Instant Noodle Nagasaki Champon

Nagasaki champon is the most famous noodle dish from (obviously) Nagasaki in the south of Japan. When Japan went through its Sakoku isolation period from 1633 to 1853, Nagasaki was one of the only Japanese cities still open to international trade, so its cuisine became very influenced by Chinese food. These noodles are based on the Hokkien styles of noodle soups from Fujian, and the creaminess of the broth is actually achieved by adding milk. This instant noodle version is ready in in just 10 minutes.

Ingredients

2 tbsp vegetable oil

½ small onion

1 cup sliced cabbage

1 small carrot, sliced

100 g thinly sliced pork belly
6 prawns, peeled

100 g sliced squid, scored

8 slices pink and white Japanese fishcake (or naruto)

6 snow peas, halved

4 packets Maggi Fusian Teriyaki Soupy Noodle

½ cup milk

1 cup beansprouts

Method

Heat a wok over high heat, add the oil and fry the onion until fragrant. Add the cabbage and carrot and toss for a minute until the cabbage softens slightly. Add the pork, prawns, and fishcake and toss for about 1 minute. Add snow peas and fishcake, 5 cups of boiling water and the flavour sachets from the noodle packets.. Add the noodles and cook for 2 minutes until the noodles are softened, then stir through the milk and beansprouts. Serve immediately.

RAMEN SCHOOL 007: Garlic Shoyu Ramen

Shoyu ramen is one of the 4 basic ramen styles (along with shio, tonkotsu and miso) It’s a Tokyo style of ramen that uses soy sauce as the salty and umami base of the tare. Here’s how to make it.

Ingredients

Shoyu Tare

150 ml shoyu

60 ml sake

85 ml mirin

30 g sugar

40 g salt

250 ml Rich Double Soup

5 ml rice vinegar

Aromatic Garlic Oil

300 ml rendered pork fat

50 ml canola oil

15 ml sesame oil

10 cloves garlic, lightly crushed

Noodles and Toppings

ramen noodles – straight, cooked to your liking

chashu

ajitama (ramen eggs)

menma (pickled bamboo shoots)

spring onions, thinly sliced

Method

For the Shoyu Tare, combine the ingredients except the rice vinegar in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes, allow to cool. Then strain and add the vinegar.

For the Aromatic Oil bring the oils to 200C and add the onions and garlic. Stir until the onions are browned, then strain and allow to cool.

For each bowl of ramen use 480ml hot double Soup, 60ml of shoyu tare, 40ml of aromatic garlic oil. Add the noodles, arrange the toppings on top and serve.

Top Tips for Shoyu Ramen

  • Ramen toppings can vary a lot but other common toppings for shoyu ramen include naruto (pink and white fish cake) and komatsuna (a kind of Japanese leaf mustard).
  • I don’t like to overdo the shoyu in the tare, but if you prefer a more pronounced soy sauce flavour you can replace some of the salt with extra soy sauce.
  • Adjust the amount of tare and oil to your own taste. If you prefer it a little saltier, add more tare. If you like it lighter, add less oil.
RAMEN SCHOOL 006: Rich Double Soup for Ramen

In the first Ramen School video we went through the process of making a very basic ramen soup base using the “double soup” method. This time we’re going to use the same method, but ramping things up a bit for a more complex soup base. Using different ingredients requires a slightly different process, and of course a different length of time to get the best out of them.

This soup base is deeper in colour, richer in texture and will be stronger tasting than our first soup base. This would be more suited to a more strongly flavoured ramen, and next week I’ll show you how to turn this base into Garlic Shoyu ramen.

Ingredients

Meat broth

1 kg chicken frames

2 kg pork leg bones

2 kg pork neck/back bones

700 g chicken feet

700 g halved pork trotters

440 g brown onions, halved unpeeled

400 g carrots

100 g shiitake mushrooms

Gyokai – Seafood Broth

25 g kombu

20 g dried fish maw

75 g dried prawns

30 g dried sardines, cleaned (pick the black belly and head away from the meat and spine)

Method

Combine meat ingredients in a pot and cover with 8L water. Bring to a simmer and simmer uncovered for 75 minutes, skimming any scum that rises to the surface. Add the onions, carrots, shiitake mushrooms and simmer for a further 5 hours. Measure. Strain, and press the bones into the sieve to extract the flavour.

Soak the kombu in 3L cold water and refrigerate for 1 hour (that is what my notes say, but I don’t remember this). Slowly bring to a simmer over low heat over the course of about an hour, removing the kombu when it steams. Boil, then add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 45 minutes. Turn off heat and strain.

Combine the soups and reduce by 1/3.

Top Tips for Ramen Soup

  • The most common are where people go wrong with ramen soups is not reducing them far enough. It’s understandable, as it takes a lot of time and also reduces yield, but the more concentrated your soup base is the stronger the flavour will be.
  • After cooling, you can take any fat that solidifies on top of the soup and add that to your aromatic oil for ramen.
  • As with all ramen recipes, any of these ingredients can be substituted for others. Watch the video to see why we’re using specific ingredients to understand the effect of changing one ingredient for another.

 

 

 

Blood orange membrillo

This blood orange version of Spanish quince paste is not difficult to make, but it does take a bit of time. It’s a brilliant accompaniment with strong cheeses. I particularly like it with blue cheese or good quality cheddar.

Ingredients

3 whole blood oranges (approx. 500g)

juice of 4 blood oranges (250ml)

200g caster sugar

Method

Boil whole unpeeled oranges for 1 hour. Combine with the strained juice in a blender and puree to a smooth puree (peel, pith seeds and all). Place the puree in a clean saucepan and add 200g sugar. Cover partially with a lid and cook for about 90 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened, glossy and starting to hold together in a mass, pulling away from the sides of the pot.

Transfer the paste to a small tray or bowl lined with baking paper. The amount of paste should be around 300-400 ml and the container should be small enough so that the membrillo forms a layer of around 2 cm thickness. Smooth the top and transfer to an oven set to 80C fan-forced. Dry for around 5 hours then refrigerate overnight. Turn the membrillo out onto a second tray (the dry top will be on the bottom and the undried base will not be exposed to the air). Allow to dry overnight again. Slice and serve with cheese. Keep the membrillo in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 months.

Top Tips for Blood Orange Membrillo

  • If you can’t wait for this to dry, it is perfectly delicious as a wet paste as well.
  • The paste can be tricky to handle until it is set, but after it has dried it will not be so sticky.
  • You can use a combination of citrus rather than just blood oranges.

Dried shrimp and seaweed furikake

Furikake is one of the most underrated Japanese foods. This is mainly because it’s not often served in restaurants, but you’d be unlikely to find a Japanese family who didn’t have furikake in their cupboard at home. It’s the ultimate convenience food, turning plain rice into a quick meal in seconds. It’s a rice seasoning and we use it every single day, either just scattered over steamed rice or moulded into onigiri – rice balls. Just scatter a bit of furikake over some rice, mould it into a ball and wrap with a little nori.

Ingredients

½ cup large dried shrimp

2 sheets nori

½ cup katsuobushi (bonito flakes)

1 tsp salt

½ tsp sugar

2 tbsp shiokombu

2 tbsp aonori (dried sea lettuce flakes)

2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

All these ingredients are available from Asian grocery stores.

Method

Place the shrimp in the small blending bowl of the Vitamix Ascent high-performance blender and blend to a coarse but fluffy texture. Transfer to a bowl. Toast the nori by waving it over an open flame until it becomes brittle. Crumble it into the blending bowl and add the bonito flakes and salt. Blend to a coarse powder and remove to the same bowl as the shrimp. Add the shiokombu to the blending bowl and pulse until roughly chopped. Combine together with the remaining ingredients and mix well. Transfer to a press-seal bag. The furikake will keep at room temperature for about 6 months.

Top Tips for Furikake

  • Keep your furikake dry for storage. You can save a little pouch of silica gel from your nori and store it together with the furikake if you like.
  • Taste your furikake.  It should be salty and umami with a touch of sweetness.
  • Try other dried seafood for your furikake too. I like to use dried scallops, sardines and other dried seaweeds.
Ramen School #5: Shoyu Ramen in 10 Minutes

If you aren’t sure you want to spend hours (days!) making shoyu ramen from scratch, here’s a recipe using instant noodles that is ready in just 10 minutes. It includes all of the 5 basic elements of ramen (Broth, Noodles, Tare, Oil and Toppings) and is an excellent way to upscale your instant noodles into a proper ramen fix.

This post is brought to you by Maggi’s Fusian Teriyaki Soupy Noodle.

Ingredients

1 free-range egg

2 tsp vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

½ tsp sesame oil

30 g thinly sliced pork belly

2 packets MAGGI Fusian Japanese Teriyaki Soupy Noodles

2 spring onions, thinly sliced

¼ sheet nori

approx. 1 tbsp menma (Japanese pickled bamboo shoots)

a pinch of toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Method

Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Using a metal skewer poke a small hole in the base of the egg. Boil the egg for 6 minutes, then transfer to a bowl of iced water to cool completely. Peel the egg and cut in half.

While the egg is boiling, heat a separate small saucepan over medium heat and add the vegetable oil. Add the garlic and fry until fragrant and lightly browned, then add the sesame oil and 600ml of hot water. Bring to a boil, then add the pork belly and cook for about 30 seconds until the pork is cooked through. Remove the pork from the pot with chopsticks and set aside.

Add the soup and sauce sachets from the noodles to the pot, then add the noodle cakes and cook for 3 minutes. Remove everything to a bowl and top with the pork belly, egg halves, spring onions, menma and sprinkle with spring onions and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

Top Tips for Shoyu Ramen in 10 Minutes

  • Cooking from a packet doesn’ t mean you aren’t still cooking. Taste the broth and season it to your liking. It may need a little more soy sauce, or a pinch of salt.
  • If you aren’t using a packet specifically made for soup noodles, you might want to start with stock instead of water for extra taste.
  • I tend to use a little less water than the packet recommends, as I prefer the soup thicker and stronger tasting.
Ramen School 004: Afuri-style Yuzu Shio Ramen

Afuri is one of Tokyo’s most famous ramen restaurants. Their signature ramen is the a Yuzu Shio style of ramen (yuzu is a type of Japanese citrus, and ‘shio’ is the Japanese term for salt. This isn’t intended to be a copycat recipe, but I think it’s useful to have a guide to work toward when experimenting with ramen, to see how the process of making each of the elements of ramen can lead you toward a specific result.

In this recipe we will use a lot of the different ramen elements that we have made in previous episodes – namely the Basic Chintan broth, rolled Chashu and Ramen eggs.

Below are the additional elements we’ll need to make the tare (sauce) and the aromatic oil.

Ingredients

1 quantity Basic Chintan broth

1 piece rolled pork belly Chashu

fresh ramen noodles (around 180g per person)

menma

nori, cut into 10 cm x 5 cm pieces

2-day cured ajitama (ramen eggs), halved

Shio Tare

60 ml sake

100 ml mirin

20 g sugar

75 g salt

250 ml Basic Chintan broth

10 ml rice vinegar

juice of 1 yuzu (optional)

Aromatic Oil

50 ml rendered chicken fat, chopped

150 g solid pork fat, chopped

75 ml canola oil

5 spring onions, cut into 2cm pieces

rind from ½ yuzu

Method

For the Shio Tare, combine the ingredients except the rice vinegar in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes, allow to cool. Then strain and add the vinegar and yuzu juice (if using).

For the Aromatic Oil combine all the ingredients except the yuzu in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over low-medium heat. Simmer for about 25 minutes until the oil is rendered and the spring onions are starting to brown. Remove from the heat, strain and pour over the et aside.

To assemble the ramen, bring the broth to a simmer. In a separate pot, bring ample water to the boil for cooking the noodles. Take a slice of chashu around ½ cm thick and grill it until hot and the fat is bubbling.

Add the noodles to a noodle strainer and plunge into the boiling water. Stir vigorously with chopsticks for about 10 seconds to separate the noodles. Cook for 3 minutes or until the noodles are cooked to your preferred texture, then remove them from the water, shaking to remove any water trapped between the noodles.

Heat your noodle bowl by filling it with hot broth, then pour the broth back into the heating pot. Add 480ml of Chintan broth to the bowl then add 40ml of the Shio Tare and 30 ml of the Aromatic Oil (you can vary the proportions here to taste, but the broth should be quite salty before the noodles are added).

Add the noodles to the broth, lifting them up with chopsticks and laying them back down into the soup. Top with the menma, egg,

Top Tips for Yuzu Shio Ramen

  • If you can’t find yuzu, just leave it out. While it is similar to lemon in its aroma, it is not necessary for this dish. Focus instead on getting a good balance of seasoning into the broth and tare.
  • Good quality ramen noodles are best freshly made, but if you don’t have any producers of fresh noodles in your area, you can get excellent results with frozen noodles. (Or stay tuned to my YouTube channel where I will be showing you how to make noodles from scratch.)
  • Menma, nori and mizuna can be found at Japanese grocers.
Ramen School 003: Ajitama (Ramen Eggs)

The key to ramen eggs (known in Japanese as ajitsuke tamago 味付け卵) is that they aren’t just flavoured by their marinade. The salty and sweet marinade actually acts as a cure to firm the whites and yolks, and give the yolks a savoury and jammy taste and consistency, which is a much better texture for ramen. Two days curing is about right for curing ramen eggs, but you can go more or less depending on the levels of salt and sugar in the liquid.

Ingredients

6-8 eggs

1 cup chashu braising liquid (or 1 cup homemade teriyaki sauce)

Alternative:

½ cup soy sauce

¼ cup mirin

¼ cup sake

any aromatics, dried shiitake mushrooms or dried seafood you might like

Method

Prick a hole in the base of the egg. Bring a pot of water to the boil, add the eggs, reduce the heat and simmer for 6 minutes. Remove to a bowl of iced water and allow to cool completely.

Combine the eggs with the chashu braising liquid and 2 cups of water. Refrigerate for 48 hours. Serve with ramen. Alternatively, bring the mirin and sake to the boil and flambe. Add soy sauce and 2 cups of water, plus any dried aromatics, shiitake mushrooms or seafood you might like. Add eggs and refrigerate for 2 days.

Top Tips for Ramen Eggs

  • When cutting the eggs in half, the yolks are likely to stick to the knife. Use a wet knife to minimise this, or do as ramen shops do and cut the eggs with a piece of string or fishing line.
  • Some common flavourings that can be added to the steeping liquid are: dried shiitake mushrooms, dried sardines or anchovies, bonito flakes, kombu, and even onion and garlic.
  • Ramen eggs will keep for around 4 days refrigerated in their liquid or out of it. The eggs will likely be fully cured after 2 days.
Ramen School 002: Three Styles of Chashu

Chashu is easily the most popular topping for ramen. Pork (usually belly) is simmered in a sweetened soy-based broth, then chilled, sliced and often grilled. This recipe shows three different styles of chashu cooked together, but of course you could just pick one style and focus on that.

Ingredients

1 kg pork belly, rolled

1 kg pork belly, unrolled

1 kg pork neck, untied

1 piece kombu

6 shiitake mushrooms

1 tsp salt

100 g sugar

150 ml soy sauce

100 ml dark soy sauce

125 ml mirin

125 ml sake

Method

Tie the pork belly in a roll. Place into pot, cover cold water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove the pork from the water and rinse well under running water. Rinse the pot and remove any scum.

Return the pork to the clean pot and add the kombu and shiitake mushrooms. Add water to cover, then bring to the boil, removing the kombu when the water starts to steam. Add the sugar and salt, reduce to a simmer and add a drop lid. Simmer covered for 1 hour, then add the soy sauce, mirin and sake. Simmer for a further hour.

Remove the unrolled pork belly after 90 minutes total simmering time. And the pork neck and rolled pork belly after 2 hours. Refrigerate overnight until well chilled. Slice and serve.

Top Tips for Chashu

  • Don’t skip the chilling process. The chashu is very soft when cooked and will easily break apart if sliced while warm.
  • You can play around with the proportions for this recipe to suit your taste, or the style of ramen you are wanting to make.
  • Don’t discard the simmering liquid. It can be used to make ramen eggs (ajitama) or braising other meats.
Ramen School 001: Basic Clear Ramen Broth

On my YouTube channel I’m starting a new series on how to make ramen at home. Be warned, it’s not a short process but I wanted to show you the theory behind ramen so that you can produce your own, authentic and unique ramen rather than just following recipes. Hopefully through these videos you’ll understand the basics of what makes a great bowl of ramen.

A bowl of true ramen contains 5 elements:

  1. Broth
  2. Noodles
  3. Tare
  4. Oil
  5. Toppings

Let’s start at the beginning with how to make a simple clear broth for ramen. This is a base for so many different types of clear ramen, like shio-ramen and shoyu-ramen.

Ingredients

Meat Stock

2200 g whole old chicken

500 g chicken feet

700 g halved pork trotters

440 g (2pc) brown onions, halved

400 g (2pc) carrots

100 g (1pc) whole head garlic

60 g unpeeled sliced ginger

9000 ml water

Basic Dashi

17 g (2pc) kombu

45 g katsuobushi

3000 ml water

Method

Cut chickens into 6-8 pieces, breaking bones. Cut nails from chicken feet. Place the chicken and pork in a large pot and cover with 9L water. Bring to a simmer. Skim to remove scum, then turn heat to very low (below simmer) and simmer uncovered for 4 hours. Should yield around 7L, but measure. Strain and refrigerate. Skim off solidified fat for use in aromatic oil.

For the dashi, soak the kombu in 3L cold water while chicken stock is cooking. Slowly bring to a simmer, removing the kombu when it steams. Boil, then add the katsuoboshi. Turn off heat. Strain, and mix with the chicken soup. If preferred, you can reduce this mixed soup further to intensify the flavour and texture of the soup.

Top Tips for Clear Ramen Broths

  • It’s really important that the broth doesn’t come to a vigorous boil. Boiling will cause fat particles to emulsify into the soup to create a cloudy soup.
  • The proportions in this recipe are by no means the only way to make ramen broth. You can change the proportions (and even the ingredients) to vary your broth in many different ways.
  • This process is known as the “double soup” method, where a meat-based soup and dried seafood-based soup are mixed together. This is generally the preferred method for making ramen broth as taught by the Yamato ramen school and practiced in the majority of ramen-ya in Japan.