BLACK SESAME & SHIITAKE RAMEN WITH CHARRED CHILLI OIL
Making your own ramen noodles using a pasta machine is great if you have the time, but you can use bought dried ramen for this recipe too. As well as working perfectly with the ramen, the charred chilli oil is also a great addition to fried eggs, stir fries and soups.
FOR THE RAMEN PASTE
4 tablespoons black sesame seeds
4 tablespoons white sesame seeds
2 tablespoons miso paste
4 large garlic cloves, crushed
Toast the black and white sesame seeds together in a pan over medium heat.
Remove from the heat and pour into a mortar and pestle. Grind until crushed then add the miso paste and garlic and continue to grind until a rough paste is formed.
FOR THE ALKALINE RAMEN NOODLES
½ cup baking soda (you’ll need only
1½ teaspoons for each batch of noodles)
2 cups flour plus extra to sprinkle
1 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 130℃. Spread the baking soda onto a baking paper-lined oven tray. Bake for 1 hour. This process changes the chemical makeup of the baking soda, turning it into an alkaline salt, which makes for a springy noodle that won’t soften in the hot broth.
In a mixing bowl, combine 1½ teaspoons of the baked baking soda with the flour and salt. Slowly pour in ½ cup water while stirring to create a dry, flaky mixture.
Tip out onto a bench and knead until it is a smooth and cohesive ball. Cover in plastic wrap and let rest for at least 30 minutes.
Once rested, use a rolling pin to flatten the dough to 1cm thickness before passing it through a pasta roller until it is about 3mm thick.
Sprinkle the dough lightly with flour before using a sharp knife to cut into thin noodles. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
FOR THE CHARRED CHILLI OIL (MAKES 2 CUPS)
3 red chillies
2 cups canola oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru)*
Blacken the chillies over hot coals, a gas flame or in a hot oven. Slowly heat the oil in a small saucepan and add the charred chillies, garlic and red pepper flakes. Keep over a low heat for 30 minutes to an hour then remove from the heat and pour into a sterilised jar.
*Available at Asian food stores
FOR THE RAMEN BROTH
6 whole dried shiitake mushrooms charred chilli oil (recipe above)
1 onion, thinly sliced
4cm piece ginger, peeled, thinly sliced
6 tablespoons ramen paste (recipe above)
2 tablespoons mirin
6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 cups bok choy or leafy green of your choice,
200g homemade alkaline noodles (recipe above)
or store-bought ramen noodles sliced fresh chilli and sesame seeds to serve
Put the shiitake in a bowl and cover with 500ml warm water to rehydrate. Reserve this water to use in the broth.
In a large saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons of the charred chilli oil, add the onion and ginger and fry until soft. Add half the shiitake and the ramen paste and continue to fry over medium heat. Lower the heat and add the mirin, vinegar and fish sauce. Pour in the remaining shiitake and their liquid as well as an additional 1.5 litres water. Simmer for 1 hour, then set aside until ready to eat.
Once you’re ready to eat, bring the broth up to a simmer and add the bok choy or leafy green before lowering the heat and leaving for 7-10 minutes for the vegetables to cook.
Meanwhile, bring a separate saucepan of water to the boil, add the noodles and cook for 2 minutes. Drain the noodles and divide evenly among 4 bowls before pouring over the hot ramen broth and garnishing with sesame seeds, sliced fresh chilli and 2 tablespoons per bowl of charred chilli oil.