Homemade Pork Belly & Garlic Ramen

One of my favorite food blogs is Lady and Pups – her recipes always look so amazing! I finally decided to make one of her recipes and set aside my Sunday night to do so. It look a few hours because the pork belly needs to cook in the oven for most of the time, but the final result was insanely delicious and one of my favorite things I think I’ve ever made. Some of the original ingredients I couldn’t find at my regular grocery store, but I just used some alternative items that I felt would do the trick. If you find yourself with a down day coming up, make this ramen! You won’t regret it.

Ingredients: (adapted from Lady and Pups) – Serves 2

GARLIC BRAISED PORK BELLY:
4 whole dried shitake mushrooms + 1/2 cup hot water
7 oz pork belly
15 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup sake, or rice wine
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tbsp mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
Dash of salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

FRIED GARLIC POWDER:
5 whole garlic cloves, finely minced or sliced
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
Dash of sea salt

GARLIC TOGARASHI OIL:
1/8 cup of garlic oil (from frying the above garlic)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1/4 tsp ground coriander

RAMEN STOCK AND TOPPINGS:
2.5 cups (unsalted or low sodium) chicken stock, warmed up
1/2 small shallot, peeled
1/2 cup unflavoured unsweetened soymilk
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
Salt to taste
2 servings of ramen noodles
2 soft-boiled eggs, for topping
1/4 cup finely diced scallions, for topping
Dried nori/seaweed, for topping

Start by making the pork belly, as this will need some time to cook in the oven. Preheat the oven to 330 degrees. Soak the mushrooms in hot water for about 20 mins until softened. In a heavy bottomed oven-safe pot, heat a tablespoon of oil over medium heat for a minute or so, then add the pork belly and sear for a few minutes on each side until browned. Remove the pork from the pot and add the garlic cloves, sauteing them until golden, about 3 minutes. Return the pork belly to the pot, then add the mushrooms with their soaking water, sake, mirin, soy sauce, and salt and pepper. Put the lid on and place in the oven for 2 hours, turning the pork every 30 mins. When finished, remove from the oven and let cook for a few minutes, then wrap the pork in plastic wrap and place in the fridge until you’re ready to use. This will make it easier to cut. Set the shiitake mushrooms aside, and reserve the braised garlic and liquids from the pot.

While the pork is in the oven for those 2 hours, you can get to work on the other items. To make the garlic powder, heat some canola oil over medium heat, then add the minced garlic. Cook it until it is golden brown and almost crisp. Remove by pouring through a sieve, and keeping the garlic oil for later. Spread the cooked garlic on a paper towel to allow it to drain and dry, for one hour. If the paper towel gets too damn, swap it for a new one half way through. In a stone-mortar, pound the dried garlic together with the white pepper and sea salt until coarsely ground.

Now for the garlic oil. I know, SO much garlic in this recipe, but it’s worth the garlic breath trust me!! In a small saucepan, heat the reserved garlic oil (from the above step) along with the toasted sesame oil, chili flakes, and coriander. I couldn’t find togarashi powder or black sesame seeds at my grocery store, so I just skipped those ingredients from the original recipe.

Lastly, time to make the stock. In a blender, blend together the reserved garlic and liquid from the pork belly pot, along with the (warmed) chicken stock, and peeled shallot. Pour through a sieve into a pot, and discard the solids. Add the unflavoured/unsweetened soy milk, fish sauce (the original recipe used bonito dashi granules but I couldn’t find these so used my fish sauce instead) and 1/2 tsp of salt. Simmer for 5 min.

Boil the ramen noodles per the package instruction. Drain and divide into your two bowls and pour the broth over top. Now for the toppings! Add the finely sliced pork belly, the shiitake mushroom, finely diced scallions, dried nori/seaweed, and the soft boiled eggs. To make a perfect soft boiled egg, just boil the water, add the eggs, and cook for 6 minutes (no longer!) then remove and submerge in a bowl of very cold water to stop the cooking process. Gently peel. I like to slice mine in half when they’re in the bowl to avoid a mess.

Spoon some of the fried garlic powder and garlic oil over on top, and serve immediately. ENJOY!

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Zucchini Ramen “Noodle” Soup

It has been insanely hot in NYC the past week. Like fry an egg on the sidewalk hot. And for some reason my weird self was craving hot and spicy ramen noodles like total freak. You’d think cold fruit would be on my mind, but no. Anyway, I had some zucchini on hand and thought I’d try some ramen “zoodles” for a change! It was quick and easy, and totally satisfied my ramen craving. I will definitely be making this again!

Ingredients (serves 1-2)

Broth:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1/2 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon ground galangal
1/2 tablespoon Sriracha (or to taste depending on how much spice you like)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Other:
1 zucchini, spiraled into noodles
3 oz enoki mushrooms
Scallions, chopped
Nori sheets
2 eggs

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add the minced garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute, stirring continuously so it doesn’t burn. Increase the heat to medium and add the chicken broth, water, soy sauce, Sriracha, galangal, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. During the last minute or so, add the spiraled zucchini to warm through.

In the meantime, make your soft boiled eggs. Bring some water to a boil, then gently submerge the eggs into the water with a ladle. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the eggs for exactly 7 minutes, no longer! Remove immediately from water and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking. Use the same hot water to quickly blanch your mushrooms by simply tossing them in for a minute or so.

To assemble, pour the zucchini and broth into your bowls. Add the chopped scallions, mushrooms, and nori sheets. Add an egg to each bowl, then slice down the center with a sharp knife to reveal the runny yolk!

Spring Ramen Noodle Soup

I’ve been craving ramen noodles for a few days now, and thought it would be a fun recipe to try out with all the Spring vegetables I had stalked in my fridge. I was going to go even further and attempt homemade noodles, but opted for the dry ones to save some time. Maybe on a weekend I’ll go the extra mile, but weeknights I need fast and easy! This ended up being one my favorite things I’ve made in a while. I was sad when I ate all the leftovers for lunch and knew there wouldn’t be more for dinner.

Ingredients: (serves 2)
Olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 ramps, ends and greens separated
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
3 cups chicken broth
2 (3 oz) packs dried ramen noodles (noodles only, toss the flavor packets!)
1-2 baby bok choy, separated
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chives, for serving
2 small radishes, for serving
sriracha, for serving
2 eggs

Add a little olive oil to a pot and saute the ginger, garlic, and white parts (only) of the ramps for about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 3 minutes or so. Next toss in the soy sauce and cook for an additional minute or so. Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 5 more minutes, then salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat and add your bok choy and ramp greens.

In the meantime, boil a small pot of water and gently add your eggs. Cook them for 7 minutes, then remove immediately and place in a bowl of ice water. This will help stop the cooking process and will leave you with the perfect semi-runny egg! To save dishes, I tossed my noodles into the same water I boiled my eggs in and cooked them per the package instructions. Once the noodles are done cooking, drain and rinse under some cool water.

To plate, add some noodles to each bowl, then cover with the broth and vegetables. Slice the egg and place on top, then garnish with fresh chives, radishes, and a few squirts of sriracha!