This is not a food blog- but- I’ve been harassed by a certain family member to do more sharing on gastronomic topics. After reflecting on the Japanese food I’ve been eating while in Japan vs the food that was disguised as Japanese in the US, I decided that it is my duty as a gastronome to share Japanese cuisine with the world- or my family and friends reading this blog. I’ve noticed this bastardization of fare frequently happens when food jumps beyond its original border and the indigenous people adapt it to suit local taste. Case in point, the surplus of basil and oregano in all Italian dishes produced in the USA which is noticeably absent when the sister dishes are prepared by Italians in Italy. I wonder if the Mexicans recognize the relationship of Tex-Mex food to any local cuisine across the Rio Grande river. Some of you know of my unabashed love of the ramen noodle (Click here to read post on this passion) and I’ve been on a search for the perfect Ramen recipe so that I won’t have to abandon my love when we leave Japan. Here’s a family favorite
6 TBLS- Medium Brown Miso Paste- There are usually 3 types of miso paste- a yellow version, a caramel brown, and a chocolate-brown. I prefer the caramel brown version.
Enough ramen to fill 4 bowls. Cook according to package directions. If noodles come with sauce, do not use.
1/4 lb of meat- I use very thinly cut pork roast or tenderloin. Any kind of left over meat could be used as well. Or, stir fry chicken breast meat (Cut in to 1 inch chunks) until no longer pink. For chicken, I stir fry in sesame oil, salt, pepper, and scallions cut in to 1 inch pieces.
5 cups Chicken Broth
1/2 Tsp Ginger Paste
2 Leeks- cut in 1/4 inch pieces
Chopped seaweed (dried)
2 Scallions thinly sliced (Add 2 if using chicken)
2 TBLSP Soy Sauce
Boiled Egg cut in half
Mix 5 cups chicken broth, 1/2 TSP ginger paste and 2 TBLSP Soy Sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes. If using pork, add pork to broth. While this cooks, immerse noodles in boiling water for 10 minutes. When noodles are finished, drain and divide among 4 bowls.
Add 6 TBLSP miso paste to the broth mix. Taste the broth after 4 TBLSP to ensure it’s not too strong. Keep adding if you’re like me and like a flavorful soup. When adding the miso, put the spooned miso in a sieve and mash it through to the broth. (See picture) Do not add the miso directly in to the broth or it won’t dissolve correctly. DO NOT LET THE BROTH BOIL ONCE THE MISO HAS BEEN ADDED.
Add leeks and seaweed and let simmer for additional 5 minutes.
Pour broth and components in to each bowl over the ramen noodles. Add as many garnishes as you like- bamboo shoots, onions, boiled egg, more seaweed, bean sprouts.
The next big issue is eating these long noodles. In Japan and China, all dishes are consumed with chop sticks. My recommendation is to eat them with a fork and spoon similar to pasta. Use the spoon to lap up the juice. In Asia, slurping noodles is perfectly acceptable so feel free to show your love of the noodle and slurp away.
Recipe adapted from one published by Ningthoujam Sandhyarani and embellished with abandon by myself.