Category Archives: Japanese noodles

Today’s food: green curry with sômen noodles

Green curry and somen noodles

This derives from a recent trend in Japan of dumping canned ready-made green curry onto sômen noodles. My green curry somen deviates from the original by mixing in some fish broth and kaeshi (mixture of mirin, sugar, soy sauce) into the green curry to temper the heat and to increase the amount of the very little green curry that I had left. However, if you have enough green curry, you can also just dump it on the boiled sômen noodles.

Strange as it seems, it’s a pretty marvelous combination. The fish broth and kaeshi actually works well with the fish sauce that’s already present in the curry.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Food, Japanese noodles, Thai

Today’s food: Simple noodles topped with mapo nappa

Nappa mapo on noodles

 

I’m still mortified that I used the word “overload” in my earlier post. It’s just one of those words like “explosion” that immediately discredits the dish by its name. However, I am going to keep that word there to remind myself of what a humiliating being I can be.

Noodle soup topped with simplified mapo. Instead of sweet black bean sauce (ten men jian), I season the mapo with only do ban jian (hot bean sauce), garlic (which are sauteed in oil before everything else is thrown in), soy sauce, wine, and sugar. The nappa doesn’t have an assertive texture, but blends in and adds some heft to the mapo sauce.
The simple noodle soup is just my leftover turkey broth seasoned with soy sauce and rice wine.

Leave a comment

Filed under faux chinese, Japanese noodles, ramen

Turkey ramen with turkey porchetta char-siu

I’m still taking my time getting used to the early Canadian Thanksgiving. Actually, I don’t have too much to get used to, since being a foreigner, Thanksgiving doesn’t mean too much to me except holiday TV episodes, friends coming home with depressing family stories, and cheap turkey.

Anyway, I grabbed a bag of cheap turkey a couple days before Thanksgiving day. Since I was going to a friend’s house to indulge in the beauty of traditional Thanksgiving day fare, I decided to use up my turkey for a completely Asian fare.

First, I made turkey char-siu with the breast. I created a turkey porchetta (as described on Serious Eats), but instead of the herb mixture, I rubbed in a thoroughly pounded mixture of green onion/ginger/garlic. Afterwards, I stewed the whole thing in a sugar/water/sake/mirin/soy sauce mixture with kombu (dried kelp) on low heat, until the insides were 150f.

Turkey breast char siu

I decided to boil down the remaining sauce to use it for the basic seasoning of the ramen, for brining the eggs, and for future char-siu making sessions. The boiled down braising liquid keeps well in the fridge, and the flavor improves as you keep using it and topping it off. The meaty goodness of the sauce improves any dish that it’s added to. So don’t throw away the braising liquid.

I made the ramen stock with the turkey back, neck, and other leftover parts. I just used my regular method of parboiling briefly, washing, and then throwing it in the pressure cooker with some green onions and ginger slices for 30-40 minutes.

The result:

Turykey shoyu ramen

Turkey porchetta char-siu, broth seasoned with braising liquid, eggs pickled in the same sauce, green onions, scallion oil, and some crushed garlic to top it off.

This turned out as a very comforting old-school shoyu ramen, despite the unorthodox use of turkey. The turkey porchetta char-siu was undoubtedly the highlight of the dish. And the char-siu braising liquid that I ended up with is being poured into my dishes every chance I get.

Now I’m left with the drumstick and thighs. I’m going to try to replicate the experience of eating Taiwanese turkey rice that I ate obsessively in Chiayi. My god I love Thanksgiving for its discounted poultry.

Leave a comment

Filed under Japanese noodles, ramen

Today’s food: gochujang carbonara

Carbonara-style with gochujang, pork belly, garlic, green onions

I always thought the method employed in carbonara of creating a thick, rich sauce from whole eggs had a lot of potential. For this dish, I rendered the fat out of sliced pork belly, mixed in some sandon noodles (udon will work fine) and then tossed the noodles in an egg and gochujang (korean chili paste) mixture, warming it up carefully so the eggs won’t completely congeal. Threw in some green onions, and I was finished. Simple, and a great way to use up the big vat of gochujang sitting in my fridge.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Japanese noodles, pasta, udon

Today’s food: Taiwan maze-men

Taiwan maze-men has nothing to do with Taiwan. It’s a dish that came from Nagoya, the Japanese equivalent of a midwestern city, a middle child living in the shadows of Tokyo and Osaka. However, there are numerous strange culinary inventions that originated in that city, such as the cutlet doused in miso sauce, or Japanese style spiced wings. Taiwan maze-men is not the best known of Nagoya foods, but it’s still a highly popular dish.

1-DSC_5782

Maze-men is a direct translation of the Chinese ban-mian, soupless noodles that are meant to be mixed before being eaten. Taiwan maze-men consists of thick noodles, onion or garlic oil, spicy sauteed ground pork, shredded nori, and chopped Chinese chives, and an uncooked egg yolk on top.

I didn’t have any chives, so I topped it with some thinly sliced cabbage. Not the best substitute, but it’ll provide some crunch. I had some doubts about the freshness of my eggs, so I threw them in a 140f hot water for 45 minutes, so that they would come out soft-cooked. The eggy parts are essential to this dish.

The spicy pork I made by sauteeing doubanjian (Chinese spicy chili bean) with garlic until the oil turned red, and then threw in some soy sauce, sugar and sake. The ground pork is the main salty element in this dish, so season heavily.

If you have the ground pork, noodles, and the egg yolk, I think you got the most essential parts covered. This sum of this dish is much, much greater than its parts. It becomes this eggy, spicy, porky mass when it’s mixed.

2 Comments

Filed under Food, Japanese noodles

Today’s food: Gazpacho Asian noodles

Cold noodles are wonderful. Much like watermelons, swimsuits, and ripe tomatoes, they are only meant to be enjoyed during a limited time, and lamented over the other seasons (although the jazz pianist Yosuke Yamashita was a strong advocate for cold noodles served year-round at restaurants.) With the beginning of the fall, we approach the end of cold noodle season. Simultaneously, we’re at the tail end of the period when tomatoes are the most flavorful.

Gazpacho somen

The gazpacho part of the gazpacho noodles follow the conventional recipe for the cold soup, except for the additions of ginger, soy sauce, and a bit of sesame oil at the end. Today it’s topped with scallions, homemade kimchi, cucumbers, and leftover roast beef. Any kind of asian noodles would do, but my favorites are sômen noodles and ramen noodles.

Leave a comment

Filed under Japanese noodles

Saury three ways

Saury are wonderful. A Korean grocery store nearby were selling 10 for $8, which meant that I was able to escape from my seafood deprived state, and that I needed to keep eating saucy for several meals. This did not pose a large problem for me, since I love blue fish and their intensely fishy flavor. If white fleshed fish were coffee made by drip systems, blues are the less refined yet robust and strong french press coffee. Blue fish are not for everyone, but people who like it, love it.

Day 1, Grilled saury

1-DSC_5059

Wash, dry, salt on both sides, let sit for 30 min, create shallow incisions on both sides (as you might when baking a baguette), and broil on high, with the fish sitting at least 6 inches apart from the heating element. Common garnishes are grated daikon (highly recommended) and citrus (sudachi, if you can get your hands on it).  You can gut the fish if you want, but enjoying the bitter, rich taste of the fish offals are considered to be a marker of mature taste.

Day 2, Stewed.

Lay sliced ginger in the bottom of a pressure cooker, pour some sake, sugar, soy sauce, and a bit of water. Cook under pressure for 15 min. Or, stew for a while in a regular pot. The pressure cookers thoroughly softens the bones, making the fish much easier to eat.

3-DSC_5108

 

One added bonus is that you can add stewed saury on top of soba noodle in dashi based soup, and the soup gets enriched with saury fishiness.

1-DSC_5119

 

Day 3, saury onion pasta with garlic, garlicky toasted breadcrumbs, and italian parsley

Saury, breadcrumbs, garlic, onions, and italian parsley

 

The whole thing tastes like a large mass of saury and garlic. Wondefully tasty, but horrible for your breath. Sauté breadcrumbs with garlic until a bit browned. Sauté garlic, add filleted saury, fry in couple tablespoons of oil. When the thing’s crisp, throw in pasta water, toss with pasta, cram everything into a dish, and sprinkle some italian parsley on top. Filleting saury may be tedious, but this dish is well worth it.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Fish, Japanese, Japanese noodles, pasta, Uncategorized, Western stuff