Sunday, February 19, 2012

Not your College Ramen

Mami's Spicy Japanese Ramen
My friend Helen and I was talking about New York City and eating in Chinatown when she brought up Flushing and Korean Town.  She got really excited and said that she had the best ramen noodles in Flushing, NY.  I was confused, I asked her, "You paid for ramen at a restaurant?"

She explained to me that my experience with ramen is not the same as what the Japanese and Korean eat for their staple dish.  She told me she liked her ramen with bamboo shoots and meats.

This morning, I woke up remembering our conversation. Usually for breakfast, I make the Mo a typical western breakfast of eggs and meat or a simple Cambodian fried noodle dish.  Since I've been lacking with the blog, I decided to challenge myself and try something new.  I "Googled" image Japanese ramen and was inspired by some of the photos.  I didn't choose one dish that I would imitate from but I would gather whatever ingredients I had readily available and use it.

Hard Boiled Egg
I raided my freezer, fridge and pantry and brought out anything that I thought would be relevant to my ambitious new noodle dish.  In my freezer, I found Asian beef meatballs, shrimp, pork belly, and fish cake. In my fridge, I was able to gather scallions, romaine, cilantro, spinach, eggs, and chicken thigh.  Of course we had the dried ramen noodles in our pantry along with some chicken broth and other seasonings.

First I boiled eggs for 2 minutes and set it aside in its hot water for 10 minutes. Careful not to overcook.  After cool, slice eggs into halves.

I deep fried the pork belly, chicken thigh and fish cake.  After they cooled down, I sliced them up.

I blanched the spinach, shrimp and meatballs.

Giant Beef meatballs and small shrimp
Open 4 packages of ramen noodles and remove seasoning packets. Boil 10 cups of water and place dried noodles in rapidly boiling water for 3 minutes. Gently stir to break up the noodles.  After cooking for 3 minutes, drain noodles and set aside.

In medium sauce pan, add 2 cans of chicken brother, (I prefer Market Basket for the price) and 2 cans of water. Add the garlic oil seasoning but not the flavoring seasoning.  Add a dash of fish sauce, a teaspoon of salt and sugar and 2 teaspoons of garlic chili oil and a pinch of black pepper.  You may add more chili based on your preference.  I also like to add a generous tablespoon of fried red onion. (see image below)

Market Basket Chicken Broth
Fried Red Onion and Ground Chili with Fried Garlic
Wash the romaine, cilantro and scallion.  Thinly slice the scallion and cilantro for topping.  Place the romaine on the bottom of a large bowl with 1/4 of the leaf sticking out of the bowl.  Use chopsticks to carefully pick up the cooked noodles and place desired portion in bowl. Add the sliced meats, spinach, seafood, scallions and ciliantro to the bowl in a presentable manner.

Use a ladle to add the soup broth to the bowl and fill almost to the top of the brim.

In the restaurants, the ramen dishes are typically ordered with gyozas or dumplings, so I made served mine with Organic chicken and cilantro dumpling from Costco's and a ginger soy sauce.
Costco Cilantro and Chicken Dumpling