Monday, January 2, 2012

Adult Ramen Noodle Soup

After a recent dinner trip to an awesome ramen noodle restaurant, we were inspired to try and make the delicious soup ourselves.  This is not your typical college ramen noodle soup where you boil the noodles and dump the seasoning packet in.  This is truly adult ramen - made from scratch.  (well, not the noodles)  Now, I've always enjoyed regular ramen noodle soup. It's salty, savory, cheap, and easy to make.  But when we had this authentic ramen at the restaurant it opened our eyes to what ramen should be.  It was bursting with spicy flavor and fresh ingredients.  We did our best to replicate it, and though I'm sure it's not identical to what the restaurant serves, our version was pretty delicious.  If you live in DC, go here for your Japanese ingredients!
8 cups of unsalted chicken or beef broth (or water)
2 packages of ramen noodles (we bought them fresh from the Japanese grocery store, but you could use the dry variety and just omit the seasoning packet)
1/4 cup miso paste (or more to taste, especially if you are starting out with water)
2 T black bean paste (found in the Asian section)
1 T fish sauce
1 T sriracha (hot chile sauce)
1 T rice vinegar
1 T whole cardamom pods
1/2 cup peas
1/2 cup corn
Freshly ground black pepper, and kosher salt
1 lb very thinly sliced beef rib-eye - or other type of protein
vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced into thin sticks
eggs for frying (optional)
1 lime
sesame oil for drizzling

We began by making a beef broth.  Using store-bought is perfectly fine, but we wanted to see what kind of flavor we could get may making our own using a beef bone.  The result wasn't extremely flavorful so I wouldn't say it's a necessary part of the recipe.  We simmered the bones with celery, green onion, garlic, carrots, and bay leaves for about an hour.
Whether your broth is home-made or store bought, heat it in a large pot and add the miso, black bean paste, fish sauce, sriracha, rice vinegar, corn, peas, and cardamom pods.  Let it simmer covered, while you prepare your "add-ins".  
We fried an egg for each serving, and also fried the garlic to sprinkle on as a garnish.

Boil your noodles as directed in a separate pot of plain water.  It is important to do them separately so you eliminate all of the starch from your soup.  When they are done, drain them and divide them out between your bowls. 
Add the juice of half of your lime to the broth, and taste it for salt and pepper as well.  When you finish, ladle the broth on top of each bowl of noodles (avoid the cardamom  pods!). The broth should be very hot from simmering on the stove.  Add some thin slices of beef to each bowl, which will cook from the heat of the broth.  (Note - if yours isn't thin enough, cook it separately and add it in already cooked)
Finally, add the fried egg and garlic on top of each bowl with an extra squeeze of lime juice and a drizzle of sesame oil.  You will never look at ramen noodles the same after this meal!  

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