Thursday, 11 February 2010

Ramen for U and Hambagu for everyone else

Having missed last month's challenge, I was looking forward to the Washoku Warriro's challenge this month (head on over to La Fuji Mama to check out the other offerings). Then La Fuji Mama announced the challenge was Miso Ramen (Chinese-Style Noodles in Miso-Enriched Soup) and Teriyaki Baaga (Soy-Glazed Beef Burger) and I was even more excited. U loves ramen but I don't and as a result we don't eat it out. I thought that making it for him would be the perfect way to thank him for all his help and support while I was working on my thesis.

We decided to take on the added challenge of making the chicken stock (Torigara Dashi) from scratch. U wasn't too sure about this. First he insisted it wouldn't taste very good. Then he argued that we wouldn't be able to find noodles sold without broth packets. Despite U's misgivings, however, when we found one last packet of torigara (various chicken bits for stock), on the grocery store shelf, we both agreed to give making it from scratch. This did take a fair amount of time, but we were rewarded with a delicious thick chicken stock that ended up playing an even more important role in the overall flavour as we hit a language bump when U mis-read "tablespoon" as "teaspoon" with the measurement of the miso. The resulting broth was a little bland, unfortunately. On U's request we added chashu (slices of flavoured pork) as a topping in addition to the onions, mushrooms and bean sprouts called for by Andoh. The resulting bowl of noodles looked pretty good and, although I'm not likely to become a connoisseur of all things ramen, I did enjoy it enough to consider making them again sometime - with likely with a greater variety of toppings and a more flavourful broth.

The hambagu were even more of a pleasant surprise. They were so much easier to make than I had expected, and very forgiving of my habit of not sticking strictly to the recipe - like adding in less meat because that was all I bought, using an entire beaten egg instead of only 2 tbs, and adding in a few handfuls of shredded cabbage that I had in the fridge and wanted to use up. Given all the liberty I took with the recipe I was rather nervous about the end result, but I was thrilled with the way they turned out and loved the sweetened soy sauce glaze.

Instead of 4 patties that Andoh suggests, I made 7 smaller ones. I couldn't resist eating one right away, but the other six got boxed up along with a few sides (mixed mushrooms pan fried in butter, and lightly boiled green beans) and taken to work the next day for lunch - for me and two of my coworkers. Unfortunately that didn't lend itself to great photography (photo taken with my cell phone as a lunchroom of co-workers looked on in bemusement) but it did make me popular at work!


  1. Yum yum! I love ramen too! I just figured out that 'hambagu' must be 'hamburger'. You have very lucky coworkers... love and hugs, Cath

  2. Cath - sorry! Yes, hambagu (or rather hambaagu) are like hamburgers, but only the patties, served with rice. Burgers served with buns and whatnot are called "hambaaga."

  3. You rocked this challenge! Did you make your chashu?

  4. I loved this challenge too! I agree about photographing the meat.... it was hard to get an appetizing shot, even though they were delicious! I didn't try the ramen, I'll have to give it a go this next week. You made it look so delicious with the flavored pork slices. Great job!

  5. Fuji Mama - thanks! I enjoyed getting back into it this month, and U really loves participating too. Unfortunately, however, we did not make the chashu... I'm sure U'd LOVE trying to make our own though, so I may just do that!

    Amber - it was fun, wasn't it? I'm not a ramen fan, but was impressed how this turned out (despite the bland broth). You should definitely give it a try. I'd encourage you to play around with toppings though, be creative and use things you're going to like.