Monday, December 8, 2008

Mission Tampopo

In my honest opinion there are two major factors in creating the perfect bowl of ramen. The broth and the Char Siu. Last week we covered the char siu. Today i have made a simple vegetable broth and will go over the construction of the bowl.

For the vegetable broth:

  • 1 stick cinimon
  • 1 piece star anise
  • 2 piece cloves
  • 5 piece black pepper
  • 3 piece allspice
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 3 stalk celery
  • 2 medium white onions
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 head garlic
  • hunk of raw ginger about the size of your thumb
  • (for a richer earthier broth try adding mushroom stems and black bean sauce)

1. rough chop all ingredients into small pieces

2. place in a pot large enough to accomodate and cover by 1" with cold water (cold water does a better job of extracting flavor than hot water)

3. simmer for up to 1 hour and then strain through a mesh sieve or conical strainer and reserve keeping warm. at this point you may season your broth with soy sauce, miso paste, roasted garlic, kimchee or what ever flavor you prefer. (when i'm in a pinch i like to use fresh ramen soup base. not the powdered stuff but the liquid you get from the good types of instant ramen)

4. next get some water boiling for the noodles and make a couple hard boiled eggs. My hard boiled egg recipie is as follows:
  1. place eggs in pan and cover by 1" with cold water and 1 table spoon of vinegar
  2. bring to a rolling simmer (to rough of a boil will crack the shells and beat up your eggs)
  3. set a timer for 8 minutes
  4. after the timer goes off strain of the water and place the eggs in an ice bath to cool them.... this process will also stress the shells - creating cracks in the shell that will make them easier to peel

5. lay out your toppings. today i have arranged the folowing starting with the charsiu we made last week and going clockwise around the cutting board:
  • char siu
  • hardboiled eggs
  • menma (soy sauce seasoned bamboo shoots easily purchasable at any japanese grocery store. i like sunrise mart which can be found
  • chopped scallion
  • wood ear mushrooms
  • nori (dried sea weed)

6. next i set the bowls out and put 2 tbsp of soy in the bottom with 1 tbsp of sesame oil

7. add noodles and broth and place your selection of toppings ontop of the bowl.... remember the toppings are limitless you don't have to use what i use. anything can top a bowl of ramen. with good broth and good noodles you will have a delicious meal!!


Patrick said...

Hey Zak,

Love the blog, What kind of Ramen do you buy? I'm assuming its from a Japanese mart? Do you know of any chinese marts that sell them? What should i look for in a ramen? I'm so used to the prepackaged ramen, which usually have a ton of calories.


Ninja Zak said...

well i've been using several different kinds of noodles and playing around with the results. basically though it's hard to find ramen that isn't prepackaged so i tend to buy them like that and then discard the soup base. thats what has all the calories and sodium in it anyway. I prefer fresh ramen noodles to dried (this is true of pasta in general) but also find that a thinner udon noodle works well too.

Adrian Lai said...

Oh man. This looks sooo good. Why did I not know about this when I was in NY!

Ninja Zak said...

Ha! It will still be here when you come back. maybe sometime we will come to shanghai and whip some up for ya!