We heart it. This dish is inspired our love of Momofuku ramen + spicy soy ramen from Kata Robata love and uses a milk-braised Italian style pork technique. This is a great dish to make for your man or woman on Valentine’s Day (and adventurous kids). Note: this is a very rich dish. My kids happen to love ramen so it works out pretty good for everybody. They have it for lunch once a week, but this one is a little more involved. Ramen is one of my very favorite comfort foods. I highly recommend lighting a fire and having smores for dessert. We did this last night. The smores were the kids idea….sort of.
8 cups of water
1 package (about 1.75 oz) of konbu rinsed (konbu is a thick seaweed variety)
1 lb of smoked bacon
2 chicken necks or sub for 2 cups of chicken broth (your butcher will sometimes give you these. I save my raw ones from other chicken preparations and freeze them so that explains why I have chicken necks on hand…..)
mushroom broth (2 cups)
1.5 lbs ground pork
2 tsp salt
plenty of freshly ground pepper
1 tsp of red chili flakes
1 tbsp neutral oil such as grapeseed, canola, or coconut
4 cups of plain soy milk
one-soft boiled egg (per bowl)
a pinch (per bowl)of wakame rinsed and soaked in fresh water for 5 minutes. (Wakame is a seaweed variety that is thin and what we are more likely accustom to eating say in miso soup)
savoy cabbage, kale, mustard greens, bok choy or some kind of green left raw and shredded (about a ¼ cup per bowl)
1-3 inch piece of fresh ginger peeled and shaved paper-thin
2 packages of dried ramen…if it comes with sauce packet just throw it away. You won’t be needing it! If you can find fresh ramen even better. Our Central Market has it now in the deli section.
1 big pinch of scallions sliced super duper thin per bowl
1 tsp red chili oil per bowl
1 pinch of bean sprouts or fried onions would be good for crunch (although I didn’t think of it to add it in mine)
The broth will take about 3 hours to cook, but doesn’t need all that much attention. Place 8 cups of water in a stockpot over medium low heat. Add the rinsed konbu and simmer for 40 minutes with the lid. Remove the konbu and throw it away. Then add in your sliced bacon. Simmer for 40 more minutes. Remove that and add in your chicken necks and mushroom broth. Simmer for 40 more minutes, remove and toss the chicken necks. Now you will need to taste your broth, it still needs to be seasoned. This is a very important step. I add a tbsp. of soy sauce, mirin, 1 pinch of salt, and sometimes a splash of sake if we have it and repeat until it tastes perfect. Chef David Chang from Momofuku whose technique I based by broth on says under seasoned broth is a crime. Now, if you want to be sensible, you could stop here and store the broth in the refrigerator for a day or be a maniac and just go all the way. The hard part is almost over. If you do decide to store the broth, the fat will come to the top, if I were you I’d leave it in there but you could separate it for “lean” bacon broth whatever that means.
On to the pork, add a tbsp of oil to an enamel casserole. Brown the pork on medium high, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Add salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Add in 3/4 of your soymilk and reduce heat to low. Place your lid slightly eschew so steam can escape. Cook for 1 hour, stirring throughout cooking time and add in the remaining soymilk and a big pinch of salt. Continue cooking for 30 minutes.
When you are about ready to eat, put a pot of salted water on to bowl. Cook the noodles as per the instructions on the packages (not usually over 3 minutes). Drain and set aside. In deep bowls, arrange a big pinch of wakame, greens, and about a fourth or 1/2 cup of the pork + some soy broth. Then add in your soft-boiled egg, and about ¼ cup to ½ cup of the ramen noodles. When you are about to bring this to the table add in the ramen broth (as much as you want) and top with the chili oil. This makes it spicy but to me it is the only way an adult should eat this dish. I encourage you to add more chili oil and continue adding it until it is on the verge of being too hot.