Wednesday, March 21, 2012

are we ramen we are devo

There was a time when I would've had to preface this post with something like "ramen is pretty underrated," but I guess that isn't true now that every city has some pop-up restaurant or food truck selling $8 bowls of ramen noodles with soft poached eggs or even truffles. Hell, Lucky Peach devoted an issue to ramen.

Ramen noodles are apparently Chinese in origin, but it's the Japanese who created the modern ramen noodles, a noodle made with the addition of alkaline mineral water (and sometimes phosporic acid), which results in a yellowish noodle that's firm and springy. There's nothing junky or crappy about the noodle - as opposed to the flavor packets most of the instant ones are packaged with.

Cook and drain some ramen noodles and you have noodles with a texture you just aren't going to get from something else.

Mine are dressed with a combination of XO sauce and "Mama Africa's chili mint Zulu sauce" - what can I tell you, that's what it's called - with a small pat of butter, and pickled shrimp.
Ramen noodles, pickled shrimp
XO sauce is an invention of Hong Kong restaurants, combining chopped shellfish with chiles, garlic, and oil - the XO is a reference to XO cognac, and the alleged prestige of the sauce. It's all kind of bullshit, but it can still be tasty.

Pickled shrimp are dead simple: boil some shrimp and dunk them in ice water to stop the cooking. Put them in a container. Cover them with diluted vinegar. I added slices of lime, mint leaves, and green peppercorns, and used some of the pickling brine from some pickled cherry peppers I'd put up last summer. Chill all day or overnight and serve cold.

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