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Fresh Ramen

3/12/2017

One of the things I miss most about Japan is the little ramen shops. They were tiny, crowded little restaurants where you sat next to some businessman slurping up his noodles on fast forward mode. I hope his meal doesn't clash with yours too much because some of his splashes into your bowl. But that's okay, everything tastes sublime at these little ramen shops. And after walking in the rainy Tokyo weather through the Ginza district, you are soaked and chilled and ready for a hot bowl of soup.

Finally, after years of being away from Japan, these little ramen shops are starting to pop up around our area. Nothing compared to the real thing, but better than nothing at all. We started becoming regulars there. I hope my husband has been leaving decent tips. But it quickly adds up paying restaurant prices for bowls of noodles.

One day, as I was looking through the freezers for dim sum, at our local Japanese grocery store, I spotted some packages of fresh ramen in the refrigerated section. Sure, why not, might be good. I'm always up for experimenting.

I brought it home and opened the package. The ramen noodles were soft and felt a little like the fresh linguini noodles you buy at Safeway, coated in a little flower to prevent sticking. I boiled them and drained them, using my Snap'n Strain kitchen gizmo, which I use to drain all my pasta. It is so quick and easy to just clip on this silicon strainer to whatever pot you are cooking your pasta in and pour the cooking water into the sink. The drained pasta remains in the pot ready for your next step. I've tried this with several of our pots, and the Snap'n Strain fits them all, lip or no lip. This is a must for making macaroni and cheese!

But I digress. This fresh ramen was amazing. So much better than dehydrated top ramen from the days of old. No need to go to the ramen shop every week now. I just throw these in a pot. I also add a few toppings to make it official.

Here is the recipe for making easy ramen at home:

Ingredients (typically found at a Japanese or Asian grocery store):

  • Package of fresh noodles - usually in freezer or refrigerated section
  • Shiitake mushrooms - come dry in a package
  • Eggs - one for each bowl of ramen
  • Bamboo Shoots - 1 can
  • Shrimp - about 4 medium shrimp per bowl of ramen
  • Spinach - about a handful for each bowl
  • Kamaboko - comes in a pink log in refrigerated section

Instructions

  1. soak shiitake mushrooms in hot water with a little sugar and soy sauce added to it for about 15-20 mins
  2. boil soft or hard boiled eggs, whichever you prefer, 1 for each bowl of ramen
  3. cut kamaboko into medium-thin slices
  4. boil shrimp with a little sugar in the water
  5. boil fresh ramen noodles
  6. wash spinach and quickly blanch in boiling water, with a little added soy sauce
  7. remove shiitake mushrooms from soaking and squeeze out excess liquid
  8. chop shiitake mushrooms into strips
  9. open can of bamboo shoots
  10. mix sauce packet with hot water as directed on package
  11. drain noodles with snap'n strain
  12. place noodles into serving bowl(s)
  13. place the toppings on top of the noodles
  14. pour hot soup over the top of everything in the bowl

If you can't find fresh ramen in your area, you could always use regular dried ramen you find at any grocery store. The toppings will help make it a hearty meal.


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