Sunday, January 18, 2015

Borrowing Styles


I haven't always been a fan of Ramen, so I haven't really done a lot with it.  My husband and son both love it.  We have even gone to the Asian market to get authentic Ramen for them.

While I was on Pinterest the other day, I saw something called a Ramen egg.  It's a Japanese method of soft boiling an egg, peeling it, and marinating it for several hours to overnight.  What an interesting concept!  I was fascinated by it and definitely wanted to try it.  So I started looking at different Ramen recipes, and I found that a lot of them use crispy pork in them.  Crispy pork...that seemed oh so familiar to me.  One of my most favorite things to eat is Carnitas which is a pork roast that is boiled until it's tender and then it fries in the oven in its own fat making the edges so crispy and tasty.  My lightbulb moment was why can't I make Asian flavored crispy pork the same way I make Carnitas!  

This soup was by far the best thing I've made in a while.  I used a few things here that may be a little challenging to find. If you have an Asian market near you, you should be able to find white miso paste there.  Some upscale grocery stores like Whole Foods or Central Market may have it as well.  It is a refrigerated or frozen item. 

Something else I used is called Japanese 7 spice, or Nanami Togarashi.  If you can't find the 7 spice, it is a blend of chili pepper, orange peel, black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, black pepper, ginger, and seaweed, most of which are available in most grocery stores and you can play with to make your own spice.  I have seen some Asian blends of spices in the Asian section, so you could also use that.  I used chili paste as well, which is called sambal oelek.  You should be able to find that in the Asian section of the grocery store.

While this is a bit time consuming to make, the flavors of the pork, the soft egg yolk, the crunchy carrots and jalapeno along with the soup makes this dish something I will make again and again.  And there are quite a few ingredients in this dish (most of which are things I usually have on hand), but it's really not difficult to make.  Enjoy!

CRISPY PORK RAMEN
FOR THE RAMEN EGGS:
6 eggs
1/2 C soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 C mirin
1 C water
1 teaspoon ginger
2 T brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili paste

FOR THE PORK:
One 4-5 lb pork butt or shoulder
1 T fresh ginger (or 2 teaspoons powder)
1 T chili paste, or to taste
8 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 T bacon grease (or shortening)
Juice of 1 lime
1 T Japanese 7 spice (or your favorite Asian blend)
1 T white miso paste
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 T sesame oil
1/4 C brown sugar
3 T fish sauce
4 C chicken stock
1/2 C soy sauce
1/4 C rice wine vinegar

FOR THE SOUP:
6 packets ramen
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2 T vegetable oil
Reserved grease from the pork
1 zucchini, sliced
1 yellow squash, sliced
1 T miso paste
8 C water

FOR THE GARNISH:
2 large carrots, thinly sliced into matchsticks 
2 fresh jalapenos, sliced
Chopped fresh cilantro
Green onion slices

NOTE:  This recipe makes a lot, so you may want to scale it back a bit.  I have two HUGE ramen fans in my house, so I wanted to give them a lot.  Also, this soup has the tendency to be overly salty.  You may want to use low sodium chicken stock, low sodium soy sauce, and maybe 3 of the ramen seasoning packets instead of all 6.  You will need to taste the meat when it's cooked and taste your soup broth and adjust accordingly.  I am a salt addict, so I cooked it per the recipe.

For the ramen eggs, whisk together the marinade ingredients and set aside.  Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Using a needle or a safety pin, poke a hole in the bottom of each egg. This will make peeling them a lot easier.  Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat slightly and carefully lower the eggs into the water with a spoon and boil for exactly 6 minutes. Put the pot into the sink and run cold water in the pot until the eggs are cooled.  This stops the cooking process and gives you a nice soft yolk.  Peel the eggs and put them in the marinade.  Marinade at least four hours and up to overnight.

For the pork, cut the meat into 2-inch pieces.  Put all of the pork ingredients into a large dutch oven or ovenproof pot with a lid.  Make sure the liquid covers the meat.  If it doesn't, add a little water.  Bring the pot to a boil.  Continue boiling the meat uncovered, stirring occasionally, for around 2 hours or until most of the liquid has cooked out.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Cover the pot and put the pot in the oven. Cook for 30 minutes or until the pork is crispy and well browned.  Reserve the grease from the pot.  When the pork is cool enough to handle, shred the meat.  NOTE:  This process makes a mess in the pot, but a good soak in hot water should lift most of the mess off.  If the pot isn't too bad, you can use the same one to make the soup in. 

For the soup, put the 2 T vegetable oil and the reserved grease into another large pot (or the same pot if you can). Cook the mushrooms over medium high heat until they are tender.  Add in the zucchini, squash, water, and the ramen seasoning packets.  Bring the water to a boil.  Add in the ramen and cook for about 3-4 minutes or until it's tender. Remove from the heat and stir in the shredded pork.  Garnish the soup with carrot slices, jalapeno slices, cilantro, green onions, and ramen eggs sliced in half.

2 comments:

  1. For the chili paste, chili and garlic paste?

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    Replies
    1. It's actually called sambal oelek, which is on the Asian aisle in the store. It may be labeled chili sauce. I can find it at Walmart. Enjoy!

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