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Saikou Ramen Time! (. . . !!!!)

Ah yes, ramen. Purveyor of absurdly unnecessary levels of sodium to students, cash-strapped persons and suddenly hungry individuals the world over. A delightful little seizure in a styrofoam cup. Surely one cannot live in this world without experiencing it at least one or five thousand times!  But as I sat at my desk one day pondering the wonders of tasty food combinations (a frequent occurrence that—for reasons I have not yet been able to determine—seems to arise most often when I am supposed to be working), it struck me: if noodle dishes are better when you make them yourself and soups are better when you make them yourself, then ramen by extension must surely also be better when you make it yourself, no? And so the Gastrognome and I set out on an intrepid quest to a nearby international grocery. Although chef Shouichi Fujimaki may regard ramen as an excellent way to stimulate the economy, we’ve opted for a more budget-minded approach that primarily stars lots of veggies: daikon, shiitake mushrooms, carrots, peas, shallots, scallions and other fun stuff. And then it’s back home for the cooking! The ramen prep does, admittedly, take a touch longer than tearing open a plastic wrapper, boiling water for two minutes and adding a spice packet, but it’s still a fairly simple procedure. Besides, the more time it takes something to cook, the more time you have to drink!

 

Step 1: Side Dish Detour

To accompany the ramen I made some simple bean sprouts in a chili vinaigrette. The heat and acid make a nice contrast to the salty ramen broth. These are finished quickly and find a spot in the fridge to cool down while everything else gets made.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2: Men Cha

The ramen base. A reduction of soy sauce, sake and water with additional aromatics. It’s the stuff that makes ramen taste like ramen. Quite frankly, it makes pretty much anything taste like ramen. Marinate tofu or meat in it and they’ll quickly adopt that wonderful ramen flavor. Drizzle over rice, rice tastes like ramen. Dunk bread and tomatoes in it, they taste like ramen. Pour it in your friends’ beer… you end the night with a black eye.

 

 

 

Step 3: Noodles

Boil in salted water FTW.  No, there’s no picture of noodles boiling in water to accompany this step so get over it already!

 

Step 4: Broth

We await the pleasure of being eaten!

We made a simple dashi stock and added our veggies. I didn’t boil them too long, since we like them al dente, which I believe is Italian for “old people complain that they’re too hard.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 5: Ramen!

Spoon some men cha into bowls, add noodles, add more men cha, add broth and veggies, stir, garnish. Devour!

Itadakimasu!

 


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2 comments to Saikou Ramen Time! (. . . !!!!)

  • princesszyrtec

    Falquan and I must find our pics of ramen IN TOKYO and post them along with our (inebriated) memories of consumption.

    I made pad thai this evening. It was the first time my mom has ever had it. Unfortunately, I had to slice up stuff smaller than I normally would and cook the rice noodles a tad longer, as she has some difficulties with chewing, but flavor-wise it was a rousing success, what with the fresh shiitake mushrooms, firm tofu, scrambled egg, scallions, bell pepper, ground peanuts and a healthy dose of fresh cilantro.

    I’m finishing my second bowl. The next time I make it, I will dish it up all purty and take a picture. For now, you’ll have to take my word for it.

  • Amon-Rukh

    Pad Thai: Yes. Also good.
    We made homemade sukiyaki a while back as well.

    It’s the sort of stuff that gets reserved for take-out or the restaurant, but seeing as they’re all very normal things where they come from, it turns out they’re not so hard to make yourself. And home cookin’ is something there always needs to be more of!

    Also fresh cilantro. Always more cilantro.

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