Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Grown-Up Ramen Noodle Soup

Like most college students, I went through a big ramen noodle phase in my youth. I could buy ten packs for a dollar (!) and eat like a queen for a week. Did I want soup? Did I want noodles? The world was my oyster.

Now that I'm a grown-up though, ramen noodle soup isn't the first menu item that comes to mind. A few years ago, when I was still living in Washington, DC, a ramen noodle bar opened in my neighborhood. I was pretty sceptical about it--especially since one bowl of soup cost $11!!--but Ren's Ramen completely won me over. The soup was incredibly flavorful; the noodles were flown in fresh from Japan; and the marinated egg was out of this world. Since I'm around 3,000 miles from Ren's, I decided to try and make it at home. You know what? It's pretty darn close!

The base of the soup is dashi, a Japanese fish stock. If you have access to instant dashi you can use that. I don't have any here, so I found a recipe to make my own. It is so cheap and only takes 20 minutes. I'm not sure I'll ever buy instant dashi again.

Ramen Noodle Soup with Marinated Soft-Boiled Egg
Original recipes from here, here here and here

Makes 12 cups (6 large servings)

  • 12 cups water
  • 1.5 ounces kombu (dried seaweed)
  • 1.5 cups loosely packed katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)
  • Place water and kombu in a large pot and let the kombu soak for 15 minutes. Place the pot over medium heat. Right before the water starts to boil (watch for bubbles starting to break around the edge of the pot), remove the pot from the heat and scatter the katsuobushi over the surface of the water.
  • After 4 minutes, when the katsuobushi has sunk to bottom, strain the stock through a fine-mesh strainer.
  • Use immediately, or store in the fridge in a sealed container.

    Ramen Soup
    • 6 dried ramen noodle bricks
    • 3/4 cup frozen corn kernels
    • 1/2 cup shitake mushrooms (sliced)
    • 1/2 cup canned bamboo shoots (sliced)
    • Soy sauce to taste
    • 4 tablespoons yellow miso paste
    • green onions to taste
    • Bring dashi (see above) to a boil in a large pot. Add soy sauce to taste.
    • Add ramen noodles, corn and mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes, or until noodles are done.
    • Remove from heat and stir in the miso. Taste and add more soy sauce or miso as needed.
    • Add bean sprouts and green onions. Top with a marinated soft-boiled egg (see below).

    Marinated Soft-Boiled Egg
    • 2/3 cup water
    • 2/3 cup sake
    • 1/3 cup soy sauce
    • 1/3 cup mirin
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 6 eggs
    • Combine water, sake, soy sauce, mirin and sugar. Whisk well and set aside.
    • Tap the bottom of each egg to make a small crack through the shell, but do not rupture the inner membrane. This makes it easier to peel the shell.
    • Add cold tap water to a medium pot until you have 1 inch of water above the top of the eggs.
    • Bring the pot to a boil over high heat.
    • Cook for exactly 4 minutes for a slightly runny center, then turn off the heat.
    • Remove the eggs and put them into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking.
    • Peel the eggs and place in an airtight container. Pour marinade over eggs, making sure all are covered, and leave for at least four hours.

      For a perfect, grown-up version of ramen noodle soup, put it all in one bowl and dig in!

      1 comment:

      1. I was all ready to suggest a trip to Ren's when you're back in town, but scratch that... I'm making a reservation at Levin's Ramen House instead!!