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Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Top Home Ramen

I go to fair lengths to satisfy my food cravings. After a friend shared a video on Japanese ramen I couldn’t get this dish out of my head. My lust for ramen completely destroyed the taste of the dish that I was making at the time (I can’t even remember what it was).

There may be a place in Valencia for ramen but I don’t know of one. Forget about Thai food unless you want it prepared by Chinese cooks as the Chinese here are sort of the “one size fits all” for Asians. I’ve met a few Japanese immigrants here and I’m actually friends with one and he doesn’t recommend ramen except what he makes himself. When I get a craving for noodle soup I make it chez moi.

One of the advantages of never having traveled to the East is I really can’t judge one bowl of ramen from another. How hard could it be to make at home? It’s soup. I plowed through a couple dozen videos on YouTube so I’m something of an expert at ramen, at least here in Spain. The first step is the broth. 

I didn’t really mean to make two kinds of broth but my pressure cooker isn’t sufficiently huge to handle the quantity of broth I was planning to make. In my pressure cooker I used a few beef bones and some scraps of a chicken I cut up. I threw in the back, the breastbone, and the wing tips of the chicken and any extra fat I could trim. Along with the meat and bones I added some vegetables: carrots, onion, garlic, parsnips, and a beet. Salt, pepper, and bay were the only seasoning I used in this portion which I cooked for 35 minutes at pressure.

In a bigger pot I diced up a mirepoix and added about a kilo pork shoulder cut into bite-sized cubes manageable with chop sticks. I added just a bit of soy sauce to the meat before I browned it with the already cooked vegetables. To this I added 1.70 liters of boiling water from the kettle and let it all simmer. When the steam had reduced on the pressure cooker I strained the liquid and added this to the other pot of broth.

In my first batch of soup I used rice noodles which I didn’t like with this broth. I changed to flour noodles. 

I soft-boiled some eggs (four minutes boiling then dump in an ice bath) which I marinated in soy sauce and vinegar (all I had and all I could think of). Along with the boiled egg I dressed the soup with sriracha and red chili pepper in soy oil.

As you imagine it was a hell of a lot of work. I sure miss getting a bowl of noodle soup of some national variety in Seattle for a few bucks but my broth is worlds above the usual thin gruel of cheap pho shops. My soup was so rich you could almost stand a spoon up in it. Overall my homemade ramen is as satisfying as anything I’ve ever had in a restaurant. Making it at home is certainly inexpensive as my huge pot of broth probably cost less than 20€.

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