A Taste of Japan: Ramen vs Udon vs Soba
Here are all of the recipes from our recent class with Paul Young! The latest in the series is Taste of Japan: Ramen vs Udon vs Soba. The Japanese have elevated noodle cuisine to new heights with a wide range of broths and dipping sauces as well as an infinite variety of soup ingredients and toppings. In this session, we'll examine three different approaches to eating noodles the Japanese way.
The menu includes:
- Miso Ramen
- Seafood Udon Noodle Soup
- Zaru Soba (Cold Soba Noodles)
- Gyoza (Potstickers)
- Cook pork tenderloin per instructions from the package (usually baked in 375° oven for about 30 minutes per pound or until center reaches 160°); let rest 10 minutes before cutting the desired amount into thin slices. Set aside (sliced pork can be frozen for future meals).
- Boil ramen noodles per instructions (use about 3 ounces of dry ramen noodles per serving); rinse in cold water, then let sit in iced water until ready to serve.
- Bring water to boil for soft-boiled eggs, let eggs simmer for 6 minutes; rinse in cold water, peel, cut in half, and set aside.
- Steam spinach until wilted (about 2 minutes); or microwave for 1 minute in a loosely covered bowl; set aside.
- Add olive oil to a large soup pot for the broth.
- Saute the white parts of the green onions with garlic until wilted.
- Add water, rice wine; bring to a boil.
- Stir in miso paste, ginger paste, chicken base, vegetable base, mushrooms, and corn; bring back to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add bean sprouts and sesame oil.
- Adjust seasoning: add soy sauce to increase saltiness (if needed), add water to decrease saltiness.
- Warm noodles in the microwave for 1 minute (or dip in boiling water, then drain).
- To serve: add noodles to serving bowl first, then ladle broth on top of the noodles; top the soup with eggs, slices of pork, and a clump of spinach; garnish with chopped green onions, sesame seeds, nori (if desired).
- Serve with spicy rooster sauce (if desired).
- Defrost frozen mussels overnight in the refrigerator, or steam fresh mussels until they open (discard any unopened shells).
- Defrost frozen shrimp in the refrigerator overnight (or defrost under cold running water for 15 minutes).
- Steam napa cabbage leaves until wilted, rinse in cold water; set aside.
- Cook udon noodles according to instructions, rinse in cold water; set aside.
- Saute shiitake mushrooms in butter; set aside.
- Make the broth: In a large soup pot, saute the white parts of the green onions in olive oil until wilted (about 3 minutes).
- Add the garlic and saute briefly (about 1 minute).
- Add the water, bonito "dashi" powder, vegetable base, fish balls, and carrots; bring broth to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- While the broth is simmering: roll the cabbage leaves; remove tough stems by cutting a triangle shape off the bottom, roll each leaf so that the green part is on the outside; set aside.
- Finish the broth: add ginger paste, soy sauce, mirin, pea pods, and sesame oil; season with salt and pepper (to taste); simmer for another 3 minutes.
- Add raw shrimp and simmer for 1 minute; turn off the heat.
- Reheat the noodles in the microwave (about 1 minute); or reheat by dipping noodles in boiling water for 30 seconds, then drain.
- To serve: place warmed udon noodles in the bottom of each serving bowl, ladle soup, and ingredients equally into each bowl; top each bowl with rolled cabbage and mussels (press into broth to allow broth to warm up the toppings).
- Garnish with mushrooms and green onions.
- Boil 3 quarts of water in a large pot, add dried soba noodles, and cook the noodles according to the package instructions (each brand is slightly different).
- While the noodles are cooking, prep the toppings: chop the green onions, julienne daikon, ginger, and nori.
- When the noodles are done (just tender), drain the cooking liquid ("sobayu") into a large bowl; set aside.
- Rinse noodles under cold running water, transfer to another bowl with iced water; set aside.
- Make the dipping sauce: in a mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of warm "sobayu" with the bonito soup stock powder; stir to dissolve the powder.
- Add soy sauce, sake, and mirin, mix well; strain sauce with cheesecloth and divide among 3 individual serving bowls.
- To serve: place bamboo mats over individual plates (to catch the draining water from the noodles), garnish with green onions.
- Serve toppings on individual small plates with a bowl of dipping sauce; add a little wasabi in a separate plate (if desired).
Makes 30-35 dumplings
- Defrost frozen wonton wrappers overnight in the refrigerator.
- Mix together dipping sauce ingredients; divide into smaller bowls for serving, and set aside.
- Wilt the cabbage: place cabbage in a colander and run hot water over the cabbage for about 1 minute (or steam until soft, about 1 minute); set aside to cool and drain.
- Make the filling: using your hands, mix ground pork, garlic, green onions, ginger paste, ground pepper, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a large bowl.
- Squeeze the cabbage dry and fold it into filling.
- Line several baking trays with wax paper.
- Make the dumpling: place 1 dumpling wrapper on your palm, dip your finger in water, and run it around the edge of half the wrapper (to seal).
- Place 1 slightly heaped teaspoon of filling on the wrapper, fold the wrapper over, and use your right hand assisted by your left-hand thumb to create at least 6 pleats (see video); press to seal and place on the lined tray (dumplings should not touch); repeat.
- To cook: heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a large skillet (that has a lid), carefully place a batch of dumplings in the pan (the flat bottom should be touching the pan but the dumplings should not touch each other), and cook until the underside is light golden brown.
- To steam; add 1/2 cup of water to the pan, and cover immediately. Steam until the water has completely evaporated (3 to 4 minutes); transfer cooked dumplings to a plate.
- Repeat the cooking process with another batch of dumplings (or freeze uncooked dumplings for later).
- To serve: arrange dumplings in a row upside down (golden side up), and serve with dipping sauce on the side.
- To freeze dumplings: put an entire tray of dumplings (not touching) into the freezer for at least one hour; remove and transfer to a sealed freezer bag and return to the freezer (frozen dumplings do not need to be defrosted for cooking, but they will need more water and time for steaming).
- Dipping sauce: leftover dipping sauce can be stored in the refrigerator in a covered jar for weeks.