Our food scene in Ireland has changed so much over the last 20 years. It bears little resemblance to when I was a child and Calvita was the cheese, fish was boiled beyond it’s life and my dad sold Salt Ling and Pigs Heads in the Corner Shop in Bantry alongside bars of Lifebuoy Soap and packets of Sweet Afton Cigarettes.
We now have a wonderful thriving Irish food scene full of the traditional foods of our childhoods mixed with the most amazing produce and local producers all bringing something new and exciting to the table. We have a world of new foods from outside influences and our desire to travel that when all this is combined it’s creates this wonderful Melting Pot of Irish food.
As a Country I love our constantly evolving nature and willingness to try new food flavours and concepts and to embrace much of what the outside world has shown us.
Irish people have a deep rooted desire to travel and seek new cultures but we also now want to relive these experiences through flavour and tastes at home. How many of you like me pack that extra case to bring home Olive Oils, Smoked Paprika, Spices and Herbs? Tis a long way from Calvita and Thousand Island Dressing we have come!!!
Ramen is relatively new to these shores but something I have fallen head over heels in love with. As a Nation we’ve whole hardheartedly embraced Ramen with Ramen Restaurants popping up all over the place. It’s now up there for me alongside Shepherds Pie and Roast Beef as one of my ultimate comfort foods. The thing that will lift me when life throws me off balance or nourish and soothe me when I’m sick.
For me it’s the combination of the light clear broth filled the distinct umami flavour of the Dashi, warmed by the slight heat from Ginger then sharpened by the Mirin and seasoned with the deep saltiness of Soya Sauce. Add to this the comforting pleasures of carbohydrates in the Noodles, the freshness of the veg, the flavour and spice from the toppings all finished off with the silkiness of that soft egg….it really is heaven in a bowl.
I don’t claim to be a Ramen expert as I know this is something a lot of true Ramen Chefs and cooks pride themselves on but I do love this homemade version. There are many different flavourings you can add to the broth and you can use whatever veg you choose. This is just my favourite combination.
This recipe is so simple to make. Once you have all the individual pieces cooked it really is as simple as putting the noodles in a bowl, ladeling over the broth and topping with your sliced chicken, veg and garnish. I use my microwave to heat the veg just before plating up if they have cooled or else I keep them warm in a frying pan on a low heat. My Egg has to be soft as I adore the silkiness of it with the broth. You can finish it off sprinkled with Japanese Pepper or Japanese Seven Spice which I get from Mr Bells at the English Market. My Noodles of choice are either Soba or Udon, I love the texture and flavour to these.
I hope you enjoy and if you do cook this make sure to let me know 😉
- 1 tbsp of sesame oil
- 1 tbsp of fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tbsp of garlic, grated
- 1 litre of good quality hot chicken stock
- 1 cup of dried shitake or porcini mushrooms
- 2 tsp soya sauce
- 2 tsp mirin
- 180 g or 2 servings of soba noodles, cooked as per packet instructions
- 2 chicken fillets, pan fried and thinly sliced
- 8-9 button mushrooms sliced and pan fried until lightly golden
- 4-5 large leaves of pak choi sliced from top bottom and tossed in a hot pan for a minute or two ( you don’t want to over cook them)
- 2 eggs
- Chopped fresh red chilli
- Chopped fresh coriander
- Salt to season and Japanese Chilli Pepper (Nanami Togarashi)
- Heat a large saucepan over a medium/low heat,add the oil,ginger and garlic,stir for a minute taking care not to let either burn.
- Pour in the hot chicken stock,add the dried mushrooms, soya sauce and mirin then simmer for 10-15 mins.
- While the broth is simmering bring a pan of water to the boil, you should have just enough water to cover an egg. Place the two eggs in the pan and cook for 7 mins for soft and 8 for a little firmer. Place them into a bowl of iced water for around 5 minutes to cool them and stop them cooking so you can easily peel them.
- If your noodles are cold reheat them by placing them in a colander and pouring boiling water over them, then place them in a bowl, pour ladles of the broth over then arrange the chicken, mushrooms, pak choi and the egg sliced in half.
- Garnish with the fresh red chilli, coriander and a good sprinkle of Japenese chilli pepper or use sriracha if you have it.