Japanese food

Shio Ramen Soup Base

This recipe starts off with the same components as my Miso Ramen Soup Base but I’ve added fresh and dried shitake mushrooms to give it added depth. It also incorporates the nice fatty flavor of bacon fat.  I experimented with different types of salt for this recipe to see which came through the best. I chose fleur de sel because I liked the earthiness that it added without it being overwhelmingly salty and it helps keep the taste of the soup lingering on the palate.  You can make your own original recipe with any special salt you have on hand.

Shio Ramen Soup Base

Serves: up to 12 servings

Prep time: 45 minutes for making Shio Base, 15 minutes for making broth plus time required to make Ramen Noodles (optional) and topping

Shio Base Ingredients:

1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped

½ onion, peeled, large dice

3 green onions, white part only, chopped

½ apple, peeled, seeded, and chopped  

1 celery stalk, large dice

3 cloves garlic,

5 fresh shiitake mushrooms

1/2 cup bacon fat*

1 tablespoon sesame oil

3 teaspoons dashi granules (Japanese stock)

2 tablespoons fleur de sel

Broth ingredients:

Unsalted butter ( 2 tbsp per serving)

low sodium chicken or vegetable stock (2 cups per serving)

Mirin (Japanese rice wine) (2 tbsp per serving)

1 large rectangular piece of kombu (about 10” length) – cut into large squares (1 square per serving)

dried shiitake mushrooms, crumbled (2 mushrooms per serving)

salt as the miso base is very salty.

These components need to be made ahead of time:

Ramen Noodles – See recipe for Homemade Ramen Noodles

Chashu and Marinated Half-Cooked Egg - See Chashu and Marinated-Half Cooked Egg recipe

Recommended Toppings:

negi or green onions, fresh spinach, chashu (pork belly), marinated half-cooked egg, garnish with nori (seaweed) square(s).

*  you can omit the bacon fat if you don’t have any but we wouldn’t recommend it. Next time  

   you are cooking bacon in the morning, simply save your fat in a container and refrigerate it! 

Directions:

1.  In a food processor combine the carrot, onion, green onion, apple, celery, garlic and fresh shiitake mushrooms and process until very finely chopped, almost like a paste. It's better to use a food processor, but if you don't have one, finely chop these ingredients by hand.

2.  In a medium size pot, warm the bacon fat and sesame oil over medium high heat. Add the finely chopped vegetables and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent and apple is tender, 10 to 12 minutes.  Add the dashi and fleur de sel and mix well.

3.  Start making your broth by adding butter to a large saucepan and heat over medium high heat.  Once the butter starts to brown and smells nutty, add the stock, mirin, kombu and crumbled dried shiitake mushrooms.  Bring to a boil reduce to simmer, and cook for for at least 15 minutes, then remove solids with a sieve.

4. While the broth is simmering, place a pot of water to boil for your noodles.

5. Add the Shio Base to the broth (depending on the number of people you are serving, it's 3 tablespoons Shio Base to every 1 cup of broth). Lower heat and let simmer until it's ready to serve. Use about 2 cups soup per serving. Right before serving, crank the heat back up to boil.

6.  When the noodles are cooked, drain well and separate out into serving bowls. Pour two cups of your soup over each bowl of noodles and add your desired toppings.

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Source: http://www.easypeasyjapanesey.com/blogeasy...

Ramen Tour of Tokyo

Ramen Tour of Tokyo

Want to try the real deal in Tokyo, Japan?  My colleague Brian MacDuckston from ramenadventures chaperoned us to these six ramenya’s.  I’d highly recommend them for a nice well-rounded tour to experience the different types of ramen available in Tokyo. 

Most Tokyo ramenyas have very minimal seating, with seats at a bar and no waiting area. The chef is always present and is typically only accompanied by one or two apprentices, depending on the size of the shop. It’s quiet. The Japanese like to face the chef and eat without talking or socializing. It is the same at sporting or concert events in Japan, people stand side-by-side but there isn’t much interaction as they enjoy the show. It is their way of showing respect to the performer, and at a ramenya, to the master and his expertise. 

Customers respect the line and wait without complaining, no looking at their phones or talking too much. They place their order and pay at a small ticket machine at the front of the shop, make a line outside and sometimes line up along the wall in the back of the restaurant as their turn draws closer. When a seat opens up, they are prompted. You sit down quickly, hand over your ticket, and wait for your ramen. Within minutes, the bowl is presented on a raised bar in front of you. They dig into their ramen, and finish within 15 minutes. With a polite “gochisosama”, they exit and the next person sits. This efficient system keeps the line moving quickly. 

Some ramenyas are set up in more of a restaurant style with a waiter, a menu, and proper drink service. You are welcome to stay longer at these establishments but my advice is to show respect and do as others do. Eat, enjoy and get out. You can talk later.  

1.    Japanese Soba Noodles Tsuta, Master Onishi-san

東京都豊島区巣鴨1-14-1

Tokyo, Toshima-ku, Sugamo 1-14-1

Closest station: Sugamo

Open 11:00-16:00

Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays

Don't let the name confuse you.  "Soba" translates to noodles, so this is a ramen shop, not the traditional "soba" noodles you are thinking of. This was our first ramen stop in Tokyo and probably the most formal of all of the ramenya’s we went to.  It had a long line at 11AM, it was the first time we used the ticket machine to place an order, and everyone was quiet as a mouse, except for the slurping of course.  We were advised by Brian to only take pictures of the ramen but to do this very quickly.  Our bowls were placed on the raised bar and it was as if we were paying homage by reaching for it with both hands and placing it in front of us to consume. My traveling partner and photographer for the trip, Andi and I each shared the Shoyu and Shio varieties and thought they were divine.  The soup wasn’t too heavy so we were able to finish them both, the egg filled with liquid gold and just enough negi (green onion) and chashu. The Shio version had a delicious green pesto type topping that I think was made with anoriko, a powdered seaweed.

2. LaShowHan, Master Okada-san

東京都千代田区神田錦町 1-4-8

Tokyo, Chioda-ku, Kanda Nishikicho 1-4-8

Closest station: Ogawamachi

Open 11:00-15:00, 17:30-20:00

Saturdays 11:00-14:00, 17:30-20:00

Closed Sundays

This was my first taste of tantanmen, a Japanese adaptation of a Szechwan style spicy noodle dish known as Dan Dan noodles. I don’t tend to like super spicy food, but the Premium Si Chuan Style bowl was not too overpowering and the sansho chili pepper gave it a earthy, lemon taste that just slightly numbed my tongue. I loved that it was served mazemen style (or without soup) so that the spices and the sauce were folded into every bite. I was just as fond of the owner, Master Okada-san. It’s also not a strict sit, eat and get out establishment, which was refreshing! 

3. Mensho Tokyo, Master Shono-san

Address: Yubinbango112-0003 Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo Kasuga 1-15-9 1F Closest Station: Kasuga

Hours 11AM – 3PM and 5PM -11PM

Closed Tuesdays

Web: http://menya-shono.com/tokyo/access/

I ordered the Shoyu-Niboshitare Tonkotsu Ramen with a side of tender lamb.  The tonkotsu is cooked with pork and lamb bones with a lamb chashu and the most interesting prep of menma in long strips to top it off.  My favorite part was Master Shono-san’s signature spice mix of ground cinnamon, cumin, and fennel seeds that was provided in a shaker at the table. The décor and ambience are cool and casual - he has a chandelier made out of Niboshi or dried infant sardines in the front of the restaurant. He also has 5 other ramen shops in Tokyo with one US location in San Francisco

4. Fuunji, Master Miyake-san

Address: Hokuto first 2-14-3 1F, Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Closest station: Shinjuku

Hours 11AM – 3PM and 5PM – 9PM

Open Monday - Saturday

I read about this place on ramenadventures.com before my trip and was so excited to taste their tsukemen, or dipping noodles with Brian himself.  Unfortunately, he had another appt to go to but he made sure we purchased the right ticket at the machine in the back and ushered us in. It was worth the wait - a complex and layered chicken-bone soup with deep fish flavors and an intensity that made every noodle laden bite satisfying. Brian would later tell me that the soup is actually a tori paitan, with chicken bones cooked in the same way you would pork bones for a similar soup. It is then added to a 2nd fish soup to give it that smoky flavor.  This was the first place we’d been to where the line continued to the back of the bar where everyone watched over the customers in anticipation as seats would free up and our line would slowly move ahead.  The master was super serious, very concentrated and intently involved in his preparation for us.  I was mesmerized.

5. Tsukomo, Master Takahashi-san

Address: Hongoku Build. 1F, 1-1-36

Hiroo, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Closest station: Ebisu

Hours 11AM – 5AM

Open everyday

This ramenya is famous for its Cheese Miso Tonkotsu Ramen. A special type of local artisan cheese called Golden Gouda is incorporated into the soup and also piled high on top. It’s shaved to almost a powder form right at the bar so it sinks and melts into the soup to give you a rich, thick satisfying meal. You won’t be hungry an hour or five later. 

6. Usagi Shokudo, Master Mori-san

Address: Aobadai 1-30-12 Meguro-ku,Tokyo Closest station: Naka-Meguro

Open 11:30AM to 10PM

Closed Mondays

They serve tori paitan here which is ramen with a creamy chicken soup. There are only two menu items and they were out of one so we ordered the torishiroramen - their signature creamy chicken soup with a shiodare.  There were delicate pieces of perfectly tender chicken and thin fried onions and shredded negi (Japanese green onion) on top with a crispy piece of garlic toast and some sweet minced garlic on the side.  It was a graceful dish and very well orchestrated.  The restaurant is more upscale in a seated restaurant style space.  The line here took a little longer because of this but it was well worth the wait. They were voted best rookie tori paitan by Tokyo Ramen of the Year magazine in 2014, deservedly so.  


Miso Ramen Soup Base - みそラーメン

I'm so excited to share my Miso Ramen recipe with you! Just so you know, there are four main types of ramen soup bases - Miso (Fermented Soybean Based), Shio (Salt Based), Shoyu (Soy Sauce Based) and Tonkotsu (Pork Bone Based). The first recipe I'd like to share is for my Miso Ramen - but I want us to do this gradually so that you don't get intimidated by the ramen process. The recipe itself is pretty easy but in order to make a complete bowl of ramen, you'll have to do it in stages instead of tackling this all in one day.  So, I'm having you start with a basic soup base, then I'll give you the recipe for fresh ramen noodles, then we can move on to some toppings.  At the end of our ramen introduction, it won't seem so difficult if we take it step by step.  You will be rewarded when we put it all together for a super-duper-delicious-awesome bowl of ramen! After that we can move on to the other soup bases and lots more variations of ramen to turn you into a ramen fanatic!

Before you do anything - your going to need bacon fat or grease - so fry up some bacon for breakfast and save that fat in a jar. You'll only need 4 tbsp so you should have plenty. Save the rest for later.

Here we go....

Miso Ramen Soup Base

Serves 1-10 portions

Prep time: 45 minutes only for making Miso Base, time to make noodles and toppings is additional

Miso Ramen originates from Hokkaido in Northern Japan. Winter’s are severe there, so it’s no wonder that the comfort and warmth of a good Miso Ramen is a daily staple.

I developed my variation of miso ramen with the idea of creating a super flavorful base that you can have anytime by just adding a cup of vegetable or chicken stock to. The result is the convenience of having a one-person portion or a meal for many – all according to the base to stock ratio. Whether you're taking it to work for yourself or preparing a family meal, it will be worth the labor because once you make it, it’s practically instant. The ramen base can be saved for up to a week in the refrigerator or frozen for a month.

Miso Base Ingredients:

1 medium carrot, peeled, large dice

½ onion, peeled, large dice

½ apple, stemmed, seeded, peeled and large dice

1 celery stalk, large dice

3 garlic cloves

½ cup bacon fat*

2  tablespoons sesame oil, split – use separately

1 ½ cups ground pork

2 teaspoons fresh ground ginger **

1 teaspoon Sriracha

2 tablespoon shoyu (soy sauce)

1 teaspoon kelp granules

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon ground sesame seed paste (if you do not have this, then omit) 

¾ cup Shiro miso (white miso which is lighter and sweeter)

¾ cup Akamiso miso (red miso is darker and saltier)

Chicken stock or Vegetable Stock – store bought or homemade *** 2 cups per serving based on the number of servings. 

* you can omit the bacon fat if you don’t have any but we wouldn’t recommend it. Next time you are cooking bacon in the morning, simply save your fat in a container and refrigerate it!  

** a trick to grating ginger: freeze your ginger in pieces with the skin on and take it out of the freezer right before you are ready to grate it.  No need to peel the skin off, it is edible. You can find a Japanese ginger grater online or in any Asian cooking store.

*** I recommend using a low-sodium chicken stock. If you are making your stock from scratch, do not add excessive salt as the miso base is very salty.

These components need to be made ahead of time:

Ramen Noodles – See Homemade Ramen Noodles recipe

Chashu and Marinated Half-Cooked Egg - See Chashu and Marinated-Half Cooked Egg recipe

Recommended Toppings:

Negi (green onions), sweet corn, chashu (pork belly), butter, half-cooked egg, garnish with nori (seaweed) square.

Directions:

1. It is recommended to use a food processor but if you don’t have one, you can finely chop. Add carrot, onion, apple, and celery to a food processor. Pulse into a fine chop.

2. Add bacon fat and 1 tbsp of sesame oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the finely chopped mixture above and cook until onions are translucent and apple is tender, stirring occasionally, about 10-12 minutes.  When done, turn down to simmer until you are ready to add pork. 

misoramen_photo_3

3. Turn heat to medium-low. Next add your ground pork to the cooked vegetable mixture and cook the pork, about 5 minutes until no longer pink. Stir in the ginger, sriracha, soy sauce, kelp granules, apple-cider vinegar, and salt. Incorporate well.

4.  Return the entire mixture to the food processor and pulse until pork is finely ground.  Return to your skillet. 

5. Add your miso to the ground pork mixture and mix well.  It should have the consistency of a thick paste. Your base is done, remove from heat and set aside.

misoramen_photo_5

6. Place a pot of water to boil for your noodles. In a separate saucepan, bring Miso Base and broth to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer until it’s ready to serve. Note: It’s 3 tablespoons base to every 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth. Use about 2 cups soup per serving. Right before serving, crank it back up to boil. 

7. Boil the noodles—if fresh, boil for about 1 minute; if packaged, boil for about 2 minutes. As soon as they’re done, drain well and separate into serving bowls.

8. Pour 2 cups soup over each bowl of noodles. Top each bowl with desired toppings. 

Easy-peasy Japanesey video debut!

It was a labor of love but my video was recently completed and will hopefully help an interested publisher who sees my cookbook proposal to also put a face with the name. It will be worth watching, I promise!  Also, a big favor to ask of you - my recent assignment from my editor and agent are too beef up my social media - so please help me by also liking my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/easypeasyjapanesey - if you already have, then THANK YOU! The video is a visual on one of my most popular blog posts called "Just roll with it, it's a sushi party for everyone!"  It's a quick tutorial on how I put together a make your own sushi night at our house with some tricks from my mom on using a sharp knife and cooking rice.  If you look closely at the end, you'll see that my daughter's hand is completely covered in black paint.  It makes me laugh to know that we didn't even wash her hands before eating!  Oh well!  Hope you enjoy! [wpvideo tPgVbwfn]

Here's a link to the original post about how to make everything you need for your own sushi party! >> http://wp.me/p1L4Tl-2F