Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ramen Summer School: Spicy Miso Ramen at Home

My birthday is ridiculously close to Christmas. Because my day falls so close to the holiday, it is rarely celebrated the way some people celebrate, with annual dinner parties, BBQs and the like. Of course my dear dear dear husband, in an effort to make sure my holiday season is amazing, spoils me rotten every single year. Birthday/Christmas of 2009, he gifted me an avalanche of amazing cookbooks. Despite my ever growing library of all things culinary, I still, time and again, turn to blogs for food inspiration. Ramen summer school continues.

I am trying to focus on eating less meat this week, as my health/dietary challenge of the week. At the same time I am trying to learn more about ramen in its more authentic, less college-diet-of-champions form. One of my favorite things to do in the morning is lay in bed, in the dark, reading dozens of food blogs on my iPhone and planning my next home cooked meal or gastroniventure.  Monday's meal is a bastardization of a recipe found on Rasa Malaysia combined with a little twist from the Momofuku ramen broth recipe I drooled over at Food Hoe Files.  I did my evening shopping just a couple miles away at Little Tokyo Market Place. Little Tokyo Market is no Nijiya, Nijiya is more focused, a little tidier, a little prettier.  Bit Nijiya is all the way across town and to be honest, without comparing it to Nijiya, Little Tokyo Market Place totally rocks.

Shopping list:
hondashi (powdered dashi made with MSG & bonito flakes)
fresh summer corn
green onions
mild white miso paste
fresh ramen noodles
La-Yu chile oil
dried shiitake mushrooms

Many of the ramen recipes I have been spying have a hard boiled egg.  I like a yolk only slightly cooked so I poached mine, as seen above, with a little sherry vinegar (in retrospect I could have used mirin to inhibit feathering).  The twist I added to Rasa Malaysia's recipe from the Momofuku was boiling the dried shiitake mushrooms until they were rehydrated, leaving the umami essence from the mushrooms in the boiling water to get my broth off to the right start.

Chopped five green onions finely, including the whites. Shaved the kernels off the corn and sauteed until the outsides were slightly caramelized.


According to the recipe, I added 2 TBSP of miso per ramen serving to the mushroomy broth.  Next, .5 tsp hondashi, this is potent stuff. I let it simmer and reduce for awhile, concentrating the flavors. All the ramen recipes I have read call for ground sesame seeds.  I don't have a mortar and pestle, an absence that needs to be remedied stat. So I poured sesame seeds in whole. Last, 3 tsp La-Yu chile oil for the zing!

Ramen noodles cook quickly. Some blogs say to rinse the noodles to remove any traces of the flour that keeps the noodles from sticking together in the package, and some don't. I didn't bother. One serving of noodles into each of our bowls (godson N was over, playing music with D), poured a generous helping of broth over each.  All bowls were topped with almost an entire ear of corn, about 3/4 c green onions, one poached egg and a couple shiitake mushrooms.

In no way does this approximate the quality of the bone based broth I ate at both Yatai at Breadbar or Daikokuya. However, Rameniac noted somewhere in the vast tomes of his ramania that many Japanese moms make their ramen using hondashi, or some other MSG soup base.  If it's good enough for a Japanese housewife, it's good enough for me. And it was derishasu.

There was one entire serving of ramen left over, and I'll be damned if I didn't have it for brunch the next day.


weezermonkey said...

I am so impressed that, after having had ramen only twice, you then made it yourself! :)

Kristine G said...

Love the poached egg in the ramen ... I think the runniness and softness would compliment the broth and ramen well, texturally. And I am impressed! If I thought to prepare ramen for dinner it would've been the dry "add-water-and-watch-grow" kind from the plastic baggie. lol