Ramen. The word usually evokes one of two responses in people. One, if you grew up with instant noodles, it reminds you of boiling water in your dorm, bachelor pad, excuse-for-a-kitchen, and then throwing in a packet of dried noodles with seasoning from a packet to create a quick, but rather dubious meal. Two, it evokes memories of a flavorful noodle soup where the broth has been lovingly prepared, sometimes over days, with fresh, flavorful fixings added for good measure.
It is the latter that is the subject of this post. Having turned vegetarian long before I discovered Ramen, I never really had a chance to taste it in its full glory (traditional Ramen broth is usually some kind of a meat broth – Beef or Pork are commonly used as the base). However, on a date night with the wife recently, I had the opportunity to try Ramen with a Curry-based broth at Tanoshii Ramen in Dallas. It was excellent and completely in a different league from the Maggi Two Minute Noodles that I grew up with. Tanoshii also had excellent Braised Shiitake Steamed Buns (which I need to try and recreate soon) but I digress.
Wanting to try and make Ramen for me was a little like a blind person making a clay sculpture of an object they have only heard about but never seen. So while the dish was a success in our house, I have no idea if it tastes anything like good Ramen is supposed to taste like. In any event, it was a good Noodle Soup. I apologize I don’t have exact measurements for anything since I was winging it but I have put down what my thoughts were and the ingredients I used.
1. Having a jar of Thai Green Curry Paste in the fridge, I went with that as a base. I heated some oil in a saucepan and added a couple of teaspoons of the paste till it started to give off fragrance.
2. I then added a lot of water (about 3-4 cups) and a cube of veggie bouillon and let the whole thing come to a rolling boil.
3. Then went in some chopped Maitake mushrooms and a couple of pieces of crushed garlic and some good ole Rooster sauce (Sriracha).
4. I grated some ginger for good measure, reduced the heat and let the concoction cook for a long time (30 mins or so).
5. Then I added some more water, some hard Tofu, a chopped up Heirloom Tomato and raised the heat for it to come to a full boil.
6. After the Tomato had started softening, I added some torn Spinach leaves and adjusted the salt.
1. Having no clue on what type of noodles to use, a Google search suggested using “Japanese style, wheat based, straight noodles”. So Somen noodles is what I went with.
2. Cooked in boiling water, you want to slightly undercook them since they will continue to cook in the broth.
1. In a bowl went a handful of cooked noodles, topped with broth and lots of the veggies and Tofu.
2. Some finely chopped green onion went on top along with a twist of lime.
The family liked it and thought it had good flavor but didn’t think it was hot enough (take this with a pinch of red chili powder – we are spice hounds in our family). Adding Sriracha post-facto didn’t cut it since the flavors of the broth aligned more with red curry paste type sauce. This is an area to be worked on in Ramen V2.0.