January 16, 2013

Homemade Ramen Noodles

One of the perks of working at a cooking school is being able to audit classes. Last night, I took a class with Chef Brendan Noonan to learn how to make a traditional bowl of ramen from scratch.


At first, I thought that making ramen from scratch was just too time-consuming to do at home. But now I realize that it's not really all that difficult, and many elements (like the tare, broth, and meats) can be made in advanced. I think this would be a fun thing to make on a weekend when friends are coming over for dinner.

My ramen started with raw shiitake mushrooms & green onions, sliced and placed into the bottom of a large, wide serving bowl. I added chopped Asian greens (like bok choy), chunks of orange-braised pork belly, a roasted duck wing, an egg (Usually poached, but I added it raw. Next time, I'll either poach or just add the yolk, as the white never cooked and remained kind of snotty in the bowl. Eww.), and a couple tablespoons of tare seasoning.

The tare is made by roasting 1 pound of "bones from any tasty critter" until caramelized. Remove the bones and deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup of sake, then add 1/2 cup of mirin (a sweet cooking rice seasoning), and 1 cup of soy sauce. Simmer on low for 1 1/2 hours, strain & chill.

Once the noodles were cooked (recipe for homemade ramen noodles is below), I added them to the bowl then ladled in some homemade broth.

To make the broth, bring 5 quarts of water to a simmer. Turn off the heat and add 2 ounces of kombu (edible kelp) that's been rinsed. Let steep for 1 hour, then remove the kombu. Add 5 pounds of meat & bones (we used chicken backs, but you can use anything) and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and skim the white, frothy "scum" that comes to the top of the pot. Add the shiitakes & green onions and simmer very slowly for 5 hours. Strain.

And then I slurped to my heart's content.

Alkaline Ramen Noodles

3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons sodium carbonate *
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup cold water

* To make sodium carbonate, spread baking soda on a sheet pan and cook in the oven at 250 degrees for 1 hour.
  • In a medium bowl, dissolve the sodium carbonate in the warm water, then add the cold water. Add the flour and mix with a spoon to a crumbly dough. 
  • Turn onto a work surface and knead for a full 5 minutes. This dough is tough & the kneading with be strenuous, but keep with it for the full time.
  • Wrap the dough in plastic and rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  • Knead the dough for another full 5 minutes. 
  • Wrap the dough again and refrigerate for at least an hour (but not more than 2 days). 
  • Let the dough come to room temperature before rolling. Cut into smaller pieces and use a pasta roller to roll out the dough, passing it through the widest setting twice & each narrower setting once. Keep the noodles well-floured so that they don't stick. 
  • Cut the dough to the desired thickness (we used the spaghetti cutter on the pasta roller). 
  • Cook for 2 minutes in salted, boiling water. Serve immediately.


Anonymous said...

Yum! Yum! Yum! This looks like fun. I'd never considered that "Ramen" noodles could be part of the home-made repertoire.

John B

Kitchen Riffs said...

You made your own alkaline noodles?!! I'm impressed — not something that most people ever do, and not every ramen shop even uses them because in some areas commercial sources can be sketchy. I've been playing around with making ramen, and it's tasty stuff. Look forward to hearing more about your ramen adventures.