Monday, August 11, 2008

Spicy Miso Ramen

I am not sure what it is, it could be the heat outside, but I just don't have much of an appetite lately, especially for lunch.

Lunch is tough because I am definitely not a sandwich and salad type of person (I frown at the very thought of them), but Chinese food and Malaysian food with rice, stir-fry's, curries and spices seem too heavy as of late. I wanted something lighter for my lunch, and this bowl of homemade spicy miso ramen came to my rescue. Other than ramen, I have also been eating cold soba noodles and oden, which are equally light and refreshing. I love Japanese food, it's just refreshing and pleasant--exactly what I need...

I have always thought that making ramen is no small feat, but was very surprised to find out that it's actually rather easy, if you are willing to cheat. (As you all know, I am quite a cheater when it comes to cooking; I don't mind taking shortcuts as long as it doesn't compromise a recipe too much.) The soul of ramen is its soup stock or dashi--where bonito flakes and kombu (seaweed) are boiled in water and then strained. I didn't have both ingredients so I cheated with hondashi or an instant powdered alternative which essentially is an MSG.

It turned out very well, almost like the spicy miso ramen I get at my favorite ramen joint Santouka. The miso ramen was very tasty, spicy, and I couldn't get enough. And now, my appetite is totally back!

Makes two bowls.

  • Fresh ramen noodles (for two people)
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons white miso paste
  • 3-4 teaspoons S&B La Yu or chili oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon hondashi
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1/2 can corn kernels (15 oz can)
  • 1 narutomaki (Japanese fish cake with a pink swirl)
  • 1 stalk scallion (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds (pound with mortar and pestle until fine)
  • Light soy sauce to taste (optional)
  • Some seasoned roasted seaweed (cut into thin strips)
  • Bring the water to boil and then add in the miso paste, hondashi, eggs, and finely ground sesame seeds. Bring the soup base to boil and reduce to 3.5 cups. Add in the chili oil and light soy sauce to taste (optional).
  • Blanch the ramen noodles in a pot of boiling water until they are cooked. Rinse with cold running water, drain, and set aside.
  • In a serving bowl, add the noodles and then topped with the hard-boiled egg (sliced into half), narutomaki, corn kernels and chopped scallion. Pour the miso soup into the bowl and add the roasted seaweeds. Serve immediately.
Other than the toppings in my recipe, you should add pork slices, pickled bamboo shoots, etc. to miso ramen.

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