Miso Ramen

Miso ramen with peas, corn, narutomaki and soft-boiled egg

 

This simple, easy-to-make with readily available Japanese-styled Miso Ramen is awesome for a rainy day or when you need to whip up something quick. In short, Miso ramen can go with anything you can dig up in your fridge, including leftovers, frozen goodies or simply by itself. It’s so popular and so easy, it can be classified as instant noodles in Asia where manufacturers have made it into the 5 minute meal with all packaged sauces and condiments. In this version, I’m still using packaged dashi (Japanese fish stock) and miso, but one day, I will make dashi from scratch! We also purposefully went to buy some Japanese-styled  fish sticks, known as Narutokmaki, and some fancy looking “piggy” narutomaki. I love Japanese food (so does my whole family) and the Japanese culture, styling, food is highly prevalent in Hong Kong. To be honest with you, if I had to pick one cuisine which I had to eat for the rest of my life, it would be Japanese. And plus my kids all attended a Japanese International Kindergarten, they are/were highly influenced by their Japanese peers. You should see some of the award-winning Japanese lunch boxes that the Japanese moms prepare, they win hands down!

 

Soup Name: Miso Ramen

Traditional Chinese Name:  日本拉麵 (Rì běn lā miàn)

 

Miso Ramen
Recipe Type: Noodles
Cuisine: Japanese
Author: LadyTong
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 2 oz of fresh ramen
  • 1/2 teaspoon [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/dashi-japanese-fish-stock/”]dashi powder[/url]
  • 1 tablespoon [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/miso-paste/”]miso paste[/url]
  • 1 [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/chicken-eggs/”]fresh egg[/url]
  • 1 tablespoon frozen or fresh peas
  • 1/2 [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/corn/”]fresh corn[/url], boiled and cut off the cob
  • slices of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/narutomaki/”]narutomaki[/url]
  • 3 pieces of sausages
  • 3 cups of water
Instructions
  1. In a pot, start boiling your water and add in the egg(s) while the water is still cold and the corn.
  2. Once the water starts boiling, add in the dashi and miso (to help also flavor the eggs and corn).
  3. Boil the eggs on medium heat for 8 minutes, remove and set aside to cool to peel later.
  4. Boil the corn for another 5 minutes, remove and let cool.
  5. Throw in the frozen peas, sausages, and the fresh ramen and boil for another 5 minutes (or until desirable tenderness).
  6. Remove ramen and put into a serving bowl.
  7. Scoop out peas and sausages and set aside.
  8. Add soy sauce to soup to desired saltiness (although with the amount of dashi and miso, to me, it’s sufficiently salty).
  9. Scoop desired amount of soup into serving bowl.
  10. Cut corn off the cob and serve on top of noodles.
  11. Rinse egg under cold water and gently remove the shell. Half the egg with a sharp knife. The middle should be soft and gorgeous!
  12. Place peas, sausages, narutomaki, corn on top and serve!

 

For my family, I made 4 portions, but the portioning of the toppings is really dependent on what people prefer. I am talking about custom-design Miso Ramen! For example, one child is crazy about green peas, so she pretty much ate them all! The other is crazy about narutomaki, so she also ate them all!

I boiled the corn in the miso and dashi soup at the beginning with the egg. This will help infuse flavor into the corn.

Shucked corn off the cob (boiled in miso soup for added flavor)

You can use either fresh or dried ramen. The fresh kind are pretty awesome though and can be bought at Japanese supermarkets in the cold sections.

Fresh ramen

For these types of noodles, the toppings can get as creative as your imagination.

You can use:

  • Any types of veggies really (corn, peas, carrots, bak choy, choy sum, onion, green onions…)
  • Any types of readily prepared meats (sausages, BBQ pork, sliced pork, ham, chicken strips, fish balls, beef balls…)
  • Japanese styled narutomaki (they are really creative with the types of narutomaki available – see piggies below!)

You can use ANY toppings you want!

Here are some really cute and yummy narutomaki piggies! The Japanese kiddies bring these to school as is and eat them with cute toothpicks.

CUTE narutomaki piggies!

The final product for the children. We turned it into “buffet-styled-make-your-own-ramen” dinner – so basically laid out all the toppings and just gave the kids a bowl of soup with ramen and let them figure out the rest! It’s a great activity and they loved it! Plus, you hold them accountable in all the food they took.

Japanese miso ramen – for kids!

 

 

Dashi (Japanese Fish Stock)

Dashi, Japanese fish stock

Ingredient Name:  Dashi (Japanese Fish Stock)

Traditional Chinese Name: 出汁, だし (dashi)

What is this?

  • The name of a common Japanese soup base or stock used in a variety of soups (such as miso soup or clear broth), noodles, stews, or various simmering liquids and sauces
  • It’s made from kelp and fermented or dried bonito fish
  • You can always add vegetables and or other types of dried fish (similar to making basic chicken stock)
  • It’s a clear, yellowish liquid and can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 month

How do I prepare it?

  • I will definitely need to “make” it from scratch another day
  • But for the purpose of my miso soups, I’m using dried and prepackaged dashi bought from the supermarket

Where can I buy this?

  • Japanese supermarkets will definitely carry this such as Jusco, AEON and Apita
  • I had trouble finding it in even Asian supermarkets

What is the cost?

  • 1 box (with 4 packs) costs $25 HKD

Any benefits?

  • Ready-to-serve and ready-to-use fish stock
  • Non-perishable and comes in these tiny packs that are great for one portion use

Any precautions?

  • These products normally contain MSG and should be consumed in moderation
  • From my personal opinion, they are high in sodium (salt / NaCl)

Narutomaki or Naruto

Narutomaki or Japanese cured fish “stick”

Ingredient Name:  Narutomaki, Naruto (which is the name of a Japanese anime!)

Traditional Chinese Name: 鳴門巻き/なると巻き (narutomaki)

What is this?

  • The name “Naruto” is actually an Anime
  • Narutomaki – the maki is meant as a long roll or something in a cylindrical form – ie: “maki” sushi rolls
  • A steamed Japanese fish “stick” or “cake”, similar to the Chinese fish balls
  • It’s normally sold as one long, white stick in a flower shaped, with a pink swirl in the middle
  • The taste is slightly salty and fishy, but not a bad way. It’s actually quite delicious!

How do I prepare it?

  • They are edible when bought frozen or cold
  • You can quickly boil to make warm before adding directly on top of noodles, soup or other dishes

Where can I buy this?

  • Most Asian supermarkets will carry this
  • The frozen section of the wet marts in HK will also carry this (or the “fish ball vendors”)
  • Japanese supermarkets will definitely carry this such as Jusco, AEON and Apita

What is the cost?

  • In Hong Kong, 1 length cost between $12-15 HKD

Any benefits?

  • Ready-to-eat and slice directly from the freeze or fridge
  • They are great for kids because of the decorative look
  • Low in fat

Any precautions?

  • These products normally contain MSG and should be consumed in moderation
  • From my personal opinion, they are high in sodium (salt / NaCl)

 

Narutomaki in it’s pre-cut form being sliced

Spring Chayotes and Figs in Pork Broth

Spring Chayotes and Figs in Pork Broth

My herbalist recommended I make this soup given the recent change of temperature and humidity. She actually only provides the “dried goodies” – see below – in terms of herbs. She will tell you that you additionally need a pork shank and chayotes to complete the soup. This soup is targeted to help reduce wetness in the body and aid with the dampness that comes with Spring in Hong Kong. It’s slightly sweet to taste, and surprisingly, my children drank it all!

 

Soup Name: Spring Chayotes and Figs in Pork Broth

Traditional Chinese Name:  合掌瓜豬展湯 (hup jeung gwa zhū zhǎn tāng)

 

Spring Chayotes and Figs in Pork Broth
Recipe Type: Soup
Cuisine: Chinese Soup
Author: LadyTong
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 pound of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/pork-shank/”]fresh pork shank[/url], cut and blanched
  • 3 [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/chayote/”]fresh chayotes[/url], largely cubed with skin
  • 5 [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/string-figs-dried/”]dried figs[/url]
  • 5 [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/large-dried-dates/”]dried honey dates[/url]
  • 30 g [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/apricot-kernals/”]apricot kernals[/url]
  • 30 g [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/lily-bulbs/”]dried lily bulbs[/url]
  • 40 g [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/lotus-seed/”]dried lotus seeds[/url]
  • 40 g of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/fu-ling-or-tuckahoe/”]dried fu ling (or tuckahoe)[/url]
  • 2-3 L of water
  • salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Start boiling your soup water and immediately (while the water is still cold) throw in all the dried herbs (figs, honey dates, apricot kernals, lily bulbs, lotus seeds)
  2. In a separate pot, blanch the pork shank for 5 minutes, drain and set aside
  3. Once the water boils, add in cubed chayotes (with the skin on so it won’t completely disintegrate in the soup) and pork shank
  4. Boil on high for 30 minutes
  5. Reduce to a medium boil for another 1.5 hours (or put it in a thermal pot)
  6. Salt to salt
  7. Serve and enjoy!
Notes
[b]Any benefits?[/b][br][br]The combination of chayotes and figs help relieve wetness from the body as chayotes are diuretic.[br]The soup is high in potassium (which help remove water from the body).[br]Chayotes are often used in cleansing diets or used as the season changes to help cleanse the body.[br]Chayotes are rich in amino acids.[br]The soup is good for removing damp heat (from the fu ling).[br][br][b]Any precautions?[/b][br][br]Add the figs into the soup while it’s cold or it will turn the soup sour if you add it in hot. I have never tried it, but this is what both my mother and my herbalist tell me![br]Most melon soups, chayotes included, will sour the day after, so consume the soup that day.

 

This is the base of the soup. Just add chayotes and any type of meat (either pork, chicken or fish).

Dried Herbs for Chinese Soup

Chinese Soups for Spring!

It’s almost Spring time! Can’t you feel the warm sun on your face? Can’t you feel gentle wind without that bitter, cold bite?

Spring is a unique season – well, there are only 4 – so that’s pretty unique already.  What makes Spring so different is one key thing (especially in Asia) – humidity.  You can’t run from it – especially if you happen to live on an island in Asia or even South East Asia.  And like all seasons in the Chinese circle of life, there are soups that are targeted for this season to help:

  • reduce moisture in your body
  • remove dampness
  • tone & strengthen Qi & blood
  • relieve heaviness in the head and body

For me, being a western-raised Chinese, the key is removing dampness (all the others aren’t as tangible to me).  I can feel it in my blankets, in my bedsheets, on the walls and especially on my skin.  To remove the “feeling” of dampness in my home, the humidifier is the next great thing after sliced bread in the Spring.  I have 2 of these machines that run around the clock in my house to make sure that both my bedsheets and walls don’t start molding on me – it happens – especially given that I live facing a harbor.   Spring is a great prelude to Summer, so I’m neither a hater nor a lover.  So how do you deal with the dampness that affects the body?  Drink soups – in great quantities.

Over the past 8 years living in Hong Kong, there are the same key soups that my meat, veggie and herbal vendors all tell me to make.  Even the old ladies that I knock elbows with at the market tell me the same thing, and of course, my own mother.  So it’s not coincidence that through generations of knowledge and teaching, the Chinese have narrowed down their soup recommendations for various personal and environment conditions.

There are always KEY ingredients associated with the Spring and you can mix and match the various vegetables and additives as needed for this season.  You can also use a combination of pork, chicken and fish with the proposed “Spring” ingredients for variety.

Some Spring ingredients:

old cucumber – with its diuretic effect, it helps you urinate and release the moisture in your body.

adzuki beans – another natural diuretic, this ingredient can dispel both excess body moisture and heat.  It also helps strengthen the spleen.

black eye beans – similar to adzuki beans in dispelling excess moisture from the body.

lentils – helps to also dispel moisture from the body and a great source of protein.

barley, job’s tears – another natural diuretic and used to promote urination and has mildly cooling properties.

fu ling or tuckahoe – excellent for removing damp-heat (like Spring or wet conditions).

smilax root or toe folk ling – can help remove excess phlegm and dry throat during illness when the seasons change.

watercress – helps clear heatiness, neutralizes toxins, nourishes the lung and dissolve phlegm.

hairy gourd or fuzzy melon – excellent for dispelling summer heat and excess body moisture.

Soup recommendations for the Spring:

Fuzzy Melon with Corn in Pork Bones Soup
Water Chestnuts and Pork Spring Soup
Pork Broth with Black Eye Beans and Black Moss Pork Broth with Black Eye Beans and Black Moss
Old Cucumber with Chinese Yam in Pork Broth
Vegetarian Arrowroot and Corn Soup Vegetarian Arrowroot and Corn Soup
Carrot and Sweet Corn Soup with Barley and Pork Shank
Old Cucumber Soup with Azuki Beans and Lentil
Fish Tail Soup with Lily Bulb and Carrot