So, I’ve never been a fan of the instant ramen. Maybe as a kid, but to me it was just salty chicken broth with chewy noodles although I must say, I liked the texture of the noodles. Anyway, my daughter loves ramen and told me that “authentic” ramen was way better than the freeze dried packages so after listening to an interview with Ivan Orkin on the Splendid Table, I decided to buy his book, Ivan Ramen and see if I could do it myself. As a side note, I love Japanese food and cooking and my favorite book is Japanese Cooking, A Simple Art by Shizuo Tsuji.
Anyway, the first 100 pages of Ivan’s book is all about himself and the idea of ramen more about him, and then he gets to his particular recipe. I’ve made it a few times with some changes to his recipe which I find way too rich and salty (and I love some salt) so I’m posting my version here. I’ve altered it quite a bit, but its still a big process and there are three parts to the dish that require several hours of prep. But, when its done, its amazing. All the picky eaters, young and old asked for seconds which is a big deal in my house.
So, here you go:
In each bowl:
• 1 tbsp pork fat
• ¼ cup Shio Tare (recipe follows)
• 1-1.5 cups broth which is a 2:1 ratio of chicken stock and dashi (fish and seaweed stock, you can get a dried powder at most Asian groceries).
Combine these ingredients and let the pork fat melt before continuing on.
• 1 package of freeze dried instant ramen prepared without the seasoning packet and drained.
Mix and then place on top:
• A few slices of duck breast chashu. (The original recipe calls for pork belly but there is none to be found)
• 1 room temperature half cooked egg. Sliced in half on top.
• Finely shredded green onions, mostly white and pale green parts.
So, these are the ingredients you need to make. These are a little involved, but I found they don’t take as long as originally stated.
To make the Shio Tare, you must first make a sofrito (vegetables cooked in oil) out of apples, onions, ginger, and garlic.
• 6 ounces of fuji apple, peeled and finely chopped
• 1.25 lbs yellow onions peeled and finely chopped
• 3 oz garlic, minced
• 1.5 ounces fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated.
• 2 cups vegetable oil
Place the apples and onions in a roasting pan such that they are at a depth of about ½ inch. Cover with oil and stir. Heat over medium heat until the vegetables begin to sweat and then add the ginger and garlic. Give it a good stir and add more oil if necessary to cover the vegetables. Transfer to a 225 degree oven and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until it is all a light brown in color. This may take 2-3 hours. But this is enough for 32 bowls of ramen. Cool completely. This will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. When you are done cooking this and it cools, you may find you have an excess layer of oil on top. I poured some of this off until I was left with mostly the vegetables.
To make the Shio Tare, combine 4 tablespoons of sea salt, 1.5 cups of boiling water, and 1 cup of sofrito. This will be enough for 8-10 bowls of soup.
Duck Breast Chashu
Quite honestly, I think this is better than pork belly, but that’s my opinion. Get one whole boneless duck breast, ie both sides, so two breasts connected. Should be about a lb. This is good for about 8 bowls of soup.
In a small saucepan combine 1.5 tablespoons of sake and 1.5 tablespoons of mirin. Bring to a light simmer. Add the following:
2 tsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp of minced fresh ginger
½ cup dark soy sauce
1/3 cup regular soy sauce
1 tbsp of sugar.
Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes. Allow to cool and sit for about an hour to let the flavors blend.
In a baking pan or casserole dish that just fits the duck breast, pour the mixture over top and add just enough water so that it is covered by ½ inch. Put in the oven at 350 and bake until tender. This will take probably an hour or two.
Once tender, remove the breast to a plate and allow to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate and cool completely before slicing.
Half-Cooked Eggs, 6 eggs
I feel the original recipe is too diluted. I made it wrong by accident the first time and liked it better so basically I just cut the water in half.
• 3.5 tbsp sake
• 3.5 tbsp mirin
• Combine in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Then add:
• 1.75 cups soy sauce
• 2 tbsp sugar
• 3 tbsp chopped garlic
• 2.5 oz fresh ginger, chopped
Simmer and stir for 10 minutes then cool to room temperature and add:
• 2 cups of cool water (original recipe calls for 4).
Then prepare your eggs. I did this very differently from the book because I find if you chill soft boiled eggs too completely the shells stick. This depends on the age of the egg, so if you have a better way, use that.
Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add 6 eggs right from the fridge. Cook for 6 minutes and 10 seconds and then drain the pot and refill with cool water. Once the eggs are cool enough to handle, peel and put in the mixture above. They need to sit for at least 20 minutes, but you can make these several hours ahead and let them chill in the fridge. And these are good all by themselves soup or no soup.
So, overall, I’m really glad I bought the book. There are some other recipes in there for different styles of ramen, etc., but I will probably stick with this one for now. I do really like his other book which he wrote with Chris Ying, The Gaijin Cookbook. Has a lot of fun family style meal ideas and the gyoza are excellent and a fun thing to have family members help out with making.
Miss Piggy wrote:Never eat more than you can lift.