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jmolinari

Cooking from "Ivan Ramen: Love, Obsession, and Recipes from Tokyo's Most Unlikely Noodle Joint"

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So, who's going to be the first to make Ivan's shio ramen?

I'm working on sourcing the ingredients.

Any help with sourcing ago bushi, geso or saba bushi?

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So, who's going to be the first to make Ivan's shio ramen?

I'm working on sourcing the ingredients.

Any help with sourcing ago bushi, geso or saba bushi?

Definitely not me. Got the Kindle edition a couple of days ago and it made fascinating reading but....... And I don't quite know how to put this without risking my hide...... At some point my monkey-mind said, "Wait just a minute. This is a bowl of noodles we are talking about."

I will follow along with encouragement and enthusiasm with those willing to take the plunge but deep down inside I'll be begging the Emperor to get dressed.

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Definitely not me. Got the Kindle edition a couple of days ago and it made fascinating reading but....... And I don't quite know how to put this without risking my hide...... At some point my monkey-mind said, "Wait just a minute. This is a bowl of noodles we are talking about."

I will follow along with encouragement and enthusiasm with those willing to take the plunge but deep down inside I'll be begging the Emperor to get dressed.

Yep..but what a bowl of noodles it is. I ate at his popup in Atlanta. My brain is still melted.

To each their own..but can't every complicated dish be reduced to "it's just XXX" ?

The way i look at it is that many of the components can be made in bulk and frozen. Fats, chicken broth, soffritto, menma, katsuobushi salt.

The egg is quick and easy.

Noodles will realistically be purchased.

That leaves the dashi as the most complex non-storable part.

It may be my ramen fanatic, but to me this is the best cookbook all year. I've been waiting since it was announced.

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I don't mean to belittle anyone -- not you, not Ivan, not ramen. I "get" the French Laundry, Alinea, Eleven Madison Park. I just don't get this but I am willing to be educated. I was underwhelmed by my experience at Momofuku, Toronto despite a great desire to eat there. I love noodle dishes and perhaps if I had experienced your transcendent encounter I just might get it but at the moment I simply don't. To say otherwise would be wrong. I wish you well sourcing the ingredients and making the various sub-recipes and I will watch with interest every single step and wish you nothing but success in your endeavours.

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Took a glance at this in my local bookstore yesterday. It looks like a really impressive and interesting work. Definitely going on my Christmas wish list this year. Jason, I'll be fascinated to follow your progress!

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So, my first outing to a huge asian market for ingredients was met with challenges.

1) I wasn't able to find dried squid (other than the tasty squid jerky)

2) I wasn't able to find sardine bushi

Instead, i decided to simplify the dashi recipe by combining 2 pre-made, high quality dashi tea bags. These have no MSG, and the ingredients basically list dried fish, seaweed etc.

I got a dashi tea bag of konbu/kasuo dashi and one of iriko (sardine) dashi. I figured i'll combine these 2 and have a katsu, konbu, iriko dashi and it should be tasty.

I didn't have 5 hours at home this weekend to make the soffritto.

I have home rendered Guinea hog lard for the pork fat, and will sub the chicken fat for duck fat which i also have.

The pork will be guinea hog pork belly of which my freezer is full.

Chicken soup will be pressure cooked to speed up the process.

All in all, this ramen almost makes itself :)

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Please, please, please understand that I have nothing but admiration for your attempt to make this ramen. I do however feel led astray by Ivan who promises on the one hand to show EXACTLY how to make HIS ramen and then tells you that you don't have a hope in hell of sourcing some of the ingedients this side of Japan. I, too, have searched the Internet only to learn that some of the ingredients might be imported provided one was willing to pay for enough of them to open a chain of restaurants. Either one can make HIS ramen or one can make an approximation.......... I dunno. It seems a rather pointless exercise. By that I mean you can still make transcendental ramen noodles but they will still fall short in the detail. They won't be the same.

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Please, please, please understand that I have nothing but admiration for your attempt to make this ramen. I do however feel led astray by Ivan who promises on the one hand to show EXACTLY how to make HIS ramen and then tells you that you don't have a hope in hell of sourcing some of the ingedients this side of Japan. I, too, have searched the Internet only to learn that some of the ingredients might be imported provided one was willing to pay for enough of them to open a chain of restaurants. Either one can make HIS ramen or one can make an approximation.......... I dunno. It seems a rather pointless exercise. By that I mean you can still make transcendental ramen noodles but they will still fall short in the detail. They won't be the same.

But isn't this a problem with all "fine dining" recipes ? If I want to replicate recipes from French Laundry, EMP, Daniel etc. a lot will not only depend on my cooking skills but if I will be able to source the same ingredients, e.g. meat, produce otherwise it will be just an approximation. So I don't see why Ivan Ramen is different than any of these cookbooks.

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Please, please, please understand that I have nothing but admiration for your attempt to make this ramen. I do however feel led astray by Ivan who promises on the one hand to show EXACTLY how to make HIS ramen and then tells you that you don't have a hope in hell of sourcing some of the ingedients this side of Japan. I, too, have searched the Internet only to learn that some of the ingredients might be imported provided one was willing to pay for enough of them to open a chain of restaurants. Either one can make HIS ramen or one can make an approximation.......... I dunno. It seems a rather pointless exercise. By that I mean you can still make transcendental ramen noodles but they will still fall short in the detail. They won't be the same.

But isn't this a problem with all "fine dining" recipes ? If I want to replicate recipes from French Laundry, EiMP, Daniel etc. a lot will not only depend on my cooking skills but if I will be able to source the same ingredients, e.g. meat, produce otherwise it will be just an approximation. So I don't see why Ivan Ramen is different than any of these cookbooks.

I see it as a matter of degree. There is little in the French Laundry Cookbook that I cannot source on this continent in quantities that are reasonable for a household. If I want to approach the quality that Keller insinsts upon then it will be a much much bigger challenge but it still seems doable and Keller never suggests that it can't be done. Orkin does. Orkin says more or less I am going to show you EXACTLY how to make my ramen but of course you can't because in the end you won't be able to get the necessary ingredients. That's my issue. He's breaking faith with his fans if you like.

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I don't see an issue..he's pretty clear in the book that while he gives you his ramen, you should make the ramen your own using what you have available.

I'll keep reporting back!

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I made the toasted rye noodles a few nights ago (using baked baking soda in place of the kansui) and they were fantastic. The dough was brutal to work with but the results were well worth it.

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Good to know. I've made the noodles from Lucky Peach, and they were tasty. I'm sure adding rye would improve them. I used liquid kansui.

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So i started yesterday making components for the shio ramen. STarted with the sofrito.

Reading the recipe something didn't look right. It said the yield is 2.5 cups. Yet, you add a quart of oil, which we all know doesn't reduce:) Anyhow...i proceeded as directed.

Started the onions and apples at 225 in oven. After an hour realized it was going no where quickly, i raised temp to 250. Let it cook for 3 hours at 250...onions and apples still just barely bubbling away at the 3 hour mark, looking not all that different. Raised temp to 275 for 2 more hours. One onions and apples were brownish, added ginger and garlic. Let it keep going for 3 more hours at 275.

Everything soft and tasty.

It made about 8 cups worth of sofrito...which makes sense.

Not sure i'll ever need more, but if i were to make more i would 1/2 the recipe and start cooking at 275 instead of 225.

photo.JPG

That was the longest lead item, so that's out of the way.

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Last night i made a trial batch of ramen noodles.

They came out very well. One thing i did notice is that the book says to mix in the mixer until a ball forms. No way this dry dough was going to form a ball on it's own. It was just too dry. It says to add water if it looks to dry, but having read the noodle recipe on Marc's No Recipes that the dough stays gravelly i didn't,

Rolled it out with the KA pasta roller to a thickness 4 (book says to go to the thinnest, which would be absurd), then used the spaghetti cutter.

Perfect noodles:

photo.JPG

Cooked for 1 minute in boiling water, and strained very well.

Threw together random things i had on hand to eat them. Here I ate them with chili pan mee sauce from Lucky Peach and katsuobushi shavings.

photo.JPG

Delicious. Nice and chewy and good flavor. I do think i'll increase the rye content from 7% to maybe 10-12% as i'd like to taste it more. Maybe toasting it a little darker would help too. Hopefully that won't affect the integrity of the noodle.

Overall, i'm happy with them. I am starting to get the impression that the book didn't do a lot of testing of the recipes. 2 recipes this far, and both had some pretty major issues (yield in one and directions in the other regarding dough appearance)

PS: monday i was watching Bizarre Foods and they were at the ramen lab in NJ. The Ramen Lab guys demonstrated the "premiumness" of their noodles by squishing them and showing they would fall back apart into individual strands...thought i'd try it with mine. I have no idea if this means anything whatsoever, just thought it was fun:

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I thank you for doing this and for taking us along with you. You are obviously are much more patient and ambitious than I. It would be good if an errata were to be published to catch these things. It is not diificult now with the Internet. What pasta machine did you use? I am assuming the noodles were extruded?

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I used the kitchenaid roller attachment to sheet the dough, and the spaghetti cutter to cut them.

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Finishing up the ramen story....

Yesterday i cooked the pork belly, the eggs, the chicken stock, the dashi and the katsuobushi salt.

Bowl with lard, chicken fat, soffritto and katsuobushi salt before double broth:

photo%25201.JPG

Kids mini portions:

photo%25202.JPG

Adult portions:

photo%25203.JPG

Overall very pleased. It's incredibly good broth. Very rich and intense. There is a fair bit of fat in there from the lard, the chicken fat and the oil in the soffritto. The noodles are good, but i don't know that they can ever be as good as professionally made ones, but i'll keep trying.

For the chicken broth, i brought the chicken and 5 quarts of water to 178 deg. Kept it ther for 1 hour, then pressure cooked at high pressure for 1 hour. It was a good nice chicken broth. Next time i would reduce the water to 4 quarts or so for more intensity.

I would say this is definitely worth the effort. A lot of this (in fact all of it) is easily made or frozen except the dashi, which if made using teabags takes 10 minutes.

Now to make the tsukemen!

The dashi i used a konbu/katsuo teabag and an iriko teabag. It was good.


Edited by jmolinari (log)
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Finishing up the ramen story....

Yesterday i cooked the pork belly, the eggs, the chicken stock, the dashi and the katsuobushi salt.

Bowl with lard, chicken fat, soffritto and katsuobushi salt before double broth:

photo%25201.JPG

Kids mini portions:

photo%25202.JPG

Adult portions:

photo%25203.JPG

Overall very pleased. It's incredibly good broth. Very rich and intense. There is a fair bit of fat in there from the lard, the chicken fat and the oil in the soffritto. The noodles are good, but i don't know that they can ever be as good as professionally made ones, but i'll keep trying.

For the chicken broth, i brought the chicken and 5 quarts of water to 178 deg. Kept it ther for 1 hour, then pressure cooked at high pressure for 1 hour. It was a good nice chicken broth. Next time i would reduce the water to 4 quarts or so for more intensity.

I would say this is definitely worth the effort. A lot of this (in fact all of it) is easily made or frozen except the dashi, which if made using teabags takes 10 minutes.

Now to make the tsukemen!

The dashi i used a konbu/katsuo teabag and an iriko teabag. It was good.

I just bought the Ivan Ramen book and am going to try and make this Shio Ramen. I'm curious Molinari why you pressure cooked the broth when Ivan said it's very important not to let the broth boil (except when he asks you) and keep the temp at 176F and keep it at medium heat for 5 hours.

It seems to me I could sous vide the sofrito to make things easier, and perhaps sous vide the broth at 176F as well. What are your thoughts?

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I unfortunately don't live near any good Asian supermarkets. Where can I get hold of decent (I've heard the quality can vary a lot) kombu and bonito katsuobushi online?


Edited by ahpadt (log)

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I have made this recipe several times. Once you have the basics on hand the dish goes together in no time at all.

When I asked my sister in law, who is Japanese, where to get some of the more esoteric ingredients, she said "Japan". She did give some of her personal stash of ingredients her mother sends over to her but I have made awesome Ramen using stuff I sourced locally.

Orkin isn't kidding when he says to play around with the dish. It is very forgiving of almost any kind of tinkering.

One thing I did want to clear up is about the Sofrito. The oil should be drained and discarded/reserved for something else.

In this recipe here: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/chile-eggplant-mazemen-ramen-with-pork-belly

Orkin says to drain the oil in step 2.

MEANWHILE, MAKE THE SOFRITO In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Add the onion and eggplant and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very soft, about 1 hour. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have almost melted, about 1 hour. Stir in the chipotle powder and cook for 15 minutes longer; season with salt. Transfer the sofrito to a bowl and let cool to room temperature. Drain the sofrito in a sieve; discard the oil or reserve it for another use.

I initially used the oily version and it was a mess.

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Torolover, i pressure cooked the chicken because i didn't feel like watching it for 5 hours. i did the 1 hour at 176 as he described, then pressure cooked it.

Robert, i specifically asked Ivan on twittet about the oil and he said the oil is part of the soffritto...so it sounds like it's either or....i will agree that leaving the oil there makes the ramen rather oily...tasty, but oily.

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Torolover, i pressure cooked the chicken because i didn't feel like watching it for 5 hours. i did the 1 hour at 176 as he described, then pressure cooked it.

I own what research suggested would be the best pressure cooker, and I only use it for beets. Even for beets, it's a compromise, but there's a Moroccan beet salad I can have far more often this way.

I tried pressure cooking chicken, and it tasted institutional, ghastly. Life is too short, I threw it out.

I've made various components from Ivan's book, and improvised noodle dishes from what I'd completed. Not ready yet to give the full shebang a fair test.


Edited by Syzygies (log)

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Anybody know if the sardines should be cleaned (decapitated and eviscerated) when making the dashi? The recipe doesn't mention it, but I've read elsewhere that skipping that step can make the dashi bitter.

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