Here I go, the first recipe that I'll be sharing with you is RAMEN! I absolutely love a huge bowl of steaming hot ramen, especially when it's cold and gloomy out. See, the way London is set up in January, weather-wise (picture; dark, gloomy ice-slicked pavements and roads), Ramen makes sense, it’s common sense food.
So here I am, welcoming you in out of the cold and offering you a big warm bowl of noodly-ness with a half cooked egg in all its ooey gooey yolk gloriousness, a thick chunk of pork belly, accompanied by the simple but damn good spring onion and ginger chilli oil to help warm you up from the inside out.
We love noodles round these parts (aka, my home) and if you're a noodle lover, or even if you're not bothered, either way, you're gonna love this recipe, however, before we proceed, I feel as though I need to address the elephant in the room; I know that this looks like a rather long process, but I promise you it isn't, especially when compared to making a proper and legit bowl of ramen, you'll be required to break out the pen and paper to make a shopping list, but otherwise, it's actually quite a matter of assembling. In the end, you'll be ever so grateful that you did it and even more grateful that you have leftovers in the fridge for those days when you really do not feel like cooking.
Before coming up with this variation, I spent quite a bit of time putting myself through the paces, I made a successful attempt at Ivan Orkin's rather lengthy but tasty take on shio ramen, it was difficult to find a few of the ingredients, but I used what I could find and I wasn’t disappointed at all. I continued my researching- come- taste testing by trying David Chang’s recipe that can be found in his book 'Momofuku' and is served in his restaurant 'lucky peach' and surprise surprise, it was really rather yummy too, I especially enjoyed the sweet and salty pulled pork shoulder. So when coming up with my own variation of this dish I looked to them both for inspiration.
I loved Ivan Orkin's toasted rye noodles (which, may I add, is absolutely worth the effort to make) and 'Pork Belly Chashu'.
I decided to add these components to my own take on this dish, however, I adjusted the recipes slightly by increasing the amount of light soy in the chashu and slashing the ingredient quantity in half for the toasted rye noodles.
Another element I really enjoyed from Ivan Orkin's Shio ramen is how smooth and rich the chicken and pork fat made the broth, however, I'd much prefer to skip the fat rendering if I could so I continued on with my search for perfection, the idea was to find a way to add the same smoothness and richness to the broth without having to render and add actual fat to it, that's when I discovered Lady and Pup's Spicy Miso Ramen express . She had the answer! .......in the form of Soy Milk!
But guess what! I don't rock with soy milk, i've never found a brand that i liked the taste of, so I substituted with Almond milk and it was glorious. She also uses a paste to introduce quick and punchy flavours to the final dish, a method I also adapted.
Instead of making pure poultry stock, I took inspo from David Chang and threw in some roasted pork ribs, we had duck for dinner last week and I had frozen the carcas for this very purpose. However if you prefer a particular type of stock, feel free to use it in place of the one in this recipe, just be sure not to add salt to it as the chilli miso paste will be salty enough.
I will say this though, if there's one thing in this dish that I must insist that you make, it has to be the ginger and spring onion chilli oil! *insert love struck emoji here*, it's so simple to make but it brings amazing dimension. It's also really really really good on top of soft boiled eggs!
P.S I would also take the time to make the toasted rye noodles, they're worth it (I know I've already said that, but it's worth repeating).
pork belly Ramen with ginger spring onion chilli oil and soft boiled eggs
6 cloves of Garlic roughly chopped
30 grams ginger roughly chopped
1 small onion roughly chopped
1/2 cup miso paste
4 medium to large fresh chilli peppers roughly chopped
2 tablespoons chilli flakes
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
10 grams dried shitake mushroom roughly chopped
2 tsp tahini
Put all your the ingredients for the paste into a food processor or blender and blend until you get a puree. Transfer puree to a pot set on low to medium heat, letting it fry for 5 to 8 minutes whilst stirring. Remove from heat and allow to cool, transfer to an airtight jar and store in the fridge until you need it.
Ginger & spring onion chilli oil -
1/2 medium onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
the whites of 3 spring onions
30 grams finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon miso paste
1/2 cup rapeseed oil
3 tablespoon chilli flakes
Add onion, garlic, spring onion whites, ginger, miso paste and 1/4 cup of rapeseed oil to a frying pan, fry on medium to high heat until garlic is golden (not burnt). Remove from heat, add chilli flakes, salt and additional 1\4 cup of rapeseed oil. Allow to cool, transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for future use.
Duck carcas or chicken carcas
10 garlic cloves roughly chopped
4 Bay leaves
12 meaty pork ribs
40 grams Dried Shitake
40 grams dried porcini
4 litres of water
90 grams ginger roughly chopped
2 pieces kombu
Roast the pork ribs in the oven at 180c for about an hour, or until browned, place all the stock ingredients except kombu into a stock pot or a pot large enough to contain everything, set over medium to high heat and bring to the boil, skim off any scum, lower heat and allow to simmer covered for an hour. Once the hour is up, turn the heat off, rinse the kombu pieces and submerge into hot stock, cover and allow to steep for another hour.
Toasted Rye Noodles -
5 grams baked bicarbonate of soda
37.5 grams rye flour
310 grams high gluten bread flour (14-15% protein)
150 grams plain flour
215mls cool water
6.5 grams salt
Set your oven to 135C, spread a thin layer of bicarbonate of soda on a baking sheet/tray lined with foil. Bake for 1 hour. After an hour, remove from oven, allow to cool and store in an airtight container for future use. To avoid having to do this step every time when making fresh noodles, I tend to bake 30 grams of bicarbonate of soda in one go, use what I need, the rest can be stored for up to 2 months in an airtight jar.
Toast the rye flour over medium to high heat for approximately 4 minutes , stirring all the while. Remove from heat as soon as it begins to smell toasty and fragrant, be careful not to burn or give it any colour.
Combine the flours in an appropriate size bowl or in your mixer bowl if you’re using a mixer. Measure the water and add the baked bicarbonate of soda, stir slowly until it completely dissolves, be patient as this may take some time, once dissolved, add the salt and stir to dissolve.
BY HAND - Add the bicarb water solution in thirds to the flour mixture whilst mixing slowly with fingers or a wooden spoon. The dough should begin to come together after a few minutes, it will feel somewhat dry and almost as though it won’t ever come together. If it doesn’t come together at all, add an additional spoonful of water. Continue to knead until you are able to form the dough into a ball, this can take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes (This is a pretty tough dough to knead, so you really have to put your all into it). One you have a dough ball, wrap it in cling film and set it aside to rest for 30 minutes.
USING A MIXER - Set the mixer up with the dough hook attachment. While the mixer is running on low add the bicarb water solution in thirds to the flour mixture and allow to mix for a few minutes. If it doesn’t come together at all, add an additional spoonful of water. Once the mixture comes together, increase the speed of the mixer to medium-low and allow the dough to be kneaded for 10 minutes or until it forms into a ball. Remove from mixer, cover with clingfilm and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
The dough should be much softer and easier to work with after resting. Though this recipe is halved, it still makes quite a lot of noodles, at this stage, divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Set up your pasta machine and adjust to the largest setting.Working with 1 piece of a dough at a time (Keeping the pieces not in use wrapped up or under a damp tea towel), flatten out with the palm of your hand or a rolling pin and pass it through the machine. Set the machine to it's second largest setting, fold the dough in half and run it through the machine again, fold in half once more, then run it through the 3rd largest setting. Set the machine to the 4th largest setting, and run the dough through again (without folding in half) then finally once through the smallest setting on your machine. Repeat the process with the remaining pieces of dough. Once all rolled out, lightly dust with corn flour on both sides as this helps the dough to pass through the cutter easily. Run each sheet through the thinnest cutter on your machine or simply fold in half, then in half again and cut by hand.
Pork Belly Chashu
10 garlic cloves roughly chopped
15 grams fresh ginger chopped coarsely
135ml dark soy sauce
75ml light soy sauce
15 gram caster sugar
1 x 1kg piece of pork belly
In a saucepan, combine the sake and mirin, simmer gently over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and both soy sauce to the pan, bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add sugar and stir until it completely dissolves, cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to sit for a minimum of an hour before using.
An hour before cooking, remove pork belly from the fridge to allow it to come closer to room temperature. Place the pork belly in the saucepan with the chashu liquid and top up with enough water to completely cover the pork belly by an inch.
Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, skim off any scum on the surface. Reduce heat, cover and allow to simmer for 2 to 4 hours, I found that mine was ready in 2 hours, so be sure to keep an eye on the progress by testing for tenderness with a fork.
Once the pork belly has reached a tender state, remove it from the pot and set it aside to cool completely, once cooled, refrigerate and thoroughly chill before slicing. Reserve chashu liquid to soak the half cooked eggs.
You can rewarm slices of pork belly in your ramen broth when you’re ready to assemble your bowl.
Half Cooked eggs -
6 large eggs
Reserved chashu from pork belly
Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Using a safety pin or needle, poke a hole in the bottoms (the wider end of the eggs) of the eggs. In preparation, set a timer for 6 minutes and 10 seconds, using a ladle or a large soup spoon, gently place the eggs into the boiling water, start your timer and gently stir the eggs in the pot for the first 2 minutes.
Prepare a large bowl of iced water whilst you wait for the timer to go off, once it does, immediately remove the eggs from the pot and put them straight into the container with the ice water. Stir until you aren't able to feel any hot or warm areas surrounding the eggs. Leave to cool for a further 10 to 15 minutes.
Once cooled, remove shells, place in a container with a lid and pour the chashu liquid into the container until eggs are completely covered. Cover the container and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Assemble your Bowl (2 bowls)
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup paste
800 ml broth/stock
2 - 4 slices pork belly
2 half cooked eggs sliced in half
3 spring onions (greens only) chopped
Ginger spring onion chilli oil
Toasted rye noodles
Add the stock/broth to a large soup pot and bring to the boil, put the paste into a fine sieve and submerge the bottom of the sieve into the hot stock, stir the paste into the stock until it dissolves. discard any solid bits left back in the sieve.
Add you almond milk and bring to the boil, add you slices of pork belly and allow to simmer for a further 5 minutes.
If you bought your ramen noodles, cook according to instructions on the pack.
If you made the toasted ramen noodles, Bring a large pot of water to the boil over high heat, add a generous pinch of salt. Shake off as much flour as possible from noodles before adding them to the boiling water. They require very little cooking time, after 30 seconds pull out a noodle to do a taste test, it should be tender to the bite, if it isn't, allow to cook for another 15 seconds and retest, as soon as you get a tender bit, remove from heat, drain well and divide equally between bowls. Pour the ramen broth on top of the noodles, follow up with slices of pork belly, chopped spring onion greens, sliced eggs and as much ginger and spring onion chilli oil as your tongue desires!