RAMEN!!!

RAMEN!

Full disclosure.  I love ramen.  I love to make ramen and I love to eat ramen.  This was not my first or last time making ramen.  It is complicated – I equate it to chemistry.  You have to have your measurements correct and your temperatures dead on.  Due to the complexity of the recipe I will not be going through the task of releasing it, but that said if anyone wants to know in greater detail how to make it please leave a comment and I will do my best to teach you 🙂

The recipe comes from the Japanese Soul Cooking cookbook by Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat.  It’s a relatively new cookbook for me so this is the first blog entry on it.  But I did make a few recipes for Christmas dinner (which was themed Japan cuisine) which I would say had a 75% success rate.

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buy the cookbook here.

Like I said I was making ramen, more specifically shoyu ramen.  Again the reason I am not releasing a formal recipe is it’s pretty complicated making ramen also several elements have to be made.  To start with I had to make soup stock and chashu (pork shoulder which is then used in each bowl of ramen).

I took chicken bones (I bought chicken backs at Market Square for 99 cents a pound), ginger (smashed with the side of a knife with the skin still on), 2 cloves of garlic (also smashed with side of the knife but skin removed), boneless pork shoulder, 1 scallion, half a carrot and 3 quarts of water and put them in a large pot.

kind of like making a chicken stock but with a big piece of pork shoulder in it!
kind of like making a chicken stock but with a big piece of pork shoulder in it!

The pot was brought to a boil and then the heat was reduced to simmer for 2 hours.  During this time scum was removed from top.  Also during this time Matt and I met Al and Andy for dinner at The Willistead.  When the 2 hours was up I walked home (love living close to bars and restaurants) and removed the pork shoulder and stored it in the refrigerator until the next day.  I strained out all the solids from the stock.

solids strained!
solids strained!

And put the stock in containers, letting the liquid cool before refrigerating.

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I went back to The Willistead and finished my dinner.  The next day I went to work making a marinade for the chashu (the pork shoulder).   I put water, soy sauce, sake, mirin, garlic (peeled and crushed), scallions (chopped) and  ginger (crushed with skin still on) in a sauce pan.  Over high heat the liquid was brought to a boil and then it was removed from the heat and let to cool down to room temperature.

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Once at room temperature, the marinade was poured over the reserved pork shoulder and let to marinade at room temperature for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes the pork was sliced into 1/8″ thick slices.

Then I got to work on the soy sauce tare.  In a small sauce pan I combined soy sauce, sake, mirin, ginger (crushed with the skin on), chopped scallions and garlic (peeled and crushed).  Over high heat the liquid was brought to a boil and then the heat turned off.

looks the same as the marinade but this is in fact, a picture of the tare.
looks the same as the marinade but this is in fact, a picture of the tare.

I heated the stock up to boil and cooked fresh noodles in the stock for a minute.  And then I assembled.  Each bowl started with a 1/4 cup of tare.  Then the noodles were distributed between each bowl.  A couple of slices of pork were placed in each bowl.  Then 2 cups of the stock were poured into each bowl.  Additional toppings consisting of cilantro, egg, scallions, bacon, nori strips and fish cakes were added.  And then it was time to eat!

RAMEN!
RAMEN!

The Verdict:  This was a very good ramen.  It’s not the favorite of those I’ve made but it was up near the top for sure.  Our friends Brian and Pam with their daughter Alex joined us and seemed to really like it as well.  Brian gave us an awesome Christmas gift…

pure awesomeness!
pure awesomeness!

Which he made.  He owns a company called Bit Modern which he makes primarily furniture with a cnc machine.  He also sells a few products at The City Cyclery.  Thanks Brian, we LOVE it!