Tan Tan Noodle (坦坦麺)
Have you seen the movie ‘Antarctica Cook (南極料理人)’? The story of a sou-chef in the Defense Military in Japan who is sent as a cook to the South Pole for a quirky, eccentric sometimes bizarre group of researchers and scientists? I love the scene where the chef had to create ramen noodle for delusional ramen crazed people. The movie line from one in particular, “My body is made of ramen, I can’t survive without ramen”…right, I feel like that sometimes.
I wish to make ramen for a long while yet this is unknown territory. I really don’t know if I want to venture out the far. My daughter even sent me a copy of Ivan Ramen for my birthday. A Journey of Jewish guy pioneered into ramen world in Japan, he earned fame and opened a ramen shop or two in Japan also in New York, it’s part biography and recipe book…. it was interesting and the recipe was desirable.
Then I found this recipe from a very old magazine clip which was in my fancy ‘like it then tear it’ filing system. I would like to try Ivan’s recipe, home made noodle and all someday when I have plenty of time to fail…obliviously not in sprinting December. This is way simplified, approachable and was good.
- Green onion - white parts only 3-4 stalks about 2 Tablespoons finely minced
- Red miso paste 2 Tablespoons
- Sugar 1Tablespoon
- Soy sauce #1, 2 Tablespoons
- Thinly sliced pork belly meat approximately 1/2 pound.
- Bok Choy 2 bunches, wash well between the leaves without separating.
- Chinese chicken stock 1 Tablespoon
- Soy sauce #2, 4 Tablespoons
- Rice vinegar 2 Teaspoons
- La-yu 1 Tablespoon
- Ramen noodle 2 packages. Dry or fresh. I used several kinds of instant ramen noodles.
- Sesame oil, salt to taste
- Minced green onion, divide in half and put in two bowls. Set aside.
- Make miso sauce by combining red miso paste, sugar and soy sauce #1 in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Prepare pork - chopping and pounding meat with knife till it resembles ground pork.
- Heat non-stick pan at medium heat. Put chopped meat in and sauté, break up meat with turner until meat appears dry and start to render juice.
- Pour miso past mixture, sauté meat until well coated with sauce. Now that meat miso (肉みそ) is done. Set aside.
- Prepare ice bath in large bowl and set aside. Boil about 2 cups of water. Cook bok choy’s stem by holding leaf top and cook for 1 minute then lay the flat in the pan to cook for 30 second or so. Immediately transfer into icy bath. When it’s completely cooled then receive onto paper towel to dry. Squeeze gently to remove excess water. Set aside. .
- Rinse the same pan and add 3 cups of water and boil. Dissolve Chinese chicken stock and keep simmering until needed.
- Make soup seasoning by mixing soy sauce #2, vinegar and la-yu in a small bowl.
- Boil plenty of water to cook noodles according to the package.
- While noodles are cooking – spoon in equal amount of soup seasoning in each bowl (from process #1). Pour in 1/2 of hot soup, mix well, and then put 1/2 of just cooked, drained noodles. Top with meat miso and bok choy. Sesame oil and salt to taste. Serve hot.
Spicy Sesame Version – Make soup seasoning with 1 teaspoon of doubanjiang (豆板醤 ) and 1 Tablespoon of chi-mar-jan ( 芝麻醤/tahini paste), 2 teaspoons of sesame oil and 1 Tablespoon of soy sauce. See step #8 and #10. .
Okinawan sweet potato chiffon cupcakes were for Church activity. Light and airy and have lovely lavender color. That’s it! Honey, let’s to go out for supper. No more dishes. Come again? Right, no more dishes for you tonight.
Gift of service…at least I tried. I was praying for the opportunity to serve others this Christmas season. I got a phone call out of blue from a Japanese lady I have never met before. She held onto my phone number that I gave her neighbor to pass on to her more than a decade earlier. I visited her in Nursing/Rehabilitation Home last week. She is perhaps several years younger than my father was. I’m glad that I was able to give her time to chat in Japanese.
Crescent moon was romantic the other night…made me sing…Fly me to the moon.. Wishing you a peaceful week.