So whether you’re in need of a pick me up as you try and recover from your new years hangover (ME) or you simply fancy something that’s going to excite all your senses and set your lips ablaze, this is the dish for you.
I’ve always loved ramen but for me, it has to be homemade, as whether its Wagamama or your local Japanese spot there nothing quite like catering it for your own specific taste. I usually go for vegetarian ramen as I just can’t get enough of all the veggies and the flavour is simple but beautiful but for this, i chose to add some juicy slices of beef ribeye steak (niúròu牛肉 )
I began by sautéing some diced red onion and minced garlic in sesame oil. whenever I’m cooking ramen or anything that relies on broth or sauce I always pay close attention to the base ingredients. Cook the onions too much and you’re left with a bitter flavour and undercook them and you’re missing out on some really beautiful flavours one they begin to caramelise. Once softened and a lovely honey brown I add sliced red chilli, Szechwan peppercorns (I’m obsessed with anything Szechwan) fennel seeds and crushed ginger.
Once the spices start to awaken and pop (1-2 mins) its time to add the stock or miso.This time I used a vegetable stock which offers subtle flavours without overpowering the dish which chicken or beef stock may.When the stock goes in you can add some soy sauce to taste, I used a really beautiful sticky dark soy. Remember soy is really salty so you need to taste the broth and if it tastes too salty a little hot water will balance things out. Now its time to add the noodles, I chose to use dried egg noodles but you can use fresh noodles, udon, vermicelli, whichever tickles your fancy. As they take only a few minutes to soften, this is also when I add my vegetables.I used sugar snap peas, asparagus, tender stem broccoli and green beans.
Once everything is bubbling away (the broth should be slightly covering the noodles) it’s time to cook your steak. I had a small ribeye steak which I seasoned with olive oil, thyme, salt, pepper and garlic. I used a smoking hot griddle pan (a pan with metal bars on its base that can reach high temperatures) to cook the steak, approximately 1 minute on each side, just enough to give the steak a lovely charred meaty exterior and a juicy blushing interior. when cooking steak on a griddle it’s important to oil the steak and not the pan as you don’t want the meat swimming in oil.The purpose of the ridges is to lift the meat out of the oil, so it doesn’t boil in its own juices. Taking it off of the heat, I allow the steak to rest and then slice at an angle, exposing its delicious pink hue.
Now your noodles should be ready to plate.Served best in a wide flat bowl, slip them in, not leaving a drop of broth behind. Topped with the gorgeous strips of steak (don’t leave the juices on the chopping board, that’s where all the flavour is) a soft boiled egg, lashings of fresh coriander (coriander is my liiiifee) and some fresh chilli and spring onion,you’re ready to tuck in!
As a chef i love ramen’s versatility,there’s so much you can do. Wether its adding dried sea weed,a piece of poached fish,or a bit of everything,ramen has endless combinations that will leave you feeling like you’ve had a spicy cuddle from the inside out!