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


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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.

Shizuo Tsuji (Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art) instructs: remove heads and entrails of dried sardines, or it will make the stock bitter (making niboshi dashi).

Monterey Bay area

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Finishing up the ramen story....

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 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?

Pressure cooking does not boil the broth. The surface is still at 250 F and 16 psi.

2 hours at 16 psi and 250 F would cook as thoroughly as 5 hours simmering, but there would be no surface distrbance and the broth will remain clear.

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Pressure cooking does not boil the broth. The surface is still at 250 F and 16 psi.

Pressure cookers boil the liquid/broth until it reaches pressure; then, after it reaches pressure, the surface is still.

Monterey Bay area

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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.

Fair enough. Personally, i think PC stock is as good as normally simmered stock. I've never done a side by side, but i have no issues with it.

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I wouldnt PC chicken, just thje scraps for stock. you dump those and keep the stock.

I also doubt the surface at temp in the PC is still. it might be 'fairly still' as the vent needs water vapor from somewhere

but that's not this topic.

:rolleyes:

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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.

Shizuo Tsuji (Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art) instructs: remove heads and entrails of dried sardines, or it will make the stock bitter (making niboshi dashi).

I think that's where I read about cleaning them, but I'm just wondering because Orkin doesn't mention this step, and he seems to have gone to great lengths to make these recipes exactly like they are at his shops. Anybody make the dashi and note a bitterness?

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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.

Hi Robert,

In the book he has also has a recipe for Chile Sofrito. In this recipe he does NOT drain the oil and it seems correct because he said it should make about 1 quart of Sofrito and the oil part is just 2 cups. It saids "the oil will take on a deep red hue, and vegetables should be soft" Which Sofrito is correct? The one is his book or the food and wine version?

Edited by torolover (log)
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Ivan in his book saids to keep the temperature at 176F for the first hour, and then he raises the heat to a slow boil for skimming.

Then he said lower the heat to a medium simmer. What is a medium simmer? Is it back to 176F for 5 hours?

He even saids in his book that temperature is very important and that people have different takes on simmering, barely simmering and boiling, so its best to use his exact temperature. So why didn't he give an exact temperature and just say medium simmer for 5 hours?

Molinari, if he did want 176F for the final 5 hours, then pressure cooking would ruin the first hour of 176F you did.

This is why I'm thinking simply sous vide the broth at 176F is the way to go. I'm thinking sous vide the sofrito is also the easiest and best way to go as well.

Any thoughts on what temp the final 5 hours are and if sous viding the broth would make good stock?

Edited by torolover (log)
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I think J is right. When I made the dish with the drained sofrito I found I was adding a little more pork and duck (I know the recipe calls for shmaltz but I had duck fat on hand and I quite like it with that) fat to keep it the right consistency.

The recipe in the book version I have says it makes 2 1/2 cups but calls for a litre (4 cups) of oil, a clear contradiction.

The next time I make the sofrito I am going to use just enough oil to 'encapsulate' the ingredients so that when it is stored in a jar there is no extra oil floating on top.

I think it really comes down to personal preference and judgement. As Ivan says, make it your own.

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Ivan in his book saids to keep the temperature at 176F for the first hour, and then he raises the heat to a slow boil for skimming.

Then he said lower the heat to a medium simmer. What is a medium simmer? Is it back to 176F for 5 hours?

He even saids in his book that temperature is very important and that people have different takes on simmering, barely simmering and boiling, so its best to use his exact temperature. So why didn't he give an exact temperature and just say medium simmer for 5 hours?

Molinari, if he did want 176F for the final 5 hours, then pressure cooking would ruin the first hour of 176F you did.

This is why I'm thinking simply sous vide the broth at 176F is the way to go. I'm thinking sous vide the sofrito is also the easiest and best way to go as well.

Any thoughts on what temp the final 5 hours are and sous vide broth?

I'm sure the sous vide chicken broth would work, but you're not going to get the temperature high enough for the sofritto.

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OK confused about the directions for the Dashi.

It saids to soak overnight the dried sardines, dried squid tentacles and seaweed. How much water am I supposed to use?

Then it saids to drain the soaked seaweed, sardines and squid tentacles and place in a large pot and cover with water. Do I discard the leftover water from the overnight soak?

When is saids to place the soaked seaweed, sardines and squid tentacles in a pot, again, how much water am I supposed to use? When it reaches 140F how long am I supposed to cook it?

Edited by torolover (log)
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Having the same "scratching my head" moment like Robert and others with the Sofrito.

I ended up with so much oil. But when you look at the Sofrito picture in his book, it's quite dry and seems to have reduced.

So what I did was just remove some oil until mine looked somewhat like the picture.

So which is which?

Thanks!

Edited by Obese-Wan Kenobi (log)
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toro,

It saids to soak overnight the dried sardines, dried squid tentacles and seaweed. How much water am I supposed to use?

Just enough to keep them submerged.

Then it saids to drain the soaked seaweed, sardines and squid tentacles and place in a large pot and cover with water. Do I discard the leftover water from the overnight soak?

Yes. It seems like a waste so I saved mine and still finding a use for it. I think the idea here is to just to soak the dried ingredients and not use their flavor. You use the flavor when you simmer in the next step the day after.

Regards.

Edited by Obese-Wan Kenobi (log)
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toro,

It saids to soak overnight the dried sardines, dried squid tentacles and seaweed. How much water am I supposed to use?

Just enough to keep them submerged.

Then it saids to drain the soaked seaweed, sardines and squid tentacles and place in a large pot and cover with water. Do I discard the leftover water from the overnight soak?

Yes. It seems like a waste so I saved mine and still finding a use for it. I think the idea here is to just to soak the dried ingredients and not use their flavor. You use the flavor when you simmer in the next step the day after.

Regards.

I don't think the idea is just to soak the ingredients and not use the leftover water. If you read his Ago Dashi, he combines the ago, konbu and other ingredients and lets it soak overnight. Then he saids to scoop off any slime released by the Konbu and then heat the liquid and soaked ingredients to 140F.

Does he make Ago Dashi differently then his regular Dashi for the ramen? See how confusing his directions are? There must by a typo because both Dashis directions are different!

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hmm, at the rate of errors or confusion for the basic ingredients, I'm wondering how well they checked the rest of the recipes? Some errors happen, but at least the basics should be edited and checked/tested before printing. Frustrates me no end to stumble across something like this in the middle of cooking something more involved.

I've never had ramen, so I don't even have a reference to work from, might just have to give this book a pass. Or buy it for the interesting and fascinating story.

Gonna stick around in this thread some more, hope there's not too much more of this confusing error (or not?) stuff. Good luck!

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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toro,

It saids to soak overnight the dried sardines, dried squid tentacles and seaweed. How much water am I supposed to use?

Just enough to keep them submerged.

Then it saids to drain the soaked seaweed, sardines and squid tentacles and place in a large pot and cover with water. Do I discard the leftover water from the overnight soak?

Yes. It seems like a waste so I saved mine and still finding a use for it. I think the idea here is to just to soak the dried ingredients and not use their flavor. You use the flavor when you simmer in the next step the day after.

Regards.

I don't think the idea is just to soak the ingredients and not use the leftover water. If you read his Ago Dashi, he combines the ago, konbu and other ingredients and lets it soak overnight. Then he saids to scoop off any slime released by the Konbu and then heat the liquid and soaked ingredients to 140F.

Does he make Ago Dashi differently then his regular Dashi for the ramen? See how confusing his directions are? There must by a typo because both Dashis directions are different!

I'm not at Ago Dashi yet :) But I had a quick peek and to answer your question, yes, it would seem like a totally different recipe from the Ramen Dashi. The ingredients are different and the technique is different too.

Regards.

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After 6 days of casual preparation and cooking step-by-step, I finally made the Ramen Broth! :) Yipee!

2014-01-06_17-08-34_HDR.jpg

All in the bowl:

1.) Chicken Fat

2.) Pork Fat

3.) Shio Tare

4.) Katsuobushi Salt

2014-01-06_17-08-58_HDR.jpg

5.) Double Soup

2014-01-06_17-11-25_HDR.jpg

And viola! All together. No mixing yet. See the fat melt?

Well, it was delicious! Well worth the effort. This has always been my Achilles Heel, the broth. Could never make a good one. Now I can!

A few notes on some recipe discrepancies and what I did about it:

  • On the Sofrito: there was way too much oil in the 1ltr. he recommended . I drained about two cups of excess oil. I think 500ml. of oil is fine.
  • On the Dashi: I did not use the soaking water at all. He does not mention to use it, so I did not.
  • On the Fushis: I was only able to find Iriko Niboshi. So the others, I made up with Katsuobushi. So there was 151 grams of 4 different Fushis and 17 grams of Katsuobushi. So what I did was make 168 grams of Katsuobushi and used that instead.
  • This is an expensive soup! I went through 2 tanks of propane! :)

The noodles I have already perfected before, so I can do that anytime. The Chasu and the Egg is not so important to me so I'll get to it sometime. So tomorrow I'll make noodles and be eating Ramen for awhile.

Thanks and Regards.

Edited by Obese-Wan Kenobi (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

I did it! Six hours on a Sunday and I was able to do the whole recipe. I didn't bother making stock his way, because ever since moving to the pressure cooker for stock I don't think I can go back. I used katsuobushi for all the fish, since it's all I could find. I did the soffrito at 300 and it still took 5 hours, so I'd definitely turn the temp upon that. I also just added oil until it felt right instead of using a whole liter and I still wound up draining a ton off. I wasn't going to make the egg soak until I realized I could just use the pork cooking liquid, and the flavor really makes the eggs special. I also changed up the menma a bit, subbing a cup of dashi and a splash of the pork liquid for the broth he has you make to cook the shoots.The double soup is incredible, and the katsuobushi salt and schmaltz really punch up the bowl. Completely worth the effort, and definitely the best bowl of ramen I've ever had!

I almost didn't stop to take a picture, because he's do insistent on eating the soup volcanically hot, but I'll be damned if I don't get some evidence of all that work! image.jpg

Edited by thayes1c (log)
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  • 1 month later...

Update:

 

OK.  Just got back from Tokyo over the weekend and I made the trek to Rokakoen and ate at Ivan Ramen. 

 

I wanted to try the real thing to see how my home version is doing.  It's pretty much spot on.  I'd say about 90% spot on.

 

Of course this will happen because my salt, chicken, fushis are different from his like he says in the book. 

 

But, yeah, just follow the recipe and you will get fine, kodawari ramen at home.

 

Thanks Ivan! :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Update:

 

OK.  Just got back from Tokyo over the weekend and I made the trek to Rokakoen and ate at Ivan Ramen. 

 

I wanted to try the real thing to see how my home version is doing.  It's pretty much spot on.  I'd say about 90% spot on.

 

Of course this will happen because my salt, chicken, fushis are different from his like he says in the book. 

 

But, yeah, just follow the recipe and you will get fine, kodawari ramen at home.

 

Thanks Ivan! :)

Obese, great to hear the recipe taste close to the shop!  Did you try pressure cooking the chicken stock?  I wonder how different it would taste compared to boiling for 6 hours.  It would save on your gas bill as well!

 

Thanks!

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  • 1 month later...

Hi everyone

 

I just came back from a business trip to Japan. I went to a market and I sourced all of the dried fish for the recipe. Working on it this weekend. Wish me luck, and please note I may ask you for some guidance as I muddle my way through...

 

Bn9VudeCAAE7DUh.jpg

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Here are a couple of in-process shots:

1) Sofrito - I used half the oil as per others' recommendations. Seemed to turn out nicely - we will see

2) First step of dashi - I was able to source the dried sardine and the squid tentacle. My wife and I thought that this was the smell of Japan- smoky, fishy dashi. So good. Excited to see how this turns out.

Geso and Konbu.jpg

Sofrito.jpg

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  • 2 months later...

This past weekend I took the time and worked my way through the main recipe for shio ramen in the book. The first time it does take a while to complete, but you can do it with reasonable kitchen skills. The final bowl of ramen is really good, not as good as the top places I have tried in Tokyo, but much better than the best places in Silicon Valley in CA.

 

The only major compromise I had to make was to use almost all katsuboshi for the nihboshi in the dashi, and that is the main reason the ramen is not as flavorful as professional ramen in Tokyo.

 

The only change to the recipe was the soffrito, I used about a third of a liter of oil, if not less, just enough to cover the onion and apple to start the cooking. I also cooked a little more on the stove, you could see the bubbling of the water from the onion and slight softening of the onion and apple, then cooked at 300C in convection oven. The final product looks like the picture in the book, and if anything I have way to much flavored oil.

 

Most every part of the recipe is easy to follow, and comes out great. I liked all the toppings a lot, the menma, the egg and the chashu. I did not make the chicken fat, just used the fat from making the chicken stock. The pork fat was easy to render following the recipe. The katsuboshi salt was easy to make.

 

The noodles were easy to make and came out great!! I liked the texture a lot and the slight taste from the rye, a real winner.

 

When I am in Tokyo will look for the nihboshi called for in the recipe.

 

Excellent bowl of ramen, recommend others to try this recipe.

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