This week is the celebration of the traditional New Year in some Far-East Asian countries, such as China, Korea, Vietnam and Japan. Since I coincidentally picked “Asia” for my World Food Challenge, I thought it would be nice to try cooking something really challenging for me this week. I’ve stopped picking countries and moved to continents, so that I can still challenge myself but choose a few details too. Since my husband and I have been having regular cravings for Ramen bowls lately, then Japanese Ramen Noodles Soup it will be for my World Food Challenge!
I made it with Chicken, but I’d equally like the Ramen either with Duck or even plain Vegetarian. Recipes are the same, you just choose to include the meat in the end or not. No matter your optional items, it will always be a healthy meal. Furthermore, it’s tasty, it’s hearty and it’s wholesome. On all occasions, if you want to feel content, this dish is a no-brainer. Today’s weather was really bad and cold, and it was raining like hell when I got home; I really didn’t feel like going out again to a restaurant but the only thing I could think about was eating Ramen, because this dish really helps keeping the warmth inside one’s stomach and it’s really nice during Winter. So I finally gave it a shot and made it at home!
This recipe is interesting for me because I learned at least two things while making it. First how to make a soft-boiled egg (which I had never done before), and next what to combine with the miso paste to make it a kara miso, which is the spicy version. Both lessons will be detailed further in the recipe. I had written a post a while back about how much I like and enjoy learning things all the time – you can read about it here. With this recipe, I have overcome my doubts about my ability to make this complex dish, I have learned one technical method (the egg) and I have learned how to transform a regular miso into a kara miso, which is important when you like to eat spicy food like I do. Overall, this World Food Challenge has fulfilled lots of my expectations!
If you’re interested in Japan, its food, its culture and the wonders this country has to offer to travelers, I’d like to invite you to visit these following blogs. They are not focused on Japan, but the two women behind the texts and pictures manage their travel blogs in a way I admire a lot when it comes to telling us their traveling stories. Both are very different yet interesting bloggers on different standing points. Coincidentally, they both come from Australia, and rather than linking to their homepages, I prefer linking back to the post of each one’s that I enjoyed the most about their travels to Japan. The first one is Sue from Sue’s Fabulous Travels, and the post is Weddings, a Canal and Cherry Blossoms, Kyoto. The second one is Jess from Eat. Travel. Blog. and the post is called Doorways of Tokyo. I do share these links with no expectations from them in return, it’s just a a free act of kindness towards those two women whom travel blogs I respect a lot for the hard work of details and lovely purpose-some pictures. They truly deserve it and I think it’s nice from time to time that someone – a stranger – is doing something to give you free unexpected happiness and pride, just out of the blue. In this world where there seems to exist a fierce competition between bloggers (which, really, i don’t understand nor see the point), I think it’s nice to offer some innocent and kind bloggers a moment (or two) of happiness and glory on my own pages, haha!
Actually, being nice to others without expecting anything at all from them makes me want to be even nicer, it’s the snow ball effect and it’s a good feeling, really (you should try that, not randomly nice as a polite person should be, but really on purpose). So, I’m gonna link again to the blog of someone else, the blog of Ziggy from New-York, which I’ve found out about not so long ago and really enjoy a lot. If you like food and travels, but especially food during travels, then Ziggy’s blog is made for you (and for me!). His blog, Eating with Ziggy, also gives a massive amount of useful information about where to eat well in New-York City (I’m going soon, so I’d better make some notes!), including where to eat the best Ramen and other soups in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan. Please click the link, you won’t regret going through his posts!
And last but not least, the place that inspired ME for making these lovely Kara Miso Ramen noodles tonight, is located in my hometown, Nice, south of France. The restaurant is called Kumano, and my husband and I are crazy about it. So far, Kumano only has a Facebook page but it’s worth knowing of. It is a unique place in our area, where the concept of Japanese food is just kicking through (except for sushi that has been long enjoyed in our country, of course). Compared to big town America, Nice is a small city, and even though the food scene is developing, world food cuisine is coming in at a rather moderated pace, especially when new food offerings are a bit off the beaten track (which is the case with Ramen for instance).
Now to the recipe! Believe me, eat my Ramen and you might well find yourself travelling to Japan on your plate tonight (or in your bowl, for that matter)! I found several recipes online, but I’m going to be honest here, making Ramen is hell of a hassle, so I decided to 1/ take a shortcut on the original recipes I had selected, and 2/ adapt to the available ingredients I had on hand. And as it worked out pretty nicely and to my taste, I think I can call it my own with pride. My turn to be proud!
INGREDIENTS (for 2 servings)
- 2 eggs
- 2 handful of green leaves (I used arugula, spinach, and beetroot leaves)
- about 100 grams of noodles (preferably Ramen of course, otherwise egg noodles for soups will do)
- 250 grams of pulled chicken (about 2 small chicken thighs, pulled)
- unsalted chicken stock (or 1 liter of water with 1/2 cube of dehydrated chicken stock)
- 1 shallot
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 spring onion (white part for the broth, green leaves as a topping)
- 1 tbsp of soy sauce
- 1 tbsp of sesame oil
- 2 tbsp of neutral oil
- 1 tsp of rice vinegar
- 1/2 tsp of hot chili paste
- 1 tsp of Tehina or Asian sesame paste
- 2 tsp of sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp of Japanese 7 spices mix (I used Chinese 5 spices mix instead)
- 2 tbsp of ginger powder
- 40 grams of miso paste
- a bit of fried onions
- pieces of nori (Japanese seaweeds)
- Cook the soft-boiled eggs. Bring water to a boil in a kettle. Carefully place the eggs in a small saucepan with a generous amount of sea salt and pour the hot water over. Start the fire. When it comes to a boil in the saucepan with the eggs, cover with a lid and turn off the heat. Time 3 minutes and 30 seconds, then immediately cool down under very cold water.
- Next, prepare the pulled chicken. If you need to boil raw chicken before pulling it by yourself, do not boil with salt.
- In a medium sized saucepan, pour the sesame oil and throw in the prepared pulled chicken for a minute or two.
- Take the chicken out and keep it on the side, then pour the unsalted chicken stock (or like me, 1 liter of water with half a dehydrated cube of chicken stock, the ones we have in Europe).
- Add in the miso paste, hot chili paste, rice vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, tehina, 1 tsp only of sesame seeds, slices of scallion white, minced garlic, minced shallots, 1 tsp of sesame seeds, and the Asian spices.
- Bring to a boil and then let simmer on medium heat for about 2 hours so that all aromas can develop. Add in some water along the way because the preparation is going to reduce several times.
- Before the end, cook the noodles according to the instructions on the package. Drain them well and display in bowls.
- When the soup is ready, use a strainer and pour the soup through it over another saucepan or large salad bowl, in order to discard all solids. Put back the soup in the saucepan, and finish heating up a couple of minutes before serving, while you’re onto the following few steps.
- Shell off the eggs, be very cautious. Carefully cut them in half.
- When everything is ready, arrange each bowl by setting everything up in the following order without throwing everything together onto the same spot, the bowl must look rather organized: noodles in the bottom, spicy broth over, chicken pieces on one side of the bowl, scallions green parts next to the chicken, the green leaves on about 1/3 of the available surface, the last tsp of sesame seeds a bit all over, a bit of fried onions here and there; and then the egg halves in the end, and the nori if you like these weeds. It’s ready! Enjoy your delicious Kara Miso Ramen!!
Don’t forget to check my cookbook’s page for more recipes to cook at home! If you prefer staying on the blog, maybe check out my Japanese Teriyaki Salmon with homemade sauce or my Chinese Raviolis that are perfect for Chinese New Year holidays!
I’ve picked America then Oceania as my next continents to explore the food of. I really wonder what great dishes I am going to come up with! Keep following me to find out soon.
Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi, © 2016 All Rights Reserved.