The Ramen Po’boy
Ramen is a family of Japanese noodle dishes that takes its name from the Chinese noodle soups featuring the pulled ‘la mian’ noodles. Basic ramen usually features a shio (seasoned chicken stock), shoyu (stock with soy sauce) or miso soup base, with alkaline noodles, tender pork chashu (from the Chinese ‘char siew’), menma (simmered bamboo shoots), nori and seasoned eggs. It’s usually eaten in the late evenings either as an after-work dinner for neighbourhood salarymen or at the end of a night of drinking. Yes, ramen is the Japanese answer to a regrettable kebab on the way home from the pub.
More than just a dish, ramen is an icon of Japanese culture and lines for the more famous ramen stores can stretch for literally hours. Each store will add their tiny signature to a bowl of ramen – an infusion of yuzu, a specific seasoning on the chashu, or even preparing their broth with mountain water from a specific spring.
In this dish, the elements of ramen meet the traditional New Orleans po’boy. Sorry there are no step shots to accompany the recipe, but I wasn’t intending this as a blog post really. It was just Sunday lunch.
The Ramen Po’boy
- 1 x 12-inch half baguette
- 4-5 slices chashu (recipe follows)
- 1 nitamago (recipe follows)
- 2 small sheets Korean toasted nori
- Kewpie mayonnaise
- 1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
- 2 tbsp chopped chives
- unsalted butter
- dijon mustard (you can use seeded mustard or American mustard if preferred)
- 1/4 cup menma (to serve, commercially available from Japanese grocers)
- Cut the baguette in half almost all the way through, butterfly and grill on both sides until toasted. Spread the base side with butter and the top side with dijon, seeded or American mustard (seeded and American are more traditional for a po’boy but I prefer dijon).
- Scatter the base half with shredded lettuce, liberally top with the Kewpie mayonnaise and then crumble over the Korean nori.
- Fry or grill the chashu slices until warmed and browned and layer onto the sandwich.
- Slice the egg into half and then each half into thirds. Cover the chashu slices with egg and scatter with chives.
- Serve the po’boy with the menma on the side.
- 1.5kg pork belly
- 1.5L strong chicken stock
- 1 sheet kombu
- 5 shiitake mushrooms
- 500ml water
- 250ml light soy sauce
- 100ml sake
- 3 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tbsp salt
- Remove the skin from the chashu and roll it lengthways. Tie the roll with string at 1cm intervals and cover with cold water in a large stockpot. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Discard the water and with your hands wash the pork in warm water to remove any blood or scum. Chill the pork in the fridge for 1 hour.
- Bring Stock A ingredients to a simmer and immediately remove the kombu. Add the pork and simmer for 1.5 hours. Remove the pork.
- Bring Stock B ingredients to a simmer, add the pork and simmer for a further 30 minutes until the pork is quite tender and a skewer can be inserted through the centre easily. Remove the pork and chill in the fridge until ready.
- 5-10 free-range eggs (as many as you like)
- 500ml water
- 250ml light soy sauce
- 1 sheet kombu
- 5 dried anchovies
- 3 shiitake mushrooms
- 40g katsuboshi
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp five spice powder
- 1 extra star anise
- 1/2 small onion
- Bring all ingredients except the eggs and katsuoboshi to a simmer and remove the kombu. Add in the katsuoboshi and allow to stand for 30 minutes. Strain the mixture and reserve the liquid.
- Boil water and plunge in the eggs for 7-8 minutes. Remove and immediately shock in iced water. Peel the eggs and steep in the liquid for 1.5 hours. Remove from the liquid, cover and chill in the fridge.
I use mirin for my chashu. will try using sake instead. wonder what the difference is? And will definitely have a go making Nitamago.
Thanks for the Egg recipe Adam, I’ve been looking for that recipe ever since I had Japanese noodles with that style of egg.
Interesting take. I was expecting something more like a yakisoba-pan.
Does it actually feel like you’re eating a ramen in sandwich form?
@jeroxie – The main difference between mirin and sake in manufacturing is the type of rice used. Mirin is made from glutinous rice and sake (nihonshu) made from specific sake-rice (often different from rice meant for eating). In flavour it obviously differs in texture and sweetness.
@Simon – I’ve never quite understood yakisoba-pan. I think it’s the 2 carbs together thing. The flavour is definitely ramen in sandwich form. I thought it was quite cool.
in Holland the contest hasn’t finished yet but i’m pleased te read here that you won! I’ll still be watching the finals though.
I tried to find the recipe of your dish with all different sort of sate’s, 7 I think it were, it looked wonderfull. Could you please send me the recipe?
The recipe for the Seven Lucky Gods dish is in the Masterchef Season 2 Cookbook as well as in my own cookbook, Two Asian Kitchens. I wish I could send it to you, but my publisher won’t let me!
Pingback: adamliaw.com » Blog Archive » The Ramen Po’boy
I am feeling really rather ashamed after reading this. I mean, I certainly enjoy my food (to the point of obsession if I am honest) but I’m completely astonished (pleasantly of course) this is your lunch at home. For me, it’d probably be congee with salted egg and radish or perhaps warm bread with fried eggs and soy sauce. These are delightful but seeing what you’re pulling, I’m going to turn away quite red-faced.
Pingback: Tweets that mention The Ramen Po’boy « adamliaw.com -- Topsy.com
I just finished watchiing the masterchef season. I am so happy you won! I would do anything to taste your pork belly dish for the finale. You’re the best!
Congratulations for winning! Since the day i watched the show on tv here in Dubai i got very interested, so i watched the show via youtube. For how many days i spent most of my time watching till whole season ends. It’s all worth it especially that both of u deserved to be in the finals! Pls post easy to cook recipes. Thanks!
hi, when does your cook book come out?
hope it will have lots of pork recieps =)
We had an amazing time every day at 06:30 pm watching TV here in the Netherlands. Inspirational and a great laugh too!
Congratulations! Wish you all the best and hope to visit your own future restaurant some time!
Anne-Mieke & Laurens
As you probably know, the show has just ended in Holland. I always thought you were amazing since the beginning of the show. I love to see you cook :)! Hope there’s going to be a cooking show on tv of you one day. (And off course, that they’ll show it on the other side of the world haha)
I used your char siu recipe from the Ramen Po Boy to prepare about a kilo and a half of pork tenderloin for use in an 8 dish meal that I prepared for my father’s birthday, and although it was very delicious it wasn’t really texturally like what is commonly referred to as char siu or sliced BBQ pork here in Canada. But it was closer than I’ve come yet to recreating delicious char siu at home, I think it might possibly be common to cook it on a spit here and coat it with maltose syrup and chinese rose wine. I really wish I could get into the kitchen of a chinese restaurant and watch it being made. Is boiling and braising more traditional in your neck of the woods, or is that just something that you like to do? By the way, I managed to get my hands on all 84 episodes of Masterchef Australia season 2 and have watched it a bunch. Thanks for participating in that and going after your dream. Congratulations on winning, and I hope you at least get to make a few appearances next month in season 3.
The Cha-Shu recipes in this dish is a Japanese style pork used in Japanese ramen. It is very different from Cantonese char siew. I have made the Cantonese one many times (including while working in Chinese restaurants) and yes, you can baste it with shaoxing and liquid maltose after marinading in a spice mix, but it can be a bit difficult to recreate at home. I have a recipe for the cantonese char siew in my book which simplifies it for home cooking using honey and spices.
out of curiosity, when is your book come out?
i asked the same march 13, but adam did not answer. i guess he doesnt know?
Can’t wait for your book then. Hope I can get it in Canada. Cheers.
This looks amazing, thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to add this one too my recipe box and give it a try!
I was just browsing to see when your restaurant was opening… and OMG I can no longer focus on work! I HAVE to eat one of these!! But alas, it doesn’t look like it’s something I can quickly rustle up tonight, boo hoo 🙁 Your book really looks unreal too! Well done!
Congratulations on your new book! Great idea with the 2 kitchens and I look forward to reading your views and contrasting the different styles.
Hi Adam, I’ve just spent one of the best weekends of my year so far reading your cookbook in the Sydney autumn sunshine. Can’t wait to cook the fire chicken. Thank you!
hi Adam, I’m so interested in recipes for seaweed as I have been trying to use it since my mum taught me how to identify local types. most people think its a bit far out- I hope to meet you in cape town! please take a look at our blogsite