Sunday, April 3, 2011

Special Ramen for Late Dinner

We had a fantastic dinner at the Midytte - Hunter house, ribs done in the bourgeois style Tim has been experimenting with, smoke-braised in the barbecue with a fantastic rub, served with baked potatoes dressed with sour cream and winter chives and some delicious spinach, finishing off with excellent espresso and homemade berry-citrus ice cream. We then came home and did nothing for the rest of the evening, which made Heather hungry. Knowing I can't compete with the ribs she politely asked for 
special ramen. Special ramen is regular four-for-a-buck ramen noodles with the broth dolled up a little. While th noodles are cooking, I fortify the broth with some soy, thai fish sauce and vegetable boullion. In the bowl, I beat an egg yolk with a little Siracha, vinegar, minced garlic and sesame oil. When the noodles are done, I drizzle the soup into the egg, beating it to incorporate it. This is where it sometimes goes wrong and the egg curdles into a sort of stracciatella, but last night it worked fine and the broth just got slightly thicker. The egg has the effect of holding the flavors in suspension in your mouth so they linger a little longer, particularly the garlic and sesame, and combined with the fish sauce and soy, gives the soup a nice umame quality. I loaded the noodles in and chopped some fresh ginger, parsley and cilantro for a garnish and the soup made its way into Heather. If I'd had some scallions or winter chives, they would have been cut very fine and scattered on there too. Heather uses a fork for ramen, which I find really awkward so I use takeout chopsticks, but I used to have a couple sets of nice Japanese hashi that were perfect. I lose everything don't I. I wish I didn't lose everything little and cool.

I've had magical ramen in Japan, and pretty good ramen in the US at a few specialty shops and Japanese markets, so I know this is not legit ramen, but I've always liked the way a couple of extra ingredients and five minutes can make even pre-packaged bachelor fodder like this into something tasty. Tonight I'm playing poker until pretty late, but when I get home I could make another one of these in a few minutes. (vg without fish sauce, v without egg)


  1. oh man. my mom is from Japan. so as a kid we would have dolled up ramen all the time. i LOVE it when the egg curdles like stracciatella. that's the best. sadly, i can't eat ramen anymore. i had this landlord who tried to kill me once. and now my liver can't take ramen flavoring anymore. i have to figure out how to make that flavor.

  2. I don't know if you'd know this already, but if you whip some of the hot broth into the egg mixture before you dump it in, you can avoid eggs curdling as you add them.

    Better explanation here:

  3. Shania, I'm aware. What goes wrong when it does is that the hot noodles plop into the bowl and shock the broth into coagulating the egg. It's fine either way, but I get a little extra satisfaction out of having it come out perfect.

  4. I vividly remember a friend, years and years ago in college, serving his special doctored ramen.

    He would add unseasoned mounds of loose ground beef and, I kid you not, his "secret" ingredient was two packets of hot sauce from Taco Bell. He claimed that it was way better in the soup than "medium."

    Killer work on the blog. My brain is working on reconciling the shellac show on the boat in Mnpls with the food here... either way, inspiring. Thanks for all of it.


  5. Gregory, thanks for the kind words. The boat cruise was incredible and mildly psychedelic. I think that may be the best gig ever.

  6. Nice post. I'm a huge fan of the "dolled up" ramen. I often do this at work as we have a kitchen in the warehouse and a giant asian grocery up the street. You should try some quick real miso broths...a little store bought dashi (or a dried shitake dashi is fairly quick and easy to make) and a spoonful of shiro, red or your favorite miso, sesame oil, dollop of butter etc etc. Also, if you have an Asian mart nearby I highly recommend digging into some of the thai and vietnamese rice noodle worlds for "dolled" instant noodles. I'm gonna try your whipped siracha and egg thickener. I've dropped fried over-easy eggs into ramen before (effing delicious as well) but that sounds like a nice cheap way to achieve that thick collogen broth I've had at ramen joints here in Boston and in NYC.


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