I love noodles, I always have and I always will. But there was one time in my life when I renounced not only noodles but all Chinese food. I was four and for my day care lunch my mom had packed me my favourite: pan-fried Shanghai noodles. At lunch time I was super-excited to dig in, but just when I was lifting the fork to my mouth I heard a loud chorus of “ewws.” I turned to look what everyone was “eww-ing” about, but then I realized, it was me. “Stephanie’s eating worms!” came the chant and I soon lost my appetite. That afternoon, in the car on the way home I told my mom I never wanted to eat noodles or even Chinese food ever again. From then on it was going to be sandwiches or nothing.
Posts Tagged ‘noodles’
Don’t worry, this soup doesn’t have any alligator meat it in, just alligator noodles. When Mike was young, he was obsessed with eating Lipton’s Alligator Soup, an instant chicken noodle soup with alligator shaped noodles. They’ve discontinued the soup, but Mike craves it in that way you crave food from your childhood.
I love wontons! Seeing those little happy clouds of pork and shrimp goodness floating way in savoury broth always puts a smile on my face. It wasn’t always so, though. During my picky, non-eating childhood, I didn’t like meat and the things I did eat I did in strange ways. With wonton, I would use my spoon to methodically cut off all the wonton skins. Then I would eat them and leave the meat behind, making my mom unbelievably mad.
My new approach to making ramen broth is to make the stock in stages. When I first thought of the idea, I wasn’t sure if the end result of broken-down cooking time would differ from continuous cooking, but now I know that broken-down cooking time yields the same deep, meaty, luxurious broth. In fact, this time around the broth was even better. I can’t give all the credit to the broken down cooking time though. The real reason why the broth was better is due to the ingredient switches I made.
I made the stock over two days which broke down the cooking time considerably on each day. The first day I steeped the 2 pieces of konbu for 10 minutes and boiled the shiitakes for half an hour. By the time that was done it was time to head over to the in-laws for some dinner so I just covered the pot of seaweed-mushroom flavoured water and turned off the burner.
When I got home, the pork neck bones went into a 400˚F oven to roast for an hour and the four pounds of chicken legs were added to the seaweed-mushroom water to simmer slowly while the pork bones were roasting. Since I had some problems with how little stock I ended up making the last time I tried this, when I put the chicken in I made note of where the water level rose to so I could replenish as needed
An hour later, the chicken legs were taken out and the roasted pork bones went it. The pound of sliced bacon went in as well. The bacon hung out in the stock for 45 minutes before I pulled it out and saved it to make a bacon waffle. Using sliced bacon was better than slab bacon for this reason alone: boiled sliced bacon looks only mildly unappetizing, but boiled slab bacon doesn’t look good at all. Plus, with sliced bacon you can make a bacon waffle!
By the time I finished making the bacon waffle, the stock with the pork bones had been on a happy simmer for about 3 hours, but still had 4 more to go. I was tired and in the spirit of experimentation I let the broth cool down and asked Mike to rearrange the fridge so the pot would fit in.
The next day, the pot was pulled out and broth was brought to a simmer for another 4 hours. The great thing about the stock at this point was that I didn’t really need to babysit it, you just need to occasionally skim off scum and replenish water. After the 7 hour simmering mark aromatics like carrots, onions and green onions are added. After the aromatics are strained out, the broth was finished by seasoning with taré.
Even after seasoning and two days of cooking, we didn’t even have ramen. Instead it went in the fridge for another day. It’s a great broth to make ahead of time and if you don’t have a lot of time each day I think you could break down the cooking time even more without the broth suffering. I know when I gave it a taste, it was comparable if not better than my original attempt. This ramen broth is definitely doable over several days. Soon I will build up my stock of frozen ramen broth!
Note: green onions are also known as scallions and spring onions.
I find that cooking green onions changes the flavour immensely. Heat and oil mellows out the onions causing them to become much more aromatic and fragrant, just like how regular raw onions have a distinctly different taste than cooked ones.
I played around with Chang’s Ginger Scallion recipe a bit before I figured out what I liked. It’s quite a different flavour than Chang’s. Here’s my recipe:
Green Onion Oil Recipe
1 big bunch of green onions finely sliced
3 tablespoons of ginger finely minced
1 tablespoon each of finely minced garlic and shallots
1/4 cup grapeseed or other neutral oil
splash of sesame seed oil
salt to taste
Heat up the grapeseed oil in a saucepan over high heat until the oil is shimmery and hot, but not smoking. Add the green onions, ginger, garlic and shallots at once, but be careful, the oil will bubble and splatter. The onions will sizzle and wilt almost immediately and turn a bright green. Take the pan off the heat and stir the sauce with a wooden spoon. Add a splash of sesame seed oil and salt to taste. Toss with your favourite noodles, hoisin and sriracha.
The green onion oil will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, but it’ll lose that vibrant green colour. My favourite use for it? Hainanese chicken rice. But that’s another post.