I’m definitely a soup kind of girl. Whether it’s clam chowder, Burmese laksa or even just plain ol’ tomato soup, I’ll pretty much devour it in seconds (yes, I’ve burned my tongue countless times as a result of my eagerness). I especially have a soft spot for Japanese ramen, with its super flavourful broth and partners-in-crime: corn, bamboo shoots, and tender chashu or pork.
Whenever I go to a ramen restaurant, I usually get miso or shoyu (soy sauce-based) ramen and always order ajitsuke tamago to go with it. Ajitsuke tamago is a soft-boiled egg that’s been left to swim overnight in a magical mixture of soy and mirin – but more on that later.
Surprisingly, homemade ramen isn’t very hard to make. It just takes some time. I can’t say that this is an authentic Japanese recipe though, since a Chinese-Canadian friend hastily dictated it to me while we were shopping in a packed grocery store. I also added the mirin and sesame oil to it as an experiment.
This tasted freaking amazing though, so hopefully that’s enough incentive to make you want to try to make it yourself. Feel free to also put whatever veggies you want – it’s all about preference.
**Ingredients list follows below**
In a large pot, add miso, chicken stock, dashi, and 4 cups of water to start. Mix every thing together and bring to a boil. Your kitchen may start to smell very Japanese at this point – try not to bust out the karaoke and Asahi’s just yet. Turn the heat to low, cover and let simmer for 3 hours.
Feel free to fire up the karaoke and down those Asahi’s while you wait. You could also use this ample amount of time to cut up your veggies, but where’s the fun in that right?
When the timer goes off, add mirin and sesame oil. Give it a taste to see if it needs more flavour. When you’re satisfied, add your pork. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper. Add enough water to cover the pork. Bring to a boil again and then, simmer for 1.5 hours.
After time is up, remove the pork from the broth and let it rest on a plate. Cover it with tin foil to let the juices really soak in. Don’t be surprised if the meat practically falls apart as you transfer it – this is a good thing.
I would take this time to separate the broth you’ll be using and the broth you want to store for later. It keeps well in the freezer for at least three months (although you’ll probably be using it wayyy before then).
Working with the broth you’ll be consuming very soon, toss in the watercress and mushrooms. Bring that to a boil.
In another pot, boil your noodles until they are fully cooked. My fresh ones took only 3-4 minutes. If you have leftovers, store the noodles separately from the broth so that they don’t get soggy.
Now here’s the fun part: plating. Start with the noodles. Then, ladle in the broth, watercress and mushrooms. Slice your meat and place that on top. Sprinkle your corn and green onions over top. Slice your ajituske tamago and carefully place that in the bowl – try not to let the yolk ooze out! To finish, slice the seaweed and arrange on the side of your plate as a garnish.
4 tbsp miso paste
1 can chicken stock
3 tbsp dashi
6 cups of water (you may need more depending on the size of your meat)
500g pork shoulder
3 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 pack of noodles
1 bunch of watercress*
1 pack of brown mushrooms* (you can use any kind of mushroom you want)
½ C corn* (I really like corn)
¼ C green onions*
3 slices of seaweed*
1 ajituske tamago*
*Optional. Feel free to add whatever veggies and extras you like