It’s B’s birthday, and as he puts it “I’m turning 25 guys!” (FYI: he’s not, haha)
B introduced me to ramen – I had actually never had ramen before meeting him, despite (or maybe because of) seeing my high school friends eat the instant ramen salty concoction.
We first had it in Chicago at High Five Ramen, a tiny shop in the bottom of another restaurant. We had to wait in line in order to get one of the coveted 16 stools. There’s a “no spice”, “half spice”, and “full spice” version of the ramen. This is B’s favorite ramen place of all time – he eats the insanely spicy “full spice” ramen, but my “wimpy, bland taste buds” as B calls it opted for the no spice.
My next ramen taste was at Mecha Noodle Bar – when we first moved to New Haven, it was an empty shop, but the windows were covered with hundreds of instant ramen packs. I recall thinking that was incredibly odd, but it all made sense when a few months later a cute ramen shop opened up. It’s pretty good and one of my favorite post-rotation team dinner or dinner date with friends locations. B loves the pork tonkatsu, while I like the lighter chicken shoyu paitan ramen.
In NYC we ate at the famous Momofuku Noodle Bar where we tried the pork ramen. It’s solid, but we do prefer to avoid the NYC prices and crowds. It was here while paying $20 for a bowl that I decided my next culinary endeavor would be ramen.
Ramen is a meat based broth flavored with miso – I chose white miso as it’s the lightest, but yellow and red miso are also options. You just insert all your favorite meats and vegetables, and it’s vey adjustable to whatever is leftover in your fridge. B loves BBQ pork, so we tossed that in. The trickiest part was actually getting the eggs to look just right. The trick is to cook for 6 minutes then leave in very cold water before peeling the eggshell.
How does my ramen compare to the above? “According to B, “Less salty, less spicy, but more brothy and heartier.” I’d accept that as a compliment from B (he’s a yelp elite reviewer after all). Happy “25th” Birthday to my favorite food critic and forever date. Enjoy the ramen!
Pork BBQ Ramen
4 cups chicken stock + 4 cups water
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, chopped
4 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons mirin
3-4 tablespoons white miso paste
2/3 cup mushrooms
slices pork loins
char-siu BBQ marinade sauce (can be bought at Asian markets)
1 pack tofu, 1 inch cubes
baby bok choy
2 (3 oz) packs dried ramen noodles
4 boiled eggs
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
In a crockpot, combine your chicken stock, water, onion, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, mirin, and miso paste. Cook on high for about 2 hours. Add slices mushrooms and set on low for another hour.
Chop the tofu and bok choy and toss into the crockpot with your finished broth. Let it simmer on low for another hour.
Marinate the Pork with BBQ sauce. Preheat the oven on broil (I used a toaster oven) and line tray with foil and top with sesame seeds. Place the pork on the foil and broil until cooked and crispy, about 20 min each side (depending on your thickness)
Boil your ramen according to package directions. Strain and set aside. Place the noodles in a bowl, then add broth. Add the egg and pork BBQ. Top with green onions and seaweed. Serve immediately and enjoy!