Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Noodle Road

Tan Tan Noodle (坦坦麺)

_DSC2164Have 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._DSC2107

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.

Ingredients and instructions for two bowls of ramen_DSC2117

  • 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
  1. Minced green onion, divide in half and put in two bowls. Set aside._DSC2137
  2. Make miso sauce by combining red miso paste, sugar and soy sauce #1 in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Prepare pork - chopping and pounding meat with knife till it resembles ground pork.
  4. 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._DSC2128
  5. Pour miso past mixture, sauté meat until well coated with sauce. Now that meat miso (肉みそ) is done. Set aside._DSC2131
  6. 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. _DSC2142 ._DSC2143
  7. Rinse the same pan and add 3 cups of water and boil. Dissolve Chinese chicken stock and keep simmering until needed.
  8. Make soup seasoning by mixing soy sauce #2, vinegar and la-yu in a small bowl.
  9. Boil plenty of water to cook noodles according to the package.
  10. 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 VersionMake 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. .

I tried Sissi’s Tomatoes Confites and I quickly used them for a pasta dish which I do not have photo, darn it! Her favorite ramen soup stock could be my  favorite. I definitely will try that next._DSC2081

Spent a whole bunch of time in the kitchen last week…Pumpkin Tart,  just because I didn’t have it at Thanksgiving. _DSC2090

Wild rice, farro and Tangerine Salad recipe I spotted in the November issue of Bon Appetite magazine. We had this as dinner, only this. How refreshing!_DSC2094

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._DSC2106

My son and his wife sent me a belated birthday present. This is one of them…a bit stale but it is the thought that counts, right? Still tasted like chestnuts._DSC2112

Fine read – Manga (comic) version of Steve Jobs –based on the book by Walter Isaacson._DSC2111

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. IMG_0716 

Crescent moon was romantic the other night…made me sing…Fly me to the moon..IMG_0713 Wishing you a peaceful week.







  1. Wow, that's crazy! She held on to your number for that long? Very serendipitous. Glad you finally got the book. You can wait until we come to visit for you to make that ramen. I want it too. For now it can be just interesting reading. :)
    That ramen you made looks great, though. I will try it.

    1. I know right? I wonder why she waited this long.
      Thank you for the book by the way. I hope you have a fun trip and a wonderful Christmas.

  2. Your ramen looks so inviting.... love the soup. And the way you blanch your bok choy, is it to keep it crunchy? I'll just blanch them in hot boiling water for a few minutes before dishing them out.

    1. Thank you for your comment. The bok choy was tender and crunchy, I just followed the recipe but I usually cook the way you described it. I wish I have your pistachio bark right now!

  3. I want some of your ramen! Happy Belated Birthday!!

  4. A droolworthy noodle dish! Something I could eat on a weekly basis.



  5. 担々麺めちゃくちゃ大好きです!!!!これ作りたい!ちょっと面倒だけど、やっぱり食べたらまた作りたくなりそうなレシピですね。たくさん作って2食分はいくようにしようかしら(笑)。


    1. なみちゃん、そうなの、痩せたいと言いながら、何かと甘いものを作ってるので、矛盾だらけの私です。 改めて本の出版おめでとう!

  6. Heard about dan dan noodles but never knew what it is exactly...now, I must try it for you've made it look easy:) Should be nice on a cold day too:) Glad to hear you managed to give precious time for a chat with a stranger...certainly a priceless joy. This puts me to shame becoz I know what joy this is to old folks, but I never do it myself, instead I just send my girls to do it:(

    1. Thank you Annie. Honestly, it's bit out of my comfort zone to see people I don't know well. I just hope that I was some help to her.

  7. Yes!!! I've seen this film! Loved it! So moving... and I remember the ramen guy too. I totally understand him because now I live on ramen half of the week. I prepare the stock and eat it at least once a day (actually I had it for lunch today too; made the stock yesterday, but bought a new chicken today... more stock this weekend!).
    Your ramen looks fantastic. Actually when I was in Tokyo last time I went to a famous ramenya and ordered tantanmen! It was different from yours though, but I learnt later on that every restaurant makes it in a different way. Anyway I loved it and I'm sure I would love yours. I have heard somewhere about Ivan ramen too. I must go next time. Or make your recipe ;-)
    You cannot imagine how thrilled I am to see the tomatoes confites! I'm so happy I have convinced you to try them and especially that you liked them (actually now I have some wrinkled tomatoes and will be drying them too). Thank you so much for the kind mention.

    1. Thank you Sissi. You're so kind. I love to visit Ivan ramen too.

  8. One more thing I must say: how I envy you being able to read in Japanese... (I know I know it's normal since you are Japanese but still it's so difficult I consider mastering kanji as a kind of magical skill...). If I could, I'd start with Shinya Shokudo. Have you ever heard about it? I loved the series. My dream bar where I'd be a regular. With my own bottle of shochu ;-)

    1. I haven't read manga version of 'Shinya shokudo' but I watched a few episodes of the TV drama. Interesting but some scenes were little embarrassing. It was too much for me.

    2. Embarrassing? What do you mean? I am very curious... (if it's not personal, of course). My Japanese friend loved this series. I found some scenes so moving, I cried... rare thing for a "foodie" series ;-)

  9. Gosh, I can't believe she had your number for that long either - what a nice thing that you were able to do for her!

    I like the sound of that movie... I will look it up (oh, I just did, sadly it's not on Netflix :( ) but I will keep an eye out for it. Maybe I'll have a chance to see it some time :).

    I love ramen - I went to the ramen museum in Yokohama with my ex-girlfriend many years ago which was a wonderful experience. I've never tried to make it. I'll add it to my list of things I really want to try. I can't do it at the moment because I can't cook pork in the house right now, but once we're in a place of our own I can finally give this a try! :D

    1. Thank you Charles. What? Ramen Musium? I love to visit, sounds interesting.

  10. Wow ! I love your simplified Tan Tan Men. My family like ramen. I will bookmark this recipe. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you so much. It was good and you can change the flavor to fit your taste. Doubling the recipe of 'meat miso' so you can put on udon or rice for later. Enjoy it!