cold Summer Noodles: Karami Daikon Beni Shoga Onsen Tamago Hiyashi Soba 辛味大根 紅生姜 温泉卵 冷やしそば

Cold Summer Noodle Ingredients: Nama (Fresh) Soba, Karami Daikon (Radish), Beni Shoga (Ginger)

I made umeboshi this year, for the first time, so I have two big plastic buckets in my kitchen full of pickling plums. One variety includes fresh ginger and the ume and ginger are naturally colored a deep and beautiful (and tasty) red with heaps of red perilla shiso leaves. (ume articles on the way)

I just reached into the umeboshi barrel and pulled out some beni shoga for this dish. If you like beni shoga, you have to make this at home. It is really not very difficult. Just buy a bunch of ‘shin shoga’ new ginger when it is in season. You would probably just have to grow your own red shiso as you need quite a bit. This is a wonderful condiment and will keep forever.

By the way, if you cannot get ‘nama’ noodles, dried will work too. A regular daikon radish could be substituted and the top, near the greens, is usually the most bitter part of the radish. A hot western radish would likely work too.

Cold Summer Noodles: Karami Daikon Beni Shoga Onsen Tamago Hiyashi Soba 辛味大根 紅生姜 温泉卵 冷やしそば

Cold Summer Noodles: Beni Shoga from the Umeboshi Barrel

Cold Summer Noodles: Karami Daikon Beni Shoga Onsen Tamago Hiyashi Soba 辛味大根 紅生姜 温泉卵 冷やしそば

Cold Summer Noodles: Umeboshi Vintage 2010 (in process)

I don’t make my own tsuyu. It usually includes dashi, shoyu and mirin. A lot of bottled tsuyu (and dashi) is full of chemicals like MSG. If you pay a little more you can get excellent tasting natural tsuyu, that is what I use. It usually is in concentrated form. I guess if I were a real foodie I would make my own. I will have to try that one day!

Nama (fresh, lit. raw) noodles take just 3 minutes or so to boil. Once I start the noodles I pour some tsuyu over ice in the serving bowl. If you are having guests, put the bowls in the freezer well before serving so that they are still frosty cold to the touch when they are served. That would be very ‘Kyoto’.

After the noodles have cook, rinse them with cold water several times until they are cold. The colder the better, use ice water to chill them if possible.

Cold Summer Noodles: Karami Daikon Beni Shoga Onsen Tamago Hiyashi Soba 辛味大根 紅生姜 温泉卵 冷やしそば

Cold Summer Noodles: Ice and Tsuyu

Grate the karami daikon and slice the beni shoga while the noodles are cooking and chilling. I grate about 2 to 3 tablespoons of daikon per serving. That is maybe a bit much as it is quite potent stuff. I can sometimes feel it burning in my tummy after the meal. The beni shoga is very salty so I use about a teaspoon or so. If it is too salty for you simply soak in water for 10 minutes or so and squeeze before dicing. You could also soak and squeeze after dicing but that will remove some flavor too. The smaller you can dice the ginger the more ‘Kyoto’ it will be.

Place the noodles over the ice and tsuyu and turn over a few times with your fingers or chopsticks. Then add the grated daikon and pickled ginger. An onsen tamago (hot spring egg) is also a nice addition. (No Recipes has a good recipe for onsen tamago here.)

Cold Summer Noodles: Karami Daikon Beni Shoga Onsen Tamago Hiyashi Soba 辛味大根 紅生姜 温泉卵 冷やしそば

Cold Summer Noodles with Tempura Served: Iced Soba with Karami Daikon, Beni Shoga and Onsen Tamago

I need some calories to keep me going in the hot summer so I like to have cold noodles with tempura. I usually buy tempura in the supermarket. I get kakiage ‘mixed’ tempura and often add it to my bowl of noodles after I have had a few bites. (Here are a few Kyoto kakiage links: Gion Tenshu, Yoshikawa Tempura and Marugame Udon)

Cold Summer Noodles: Karami Daikon Beni Shoga Onsen Tamago Hiyashi Soba 辛味大根 紅生姜 温泉卵 冷やしそば

Cold Summer Noodles with Tempura - All Mixed Up

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More on KyotoFoodie about Karami Daikon here.

Kitazawa Seed Company sells karami daikon seeds online, you could grow them yourself!

5 Responses to “Cold Summer Noodles: Karami Daikon Beni Shoga Onsen Tamago Hiyashi Soba”

  1. chieko says:

    Recipes look delish (oishii desu)! I live in Albuquerque, NM. I was born near Tokyo. My mother was born in Kobe and grew up in Osaka. I appreciate your postings since Kyoto is in the same region.

    Luckily for me, I can find good quality Japanese ingredients here where I live. I can get in season, different types of daikon, shiso (almost year round), etc…. I had the “luck” to live in a house that had an apricot tree with fruit that was perfect size for ume boshi. For 3 years I always had fruit brining with shiso. My mother made beni shoga (red ginger) but not in with the ume boshi. She used shiso and plum brine to color the beni shoga. I remember we had this discussion once and she claimed that when her family made beni shoga, there was no vinegar used but that it just naturally soured (lacto-fermentation). She didn’t use that terminology but now I know what she meant. There are commercial products out claiming to be beni shoga but made by pickling ginger with a vinegar/salt mixture and adding red food coloring. These appeared in the US in the late 1960s. She was born in 1934 and did things the “old” way. Unfortunately she passed away in 2000 but I remember soooooo much. Too bad she can’t see your posts…it would make her hungry!!!

    I appreciate your posts and wish I could get back to Japan.

    Take care!

    Itadakimasu!

  2. Michael, this looks delicious! I’m so curious as to what karami daikon tastes like. Is it spicy? Thanks for the link:-)

  3. Michael says:

    Hi Chieko, Thank you very much for stopping by and sharing your information. It sounds like you are living a wonderful and tasty life. Is your apricot tree the Japanese ume variety or you make umeboshi with just ‘regular’ apricots? I have made beni shoga before with ume brine and pre-salted shiso purchased in the supermarket and it was pretty good but this beni shoga, made in with the umeboshi is better. While salty it is a more gentle and natural saltiness.

    Hi Marc, The taste of karami daikon is not so unlike the ‘hot’ radishes we used to grow in our garden in Minnesota. It seems like the ones available here in the winter had less water content and were really hot. The ones I have been getting this summer seem to have more water content and are not so different in taste from an especially hot daikon.

  4. Lori says:

    Looks great! And I like that addition of kakiage tempura!

  5. Love your pictures! This we have to try.

    Thank you.

    Bridget Davis ~ The Internet Chef
    Sydney [Australia]

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