Oodles of Noodles
There is nothing more satisfying on a brisk day than a delicious bowl of soup. Last week, temperatures in DC dipped to 30 and my cravings for ramen, miso and pho went up 100%; however, it seems counter-intuitive to go out in said weather to get it. Lucky for me, there’s a wonderful Japanese market on U Street that carries a lot of the ingredients needed to make any of the above + other Asian goodies. I’ve never made ramen or miso soup before, but the recipes on 101 Cookbooks and Steamy Kitchen were fantastic and super easy to follow.
3 ounces dried soba noodles
2 – 4 tablespoons miso paste (to taste)
2 – 3 ounces firm tofu (2 handfuls), chopped into 1/3-inch cubes
a handful of watercress or spinach, well washed and stems trimmed
2 green onions, tops removed thinly sliced
a small handful of cilantro
a pinch of red pepper flakes
Cook the soba noodles in salted water, drain, run cold water over the noodles to stop them from cooking, shake off any excess water and set aside.
In a medium sauce pan bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and remove from heat. Pour a bit of the hot water into a small bowl and whisk in the miso paste – so it thins out a bit (this step is to avoid clumping). Stir this back into the pot. Taste, and then add more (the same way) a bit at a time until it is to your liking. Also, some miso pastes are less-salty than others, so you may need to add a bit of salt here. Add the tofu, remove from the heat, and let it sit for just a minute or so.
Split the noodles between two (or three) bowls, and pour the miso broth and tofu over them. Add some watercress, green onions, cilantro, and red pepper flakes to each bowl and enjoy.
10 oz (285 g) dried ramen noodles
1/2 cup (200 g) fresh or canned bamboo shoots, sliced
1/2 cup (170 g) fresh or canned corn kernels, drained
1/3 cup (80 g) defrosted frozen or fresh spinach
8 cups (2 liters) store-bought or homemade pork or vegetable broth
2 teaspoons instant dashi granules
1 tablespoon soy sauce, or to taste
4 tablespoons fresh miso paste
1 cup (100 g) fresh bean sprouts
1 stalk green onion (scallions), finely chopped
4 teaspoons chili oil (optional)
Place the whole, un-cracked eggs in a medium pot and fill with water to cover eggs by 1 inch (2.5 cm). Turn the heat to high and when boiling, turn the heat off and let the eggs sit in the hot water for 10 minutes. Promptly use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs and peel the egg under cold running water. Slice each egg in half.
Return the same pot of water to a boil. Add the ramen noodles and cook according to package instructions (most ramen noodles only take 3 minutes to cook.) Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.
Divide the noodles, hardboiled eggs, bamboo shoots, corn and spinach among 4 large serving bowls.
In a large pot, add the stock, instant dashi and soy sauce. Bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the miso. Taste the soup and add an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons of miso if you’d like. Ladle soup into each bowl. Top each bowl with fresh bean sprouts, green onions and a drizzle of chili oil, if desired.