In which our humble cook goes back to Japan…

Ah, ramen… Ramen is something I have a fondness for. I often will frequent a little Japanese place here in Chula Vista as a guilty pleasure. But, unlike most places that sell ramen, they are nice enough to have a miso broth rather than a pork-based broth other places often have. So, munching the nummy ramen with my wife, I pondered if I could make a kosher bowl of ramen. Stroking my chin, I then began to smile widely. Why, of course I could! And i could make it a fusion of Japanese and Jewish cultures, to boot!

Now, before I begin, let me explain the differences between ramen in japan, and the pale imitation ANY poor person in North America knows intimately. Ramen, true ramen, is a meal in and of itself. It’s thick, filling, and yet rests easy on the stomach. All in all, it is a wonderful dish I really want to share with you all. Now, unlike my LASY ramen article, this one is a little more complicated.

First off, we need some ingredients. As always, I work to find kosher ingredients. First, we need miso. I suggest Natural Foods’ Miso for this. It is the REAL stuff, and Kosher to boot. Now, red or white is up to your personal taste, so I suggest getting both to see which you prefer. Personally, I’m a white miso man, myself. Now, as for kosher ramen, of course any good kosher grocery store is going to carry it. They are easy enough to find that you should have no worries. Everything else should be easy enough to find in your standard grocery store’s Asian section and Kosher section.

Kosher Ramen for Fun & Profit

4 Packages Kosher Ramen
6 Cups Vegetable Broth (Though I prefer using this vegetable stock recipe, myself. Always have some on hand lately for cooking experimenting.)
8 ounces White or Red Miso Paste
1 Package Silken Tofu, Cubed
A Pinch or Two of Minced Ginger
2 Teaspoons Lemon Grass, Chopped
1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Bunch Green Onions, Diced
1 Cup Heart of Palms, Sliced Lengthwise into Quarters
Soy Sauce to Taste
Sesame seeds to Taste

Bring the broth (Or stock) to a simmer in a large pot with a lid, then slowly add in the tofu while stirring. As it dissolves, the tofu is going to give up a thickening reaction that is going to help make this VERY filling.

Once the tofu has dissolved into the broth/stock, add in all the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the ramen, sesame seeds, and green onions (If you used broth, be GENTLE with the soy sauce. That stuff is salty already!!!). Cover and let the whole broth simmer over low heat for about an hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so just to stir everything up.

About 5-10 minutes before the hour is up, open up the ramen packages. See those foil packages? Throw them away. It’d be an insult to this dish to use them. Pop the noodles into the pot and cover for the remaining time. This not only cooks our noodles, but also infuses the nummy taste of our miso base into the noodles. This is a GOOD thing!

To serve, get out 4 BIG bowls. Scoop out the noodles, and divide them between the four bowls. Then divide the miso base between the 4 bowls. Finally, garnish with the sesame seeds and green onions. At this point, if you wish, you could add some fish cake.

Now, I know… Kosher fish cake!? Are you MAD!? Well, to be honest, Japanese fish cake is made in a VERY similar way to gefilte fish. The only differences being the fish used, and that it’s dyed to be purty. Yes, purists will scream, but I’ve found that some slices off a gefilte fish ‘log’ around the bowl is wonderful. And if you miss that redish-pink color, top each slice with some beet-infused horseradish! Viola! There’s your red, and the hurseradish will go nicely with the asian flavours. Trust me, I do it a lot.

Now then, I hope this recipe goes over well. Of course, you can customize it. Customize like MAD! Toppings are only limited by your imagination, really. boiled egg sliices, thin slices of beef, and even meat-free all taste wonderful with this mix. All in all, its YOUR choices as its YOUR ramen, after all! Anyhow, until next time, Shalom and Good Cooking!

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August 21, 2007. Kosher Links, main courses.

One Comment

  1. elyakum replied:

    Awesome, especially during the nine days before tisha b’av. I would suggest buying packages of plain ramen noodles instead of the prepackaged flavour packet type. In Israel this can save several shekels.

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