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eG Cook-Off #72: Ramen


David Ross
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@David Ross

 

I am impressed. Those shrimp are making my mouth water. 

 

I feel guilty that ramen keeps falling off my menu especially since I have some ready made (by me) ramen broth base in my freezer. The stars just don't seem to be aligning. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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So, you have a bunch of us drooling over our keyboards with your post above. Out of interest, which of the two prawn batters did you prefer? Which whispers to your tastebuds the best?

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Cape Town - At the foot of a flat topped mountain with a tablecloth covering it.

Some time ago we had Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and Steve Jobs. Now we have no Cash, no Hope and no Jobs. Please don't let Kevin Bacon die.

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Thanks.  They were both good but I prefer the mix of seaweed flavored rice snacks and dried wasabi peas.  Crunchy, not too sweet and a hint of heat.  The rice seasoning mix was sweeter and I think the heat of the frying oil might have burned the tiny flakes of egg and bonito in the mix. 

 

Until I did the dish I had always wondered how you can prevent a prawn from curling up during frying.  The video from "Dining with The Chef" answered that problem.  Just a few slits on the underside of the prawn and then pressing down to craft a flat prawn.  And it allows more surface on the prawn for the coating to stick to.

 

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I started reading this topic this morning and well before lunch time I was craving a bowl. I had some leftover grilled pork, a hard cooked egg, green onion and some button mushrooms in the fridge and the dried noodle packet with the soup base in the pantry. All set!

 

image.jpeg

 

This is the first time I have added egg to the dish. I liked it!

 

image.jpeg

 

 

 

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Another pack of the "Preserved Green Vegetables & Duck Soup Flavor" non-fried ramen from here. This time augmented w/ pork balls [Venus], lots of additional preserved green vegetable** (I used pickled mustard a.k.a. "harm choy"/"syun choy") & chopped scallions. Tasty.

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** The veggie that comes with the ramen pack is "ice vegetable" (雪菜), a form of pickled/preserved mustard.

 

I used half of a pack of "harm choy" just like the one below:

DSCN9287a_500.jpg

Opened, drained, halved, (the other half saved for another time - ziplock bag), rinsed under the tap for a couple of minutes while squeezing the stuff; then cut into slices and cooked w/ the seasonings from the ramen pack (more water added than last time) & pork balls before adding the rest.

(p.s. "潮洲酸菜" as shown on the package = Teochew sour vegetable; but it is of course also in brine, as this type of vegetable always is in - so it might be more accurately called "harm syun choy" (salty sour vegetable), 鹹酸菜)

Edited by huiray (log)
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Spring Ramen

Fiddle-Head Ferns, Blk Morels, Asparagus, Flank steak, pickled ramps, Garden pepper ( Hot ) all in a Poultry * Turkey * broth I'm using Sun Noodles here

 

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Its good to have Morels

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Yakisoba chez huiray today.

DSCN9437a_600.jpg

Hot oil, part of the chopped scallions prepared, thinly-sliced poached washed & sliced winter bamboo shoot (see below, part of one used), half of a packet of yakisoba seasoning, soy bean sprouts ("big bean sprouts", 大豆芽菜) (a.k.a. yellow bean sprouts, 黃豆芽菜), stir/toss, remove & reserve. More oil in pan, water, nama yakisoba [Maruchan] (two packs), sliced braised beef tongue (see below), toss & stir on medium heat; the rest of the two-packs-worth of seasoning, stir some more; the reserved vegetables added back in plus chopped romaine lettuce, stir & fold in. Plate & serve.

 

On the way there.

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Chopped scallions, sliced poached bamboo shoot, sliced romaine lettuce, sliced braised beef tongue, trimmed soy bean sprouts.

 

The nama yakisoba [Maruchan] w/ the seasoning packets.

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A pack of the poached bamboo like the one used; the seasoned/spiced braised beef tongue already sliced. [both from East Asia Market].

DSCN9439a-42a_comb_600.jpg

 

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A ramen bowl.

The base was a pack of "Ibumie Penang Lad Mee Perisa Lada Pedas" (see here also).

DSCN9444a_600.jpg

Additions & garnishes:

Several dollops of stiff gelatin-dense chicken stock (heavily reduced from this batch), young green curly kale [Nading Farm], Jamón Serrano & Finocchiona [both from Goose the Market], couple of poached eggs [local; East Asia Market], local asparagus [Silverthorn Farm], baby Red Russian kale [Full Hand Farm].

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  • 2 weeks later...

Let's bump this up again.

 

Another ramen bowl using "Ibumie Penang Lad Mee Perisa Lada Pedas" as the ramen base.

DSCN9595a_600.jpg

Water, sliced Andouille sausage [Smoking Goose], sliced shallots, rice bran oil, simmer; the stuff from the ramen pack (including "washing out and into the soup" of the kecap manis & fish sauce packets), simmer; halved tau pok, bunching broccoli, simmer briefly; inner romaine, red-green, green leaf lettuces; sliced scallions. Bowled. Dressed w/ more sliced scallions & ground black pepper (lots) and a halved hard-boiled egg.

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My dinner too was Andouille sausage.  So good.  But I shan't profane your topic.

 

 

Edit:  actually, since I've stuck my toe in here, how can I best experience ramen?  I've not had any but the instant kind.  How can I get started?

Edited by JoNorvelleWalker (log)
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Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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6 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

My dinner too was Andouille sausage.  So good.  But I shan't profane your topic.

 

 

Edit:  actually, since I've stuck my toe in here, how can I best experience ramen?  I've not had any but the instant kind.  How can I get started?

 

Well the gateway to real ramen is to gussy up instant ramen.  Try adding vegetables, sliced meat or fish, a soy sauce egg to a bowl of instant noodles. After that see what Serious Eats has to offer on the subject. Be aware though that ramen as a meal and as a subject is addictive. 

Edited by Anna N (log)
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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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18 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Is there a recommended brand of instant ramen to start with?

When I launched this cook-off I wondered about the same question.  Rather than go to a supermarket, I've bought a number of instant ramen at the Asian stores in town.  They are brands we'd never see in a Safeway or Albertson's supermarket up here.  I've tried brands from Japan and Korea and had really great results with the dried instant noodles.  In fact, I'd say there are better than the fresh noodles labeled as "ramen."

 

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18 minutes ago, David Ross said:

When I launched this cook-off I wondered about the same question.  Rather than go to a supermarket, I've bought a number of instant ramen at the Asian stores in town.  They are brands we'd never see in a Safeway or Albertson's supermarket up here.  I've tried brands from Japan and Korea and had really great results with the dried instant noodles.  In fact, I'd say there are better than the fresh noodles labeled as "ramen."

 

I think @huiray is the expert on many things ramen but especially the better instant brands. Perhaps he will chime in. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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4 hours ago, David Ross said:

When I launched this cook-off I wondered about the same question.  Rather than go to a supermarket, I've bought a number of instant ramen at the Asian stores in town.  They are brands we'd never see in a Safeway or Albertson's supermarket up here.  I've tried brands from Japan and Korea and had really great results with the dried instant noodles.  In fact, I'd say there are better than the fresh noodles labeled as "ramen."

 

 

A couple of months ago my son and family kindly took me to the local (to them) Asia Mart.  Some of us headed off to the candy isle but I enjoyed a chance to peruse the instant ramen.  There was a bewildering assortment of ramen packets though they all (or at least all of which I could read the ingredients) had lots of stuff besides flour, water, salt.

 

Any brand to recommend that is, say, available on amazon?

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Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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If you're looking for ideas about what brands of instant noodles to try, these are some good resources:

 

Lucky Peach's Instant Ramen Power Rankings

Serious Eats's Top 10 Instant Noodles From Around the World

The Ramen Rater

 

Of the widely-available-in-supermarket-brands, both I and most of my ramen-loving friends prefer Shin Black. But if you're just buying noodles to use in your own broth, any brand will do (though it's worth trying to track down fresh Sun Noodles for that purpose). Sun Noodles also sell fresh noodles with various flavor packets/pouches included, and those are very good.

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11 hours ago, btbyrd said:

If you're looking for ideas about what brands of instant noodles to try, these are some good resources:

 

Lucky Peach's Instant Ramen Power Rankings

Serious Eats's Top 10 Instant Noodles From Around the World

The Ramen Rater

 

Of the widely-available-in-supermarket-brands, both I and most of my ramen-loving friends prefer Shin Black. But if you're just buying noodles to use in your own broth, any brand will do (though it's worth trying to track down fresh Sun Noodles for that purpose). Sun Noodles also sell fresh noodles with various flavor packets/pouches included, and those are very good.

 

Thanks!  I ordered some Shin Black to arrive this afternoon.  Love amazon same day delivery.

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Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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JoNorvelleWalker, Shin Black is fine. Just remember that it is just one of the options.

 

It is very hard to recommend a single one to someone as "The One". So much depends on one's personal taste, what one is looking for, the mood one is in, what one is going to do with it, whether one is using just the noodle block (as btbyrd mentioned) or prepared with all ingredients or augmented and with what, whether one is in the mood for a "clean-tasting" one or a "complex-multiple-(muddled)-flavor one. You will just have to try various brands for yourself, from various countries, and so on. There *are* several brands that are superior in one way or another, but it also depends on whether one wants a "Japanese-taste" or whether it does not matter. The "chewiness" of the ramen is also sometimes intensely personal and there is no single ultimate and absolute standard for it. FWIW I have a multi-pack of Shin Black still in my larder (the spicy pot-au-feu one, which I suspect you ordered from Amazon, as that is the one that pops up when one searches simply for "Shin Black" there). I haven't used it after the initial pack or two - because I can't say I particularly cared for it, although it was fine and all that --- I just tended towards other brands and flavors and whatnot. 

 

I've exemplified in the many posts here what brands I tend to use - look at them again if you wish. None of them I would call "The One". I included an example of the Sun fresh ramen pack w/ tonkotsu flavoring, as well as a (good) Japanese brand Myojo Chukazanmai.  Then again, do you care if the noodle is "fried" or "non-fried"? That again leads to different choices.

 

Sorry if this is not the answer to your request for one or two "bestest ones" to try. There isn't such a thing.

 

ETA: I just took a quick look at what I have on hand in terms of "instant ramen". There is something like close to a dozen brands, with multiple tastes/flavors in most brands. Maybe 2+ dozen individual ones on hand, with multiple packages of each one (unless I am on the last one).

 

ETA2: In a way it is like asking for the one, single, best recipe for "Fried Rice" or "Pad Woon Sen" or others like them.

 

ETA3: As an example of personal taste - I've sometimes found the pronouncements of folks like The Ramen Rater to be ...ODD...and wondered if he was tasting the same package as I was. And so on. He has also been faulted on some occasions by folks who posted that he was doing it wrong; he does usually then post a follow-up, yes. Keep in mind too that he expresses a somewhat "Western" (or at least his own) taste profile - but that may be what you want.

Edited by huiray (log)
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A brand put out by Shirakiku, Japan – Goku-Uma, miso flavor. (There are others)

DSCN9629a_400.jpgDSCN9631a_400.jpg

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Not bad. But also not remarkable. I liked the noodles (this would fall into the characterization of "song hou" in Cantonese) reasonably well. The miso flavor was a bit muddy, although it was distinguishable as "miso" and was pleasant enough. No augmentation with other stuff was done here.

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Jeff lied.  Or more correctly his lousy shipper did.  It's after midnight and my amazon same day order has not arrived.

 

I sure could use some ramen at the moment.  Peanuts are not cutting it.

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Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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And just for my sanity I went downstairs at 1:30 am and looked about...amazon is now saying my same-day ramen should arrive by the end of the week.  Lasership, the so called Final Mile shipper:  "One Day, Same Day, Everyday", is saying my package is arriving yesterday.

 

Dinner, for what it's worth, was lettuce and cold cuts.

 

"Every delivery brings opportunities to build customer loyalty."

 

 

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Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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14 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Jeff lied.  Or more correctly his lousy shipper did.  It's after midnight and my amazon same day order has not arrived.

 

 

Who's Jeff?

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8 hours ago, huiray said:

 

Who's Jeff?

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Bezos

 

No ramen tonight either.

 

Amazon awarded me $10 credit for my pain and suffering.  All the shipper, Lasership, knows is that my package is delayed.  And they don't return email.  They think it may come tomorrow but they don't know where it is.  Last I looked their tracking system says my ramen is coming yesterday.

 

Reheating beans at the moment for my evening meal.  Nothing wrong with Rancho Gordo beans, even if they are not exactly ramen.

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Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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Another example of "Dry Ramen".

 

"Ibumie Penang Har Mee, Mi Perisa Udang".

One cooks the ramen block in boiling water, place the condiments on a plate/bowl/whatever, then retrieve/drain the noodles and mix it with the condiments. No "soup".  I did splash some of the cooking water on the ramen and tossing (after mixing in with the condiments) to maintain "easy-tossability" with chopsticks.

 

The stuff; the condiments in a bowl-plate-dish.

DSCN9667b-70b_1k_800.jpg

 

The noodles mixed w/ the condiments; accompanied by marbled scrambled eggs & sliced scallions.

DSCN9673a_800.jpg

 

Decent. Nothing too complex, but entirely edible IMO. :-) Yes, I'll readily eat this again. Some folks might object to the distinct sweet note in the overall dish for this one.

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