Posts Tagged ‘ramen broth’

Ko Kimchi Consommé

I know I say “I’ve never” a lot, but it’s true every time, and especially true this time: I’ve never made traditional consommé. Oh sure, I’ve tried the gelatin clarification method, but I’ve never done it egg-raft-style.

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Ramen Rice

I used to eat rice plain when I was a kid. Straight-up, white jasmine rice with no salt, no soy, nothing. I was one of those super-picky eaters and plain rice was my dinner most nights, which exasperated my mom to no end. When I was feeling adventererous, I’d pour whatever Chinese soup we were having over the rice and eat soupy rice.

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Same Momofuku ramen broth, different approach

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.

sliced bacon, not slab bacon

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.

roasted pork neck bones

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

making a note of the water level

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!

prepping 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.

bacon waffle!

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.

aromatics in ramen broth

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!

So, you want to make ramen broth again?

I still haven’t cooked my way through the first third of the cookbook and I’m already returning to my favourite recipes. When I found out that one of Mike’s friends was a ramen addict, I knew that I had to make her my Momofuku ramen. Any reason to make ramen is a good one and I actually have one: she’s heading out on a month-long trip all over Asia. A night of beers and noodle goodness will be the perfect send-off.

This time around I’m doing things a little differently and I think the result is going to be mind-blowing. A quick run down of the differences: pork neck bones vs. economy pork bones, chicken drumsticks vs. chicken legs and breast, sliced supermarket bacon vs. slab bacon, broken down cooking time vs. continuous cooking time.

pork neck bones

According to Chang, the best choice for meaty pork bones are hard-to-find neck bones. They were pretty hard to find too because the last time I went to T&T the only pork bones they had were “economy pork bones.” This time around there weren’t any economy pork bones. They didn’t have any bones out and were in the middle of cleaning their case.

I perused the empty case for a while, reading signs when I spied one for neck bones. Awesome! The butcher had to go to the back and open a new box for me (who knew that neck bones came in boxes?) When he pulled a 5lb piece out to show me I was a little taken aback. The neck bones were huge. “Uh, can you cut it up for me?” I asked. I was rewarded with a “No duh, little girl” look of contempt. Oh well!

pork neck bones

He was a pretty helpful butcher, picking out a nice piece of boneless belly, a sizable chunk of pork shoulder and 4 pounds of chicken drumsticks. The recipe calls for 4 pounds of chicken legs, but the chicken legs were pricey and the drumsticks were cheap so I figured I’d sacrifice some thighs.

chicken drumsticks

Another sacrifice I made was the slab bacon I used the first time I made ramen broth. The recipe doesn’t specify slab or sliced, just smoky bacon. As far as I can tell from the small photo, it looks like Noodle Bar uses slab bacon, but this time I went for sliced. It’s cheaper and it’s called “smoky bacon” so it’ll be an interesting substitution.

This time around there will be some experimenting with the cooking time. I could sit at home for 8 plus hours waiting for my ramen broth, but instead I’m going to boil it in batches over 2 days.

Will these changes yield the same broth as my last attempt? I hope I don’t end up with a watery, meaty mess!

starting ramen broth

Roasted Rice Cakes

roasted rice cakes

Rice cakes are gelatinous, chewy, and a bit of an acquired taste, but mostly an acquired texture. Rice cakes don’t have a lot of flavour on their own since they are made from rice. Usually Korean rice cakes are found in soups or in dok boki, a Classic Korean dish that tosses boiled rice cakes with a red spicy sauce.

I’ve had dok boki in Korean restaurants before, and even though I like the chewy rice cake texture, eating more than one or two of them isn’t really my thing. After a while they start to feel too heavy, too gelatinous. I think it’s the monotony of the texture of the dish; there are no real contrasts.

raw rice cake sticks

Roasted rice cakes are different because of the roasting. Roasting them in oil in a cast iron skillet crisps up the rice cake giving it a toasty, crunchy outside and a soft, chewy inside. It’s an addictive combination and much better than boiled. Mike and I tried some of the roasted cakes right out of the pan and they were delicious just like that.

roasting in a cast-iron skillet

bowl of crispy rice cake sticks

The cakes were delicious plain, but they were even better when you tossed them in that signature red sauce. Chang’s sauce is made up of Korean Red Dragon sauce, roasted onions, mirin, and ramen broth.

Sweet and spicy, crisp and chewy, this dish is answers all my complaints about the monotony of dok boki. If my version is this good, I’m definitely ordering this when I visit Noodle Bar again!

bowl of crispy rice cake sticks cut up

roasted rice cakes tossed in sauce with sesame seeds

Note: Rice cakes are called mochi in Japanese and they do an awesome grilled mochi of their own: isobe maki mochi. Mochi is grilled until puffy and golden brown, wrapped up in seaweed and drizzled with shoyu. It’s quick and tasty, if you don’t have time to make all the Momofuku sauces.