Saturday, January 18, 2014

Red Kitchen Ramen

What's hot?  Ramen is hot.  It's a big bowl of hot, unforgettable broth with treasures including soft - boiled egg, shrimp, and slow - cooked pork shoulder.  Chashu is a popular item served in ramen, according to books like Ivan Ramen, a book I recently glanced through at Barnes & Noble.  And of course by now you've read Momofuku's ramen journey which must take hours or days to produce the most umami of ramen broths.  Who has that kind of time?

I grew up on instant ramen.  It's so cheap and fast.  But lately we're discovering the perils of cheap and fast.  Are we still serving it at home?  Yes, because we grew up on the stuff, and we seem to be okay.  For the most part....
During a recent ice storm in Little Rock, while people were stocking up on bread and milk, I purchased a large 9 pound pork shoulder.  Last year we had blackouts all over the city due to ice, and we had little food in our fridge.  We also had no access to food because the stores were all closed.  So now I make sure we have enough food to carry us through about 3 days without having to live on potato chips.

I'd say a 9 pound pork shoulder stores well in the fridge with several different meal options and variations.  If your electricity goes out, just store the meat in the ice or snow.  Think of what they did before Tesla and electricity.  Forget about Edison....I've learned through my husband who is an electrician.  I've seen my husband put a box in a tree and light up something far away.  To me, my husband's skills are up there with those of the cardiologists and ob/gyns that I used to call on and admire for their cradle - to - the grave care.  But of course I'm biased. 

For the ramen, I sliced off what looked like a slab of pork belly or a pound of bacon unsliced.
I also wanted a soft - cooked egg for my Red Kitchen Ramen.  It was pretty much a staple of my childhood ramen.
The eggs are covered with just enough water, then brought up to a boil.  They need a steady simmer for 5 minutes, then they should be emerged in a bowl of ice water for 10 minutes.
Ramen is usually made with dashi, but the problem with instant dashi is that it has MSG in it.  Which is the same problem with instant ramen.  Plus the high sodium content.  You can then make your own dashi with dried bonito shavings and seaweed, but I used the dried squid instead to give it the similar flavor.  I also used the tamari which is gluten free soy sauce and mirin which are elements used to make tare, an ingredient in Momofuku ramen broth.  Essentially, I used what I had on hand.  Using the porky broth gave it quite a bit of flavor.

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. pork shoulder
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • garlic powder
  • spaghetti style shirataki noodles
  • 6 eggs, soft - cooked
  • 6 shrimp, cooked
  • 3 pieces of dried squid
  • fried garlic for garnish
  • fresh cilantro for garnish
Directions:
  1. Start with the pork shoulder.  Place it inside a small enameled cast iron Dutch oven.  Cover with just enough water to cover.  Add the dried squid, tamari, mirin, & garlic powder.
  2. Bring up to a boil, then reduce to a steady simmer for about an hour.
  3. Pull the meat out, then refrigerate the broth overnight.  
  4. Remove the solidified fat.  Slice the meat.  Remove the squid and reheat the broth.
  5. Prepare the shirataki noodles by draining, rinsing, then warming up.
  6. Slice the pork, then prepare with the pork, broth, shrimp, and eggs.
  7. Garnish with fresh cilantro & fried garlic.


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