Spicy Miso & Basic Ramen at Minca

Those of you who watch tv probably have seen the Allstate Insurance commercial where the spokeman for Allstate is pointing out a young girl driving a fairly new car whose budget is so tight she “is on a diet of Ramen noodles every night’.

Well, that might not bad thing Allstate. Especially if one throws away the so called ‘flavor packs’ and adds to one’s Ramen noodles and uses broth in the cooking.

So to that end, I offer the following story.

“Ramen toppings crowd a countertop: Heaps of slow-cooked chashu (barbecue) pork, bean sprouts, kamaboko fish cake, hard-boiled egg, green onions, pickled garlic, boiled spinach and much more. Arai’s mother, Komichi Arai, tends to pots of shio and shoyu broths – keep reading for more on those exotic-sounding ingredients – that will soon be slurped down with freshly boiled noodles and toppings.”

“But first, it’s time to make dashi. This seafood stock uses kombu (kelp) and katsuobushi (shaved pieces of the bonito fish), and is the backbone of Japanese cooking. Unlike French soup stocks, dashi requires only three ingredients (water, kombu, katsuobushi), and a batch can be created in about 20 minutes. The ingredients are found easily at Asian markets, and the quick simmering process extracts plenty of prized umami flavor for your sumptuous broths.”

Or you can “Americanize” by using something like Swanson’s broths.

“For a quick miso ramen base, add four cups of dashi to three tablespoons of miso paste and simmer. Add that broth to freshly boiled ramen noodles, complete with the toppings of your choice and you’ve got a simple yet satisfying bowl of ramen. For a spicy kick, add chili oil to taste.”

Slurp away.