One-hour spicy miso ramen
Extracted from JapanEasy by Tim Anderson (Hardie Grant, £20) Photography © Laura Edwards
- Preparation Time30 mins
- Cooking Time20 mins
- 1.4 litres (47 fl oz/5½ cups) unseasoned chicken broth (not from a stock cube!)
- 100 g (3½ oz) miso
- 2 bok choi, cut into quarters
- 150 g (5 oz) bean sprouts
- 4 teaspoons sesame oil
- 4 portions of ramen noodles – dried is good; instant is better; fresh is best
- Kikkoman soy sauce, to taste (optional)
- 50 g (2 oz) Parmesan cheese, grated (optional, but it’s soooooo good)
- 4 Soy-marinated eggs, halved
For the spicy miso pork mince:
- 1 leek, washed and trimmed
- 40 g (1½ oz) miso – use red or barley miso if you can get it
- 1 tomato
- ½ onion, roughly chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 fresh red chilli
- 2 teaspoons dried chilli flakes
- 2 cm (¾ in) piece of fresh ginger, finely sliced (no need to peel)
- ½ tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon Szechuan pepper or
- ¼ teaspoon sansho (optional)
- 2 anchovy fillets in oil (optional)
- 250 g (9 oz) pork mince – not lean please!
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 50 g (2 oz/3½ tablespoons) butter
Get a large pot of water on the boil and bring the chicken broth up to a simmer in another pan. Add the miso to the stock and whisk to dissolve. Next: the spicy miso pork mince. Cut the leek in half, and roughly chop the greener half. Finely shred the whiter half of the leek, and soak in very cold water until needed.
Put the green half of the leek, the miso, tomato, onion, garlic, red chilli, chilli flakes, ginger, sesame seeds, pepper, Szechuan pepper or sansho and anchovies, if using, in a blender or food processor and blitz to a coarse paste. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate or mince everything by hand, or use a mortar and pestle.) Work this mixture into the pork mince to make a delicious pork paste.
Now here is the important part: you need an EXTREMELY HOT pan or wok. So get your best, most reliable pan on a high heat a good 5–10 minutes before you intend to cook. Add the oil to the pan and then add the pork mixture, stirring frequently until it turns a rich brown in colour. (Don’t shake or lift the pan – keep it on the heat!) Once it’s all browned nicely and cooked through (should be about 10 minutes), remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Keep warm until needed.
Blanch the bok choi in the boiling water for about a minute, just to tenderise slightly. It should still have some crunch. Remove with a slotted spoon or sieve, then blanch the bean sprouts for even less time: 20–30 seconds will do. Remove them as well, and dress with the sesame oil. Get your miso-chicken broth onto a rolling boil at this point.
Cook your noodles as per the package instructions – generally 2–3 minutes for instant, 4–5 minutes for dried, and certainly no more than 1 minute for fresh (you can use the same water you used to blanch the veg for this). Drain well. Ladle 300–350 ml (10–12 fl oz/1¼–1½ cups) of broth into deep bowls, then add the noodles and stir them through to loosen them. Pour over half the spicy miso pork mixture and stir that through as well. Taste the broth and adjust seasoning with salt or soy sauce, if needed. Top with the remaining pork mince, Parmesan, if using, drained shredded leek and marinated eggs. Enjoy piping hot, and don’t forget to SLURP!
From Japaneasy by Tim Anderson