I am calling this dish ‘ramen’ because ‘bowl of broth with things in it’ isn’t a great title for a recipe. However, this is in no way authentic ramen, and I am sure that any Japanese people would be completely horrified that I am calling it that. I have never been to Japan so I have probably never even eaten authentic Japanese food.

It is delicious though, so it’s not all bad.

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I fed this to James and he gave it the thumbs up, so you can rest safe in the knowledge that is has been tested on, er, one other person. Still, it feels right for the season to me: it’s warm and fragrant, and feels quite wholesome and nourishing.

In other news, I am not such a fan of January. I know this is not scientifically true, but it does actually seem to be getting darker in the mornings rather than lighter. I was planning to do some food photography first thing today, and then realised I couldn’t because at 8am it’s still properly middle-of-the-night pitch black outside. Also, if it keeps raining like this then it’s definitely going to flood here.

Anyway, instead of moaning (okay, fine, as well as moaning), I am going to re-watch one of my favourite YouTube videos. It’s of J.K. Rowling being a goddess. The woman can do no wrong.

She’s amazing. Yes, technically watching that video was twenty minutes of procrastination, but now I feel much more positive about the world.

What were we talking about? Oh right, ramen. Or ‘ramen’.

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Notes:

Since this is not real ramen and there is no authenticity to be corrupted, there is no disadvantage to messing with the recipe below and using whatever you have in the fridge. Try another meat or cut it out entirely, switch it up with the vegetables, up the chilli if you like it spicy: anything goes. I’ve listed the ingredients I used as a basic guide.

If you wanted to start with raw meat, you could cook it in the broth to add flavour and make that stage of cooking longer.

This should make enough to serve two people generously.

Ingredients:

300g cooked meat – I used pork belly, but leftover chicken would be great, and duck would be lovely
Handful of dried mushrooms (say about 10 g)
Thumb sized chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and diced
1l vegetable stock (or dashi, if you can get hold of it, which I can’t)
1 tsp miso paste
1 tsp umami paste
2 pak choi
handful of radishes
1 fresh chilli
1 large or three small spring onions
2 eggs
2 nests of rice noodles (or insert your preferred noodle here)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil

Method:

  1. Put your dried mushrooms and chopped ginger in a large, deep frying pan (preferably one with a lid) and cover them with the stock. Stir in the miso paste and umami paste. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes with the lid on.
  2. While the broth is simmering, prep your pak choi by separating the leaves and the stems and slicing them. Thinly slice your radishes, chilli, and spring onions. Add the stems of your pak choi to the broth to cook. Bring a small pan of salted water to the boil, add your eggs, turn the heat down so the water is simmering gently, and cook them for 6.5 minutes – use a timer. When the time is up, immediately get the eggs out of the pan (saving the water) and run them under cold water until the shells no longer feel hot, then peel them and set aside.
  3. For the last 3 minutes of broth cooking time, add the sliced pak choi leaves to the stems that are in there already.
  4. Pop the noodles into the pan of boiling water and cook them according to pack instructions – usually only 2-3 minutes. When cooked, take them out, run them under cold water, and drain them well. By now, your broth should be nice and flavoursome. Take if off the heat, add the soy sauce and sesame oil, stir and taste. Adjust seasoning as needed. When you’re happy, put your drained noodles into the broth to warm through.
  5. When ready to serve, put the noodles and broth into wide, shallow bowls and top with the vegetables. Halve your eggs and add one to each bowl, and then finish with the meat and any additional garnish.