When I’m out for dinner I like checking out what other people are eating. I tend to do it unobtrusively – although Mike begs to differ – but when something really catches my eye, I’ll ask the staff what the dish was. Mochi-iso was one of those dishes for me. I only saw it for a second, but seeing those pale-golden puffs drizzled with sauce sitting on top of seaweed strips made me want it instantly.
Posts Tagged ‘nori’
The last couple of days around here haven’t been pretty. I’ve come down with a cold, or a mild flu, I’m not too sure which. My taste buds are off and I’m so much more careless in the kitchen when I’m sick, which means I’m going to take a little break from following Chang’s detailed multi-day recipes. Instead, I’m going to post some simple home-style meals Mike and I enjoy.
I’ve never been one of those sick people who like to languish around, dying. Ok, no, I do do that. But I’m certainly not one of those people who don’t want to eat when I’m sick. No, I’m of the belief that if you’re sick, you need to eat to get better!
What do you do when you have excessive amounts of homemade kimchi in the fridge? Make mentaiko kimchi udon, of course!
Mentaiko kimchi udon is one of my favourite noodle dishes ever. I know I’ve said before that I don’t really love kimchi, so it’s kind of strange that one of my favourite noodle dishes contains it, but before I learned to love that strange, spicy, pickled flavour, I would just pick the kimchi out and eat the udon. Oh, and what an udon it is! I first had this dish at Zakkushi, a Japanese charcoal grill restaurant. One bite of those springy, chewy, wheat-flour noodles tossed with spicy roe and kimchi and I was hooked. I can eat plates and plates of this stuff. So with an abundance of happy fermented kimchi in the fridge, I decided to do just that: eat plates and plates of the stuff.
I love all kinds of noodles, but udon holds a special place in my heart. I’ve always enjoyed thicker noodles, mostly for the chewy bite they have. There’s a world of difference within the varieties of packaged udon you buy at the supermarket, so I say, find the kind you like and stick with it. For me, that brand is frozen Maruchan Kame Age Udon. I find frozen udon much more superior than the udon you buy refrigerated or vacuum packed. The noodles taste fresher, are more slick and chewy and have a slight rectangular quality. They taste great just in a plain broth, or even better as mentaiko kimchi udon.
Mentaiko is known as Japanese spicy cod roe, but really it’s pollock roe. It’s marinated in salt and red pepper and has a rich, creamy flavour and a reddish hue. Originally Mentaiko was Korean, which explains why it pairs so well with kimchi.
Mentaiko kimchi udon is so ridiculously easy to make that I wish I had mentaiko all the time. You can purchase it at most Japanese grocery stores or maybe even Korean ones. I found mine at Fujiya, a popular Japanese centric grocery store here in Vancouver.
Mentaiko Kimchi Udon Recipe
1 sac of mentaiko
2 tablespoons of kimchi
2 bricks of frozen udon
2 tablespoons of butter
sliced green onions and nori for garnish
1. Melt the butter over low heat. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
2. Remove the roe from the sac. Cut the sac open with a knife and use a spoon to scrape the eggs out.
3. Put a pot of water big enough for your two bricks of udon to boil on high heat.
4. Cook the udon according to the cooking directions on the package.
5. Mix the mentaiko and butter together.
6. Drain your udon and while it is hot, toss it with the mentaiko butter combination. Once the udon is coated, add the kimchi and toss well.
7. Sprinkle with sliced green onions and nori.
Mentaiko kimchi udon is spicy, creamy and delicious. You’ll dream about this udon. I know I do.
Ok, I’ll admit, making Momofuku Ramen didn’t take weeks, or days. It really only took one day. I started just before noon and we were sitting down to steaming bowls of noodles by midnight. We had some hunger-staving snacks in between. Don’t make these noodles if you’re hungry, in a hurry, or expecting to eat anytime soon. They are a time investment, but it’s a sure thing.
One thing I didn’t make were the actual ramen noodles. Next time I’ll add 2 hours to the schedule and give them a whirl. I was really impressed with the fresh ramen noodles that I bought at T&T. I was a little skeptical, but they were chewy with a great bite.
I was also concerned with the bamboo shoots. First of all, we bought the wrong kind. The recipe calls for sliced shoots, but we bought strips. Second, Mike and I don’t actually like bamboo shoots. I find their flavour off-putting, or at least I used to. Maybe it had something to do with the shoots being strips instead of slices or maybe its because of Chang’s recipe for cooking them, but the bamboo was an awesome addition to the ramen. It added textural contrast with a subtle crunch.
Once you have all your components in place, putting together the ramen bowl is super easy. Noodles, broth, pork belly, pork shoulder, nori, green onions, fish cake, bamboo shoots, poached egg, done! The verdict? Maybe it was the anticipation, but these noodles were good. Really, really good. The broth was deep and flavourful, the meats tasty and the egg rich and creamy. My stomach did the happy dance.