Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ramen with a bit of Asian Cooking School

Photo by Robin

Momofuku- everything it's cracked up to be...

Chris gave me Momofuku for the holidays. I could hardly put it down. Yesterday I made a pilgrimage to Fresh World in Severna Park, MD and purchased some supplies so I could make some yummy Ramen.

I had fun!

David Chang and Peter Meehan wrote the cookbook and just one of the reasons I think it is so incredible is because the recipes are easy to substitute or build upon, and take creative license with.

Here's a little backstory on how my Ramen obsession began, and believe me it is an obsession because of how long I had to wait to actually have it. A few months ago Dong mentioned that Tachibana in McLean, Virginia does a special Ramen for lunch. Chris, Dong and I had been trying to plan a trip to Tachibana ever since then, and a few weeks ago we found a day we could all make it. It should have taken a little over an hour to get to Tachibana, but because of all the stupid snow removal vehicles on the highway, it took almost 3 hours. By the time we got there we had missed their special Ramen lunch, but were able to get some delicious Chirashi (Rice with sashimi and vegetables). This made me happy but did not make up for the missing Ramen. However, the Chirashi came with some pickled shitake which I really liked. They had a lot of ginger to them which really complimented the sashimi in the bowl. After the meal I was officially on the lookout for Ramen, and when I saw Ramen and pickled shitake (and pickled everything for that matter) in Momofuku, I knew I needed to attempt to make Ramen, because who knows how long it will be before we can all get to McClean for lunch.

The Momofuku recipe called for Ramen broth and Taré as the soup base, as well as pork belly. I figured pickled shitake would be a good substitute for bamboo shoots, which is what Chang's Ramen recipe calls for.

Starting at the beginning, I seasoned some sliced pork belly with equal parts sugar and salt and let them marinate overnight.

The Momofuku Ramen Broth is a tonkotsu recipe from David Chang is a basically a chicken, pork, dashi blend (in case you are unaware dashi is water with a type of seaweed called kelp, and bonito flakes steeped in it; but everyone has their own recipe).

Since I already had some homemade chicken broth in my fridge I decided to build on that. Into the chicken broth I added konbu (another type of seaweed, which I already had in the freezer from making soon doo bu jigae - a korean spicy soup), dried shitake, roasted pork neck bones and a few pieces of bacon. Porky aromas permeated the entire apartment, yum! This broth is to die for and super flavorful. Next time I'll make it the real Momofuku way!

Taré is supposed to involve roasting chicken bones, deglazing the pan, and adding sake, mirin, usukuchi (lite soy sauce), and pepper... which I think is technically shoyu. However, since I used all my chicken bones for my broth, I just roasted the pork bones and deglazed that pan. I added those bones to the ramen broth and proceeded with adding the other ingredients to the pork bone pot.

The pickled shitake were made with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sugar and ginger.

When I was ready to make the ramen I seared the pork belly with a bit of taré until crisp.

Finally all the components were ready...

Ramen Method:
Heat up ramen broth, add taré and salt to taste, add ramen noodles to warm. Pour in bowl. Slice green onions, baby bok choy, and pickled shitake. Arrange all ingredients, including pork belly, on top of the noodles. Slurp down that deliciousness like it's no one's business!

In the end, I had sort of made taré, sort of made ramen broth, and sort of made pork belly. The pickled shiitakes I did make exactly how they were supposed to be made. I almost made roasted rice cakes but I held off, but maybe just until tomorrow.

Dong had some today. As he was eating it I said to him "Now I need to try the real thing from Tachibana." Dong's response was "what's wrong with this?".

I guess that means I did well.

I feel proud.


Karin said...

i want to eat that!!

Carolyn Jung said...

You should be proud. That's one of the most involved recipes in the book. I have yet to steel myself to make it. ;)

Jennifer Litarowich said...

I just ate there on Friday night! Not a bad replication ;)