Cheat’s Ramen

Call me presumptuous. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that ramen has got to be one of those dishes that EVERYONE loves! Ok, OK… So why is that I hear you say? Well, Ramen is so versatile and really you can add whatever you like to it, making it your own bowl of special noodle filled slurping happiness.

Making a full on, traditional ramen involves many stages and steps to get that broth filled with layered flavours built upon the dashi and tare in the soup base and from two or three days of kitchen time. As an evening after work is not 48hrs long, we are going to cheat!

I’m not going to advocate peeling the lid back from a well known brand of noodles, popping the kettle on then digging in after 3 minutes are up. I am though, going to recommend a couple of great ingredients (miso/ gochujang) to keep in your fridge (that also last ages) so that you can enjoy a delicious bowl of Ramen any day of the week!

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1 small Onion
  • 3 Garlic cloves
  • 1 small piece of fresh Ginger, approx 2″
  • 3 cups vegetable boullion
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • White Miso Paste, 1 Tbsp
  • Gochujang Paste, 1 Tbsp
  • Soy Sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Mirin, 1 Tbsp
  • 1 pack of King Oyster Mushrooms
  • Soy Sauce 2 Tbsp, 2 minced Garlic cloves, 1 tsp dried Porcini powder (optional), 1 tsp Brown Sugar, 250ml water
  • 1/2 head of a small Savoy Cabbage
  • 2 or 3 Spring Onions
  • 1 large pack of good Ramen noodles
  • 2 seven minute Boiled Eggs
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp toasted Sesame seeds

Steps

  1. Heat the oil in a heavy based saucepan over a medium heat whilst you slice the garlic & ginger into fine slivers, and simply slice the onion in half horizontally through the centre.
  2. Place the onion, sliced side down into the oil and then scatter the garlic and ginger into the pan. Cook these for about 5 minutes, don’t fuss with them too much as you want to develop a nice deep golden char on the onion.
  3. Pour over the vegetable bouillon, toss in the cinnamon stick and a tablespoon each of the pastes. Bring to a fast boil then lower the heat to a simmer and allow to cook for about 10 minutes or so before removing from the heat and setting aside. Taste, then season with Soy, Mirin and a little salt and pepper.
  4. Now that the stock is prepared, it can simply be heated through when you are ready to serve before being ladled over noodles.
  5. Slice the King Oyster Mushroom stems into 1-1.5″ rounds. Don’t discard the caps, these can be sliced and tossed into the stock. You’ll need to make a quick marinade with Soy, minced Garlic, sugar, water and (if using) dried Porcini powder for that intense mushroom umami hit!.
  6. Let the mushrooms soak up the flavours of the marinade for at least half an hour. Whilst they are doing so, finely shred the cabbage and also toast the sesame seeds.
  7. Preheat your oven to 220c, toss the cabbage is a glug of olive oil then into the oven. Keep an eye on it and toss occasionally. You want it to char and take on nice crisp edges. It should take about 10-15 minutes.
  8. The good news is, we are almost there… Bring a small pan of water to a rolling boil, lower the room temperature eggs into the water. Lower the heat and cook for 7 minutes on a gentle boil before plunging into ice cold water to stop the cooking process. Peel and set aside.
  9. Score each side of the mushroom rounds. You can pour a little of the marinade into the broth at this stage as you begin to bring it back to heat.
  10. Heat a thick slice of butter in a shallow frying pan until the foaming subsides. Than place the mushrooms in and cook without touching for 5 minutes. Flip and cook for another 3 minutes. They will brown nicely and caramelise in the butter.
  11. Depending on the type of noodles you are using, cook according to packet instructions. Some just need boiling water poured over, others need some time in a pan of boiling water. Whichever type you end up using, both need to be gently helped to separate before being drained and added to your serving bowls.
  12. When ‘building’ your bowl, I find that noodles first/ broth next then garnishes is the order that works best for me. For this ramen, noodles to the side, cabbage topped with sesame seeds to one side with spring onions as a neighbour, eggs sat on top of the noodles then finish with the mushrooms.

You can adapt this recipe to whatever you really fancy in it, the broth base works really well with pretty much anything you want to put with it and you can adjust the amount of miso/ gochujang and seasonings to suit.

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