I made this comforting soup for lunch the other day. I wasn’t even going to post it, because it involves packages of instant ramen noodles. lol. I grew up eating instant ramen (one of my dad’s specialties), and Jamie loves it too. The sodium content is pretty outrageous, so I usually only use part of the seasoning packet in the soup. It can also end up being a lot of calories — one package of noodles is supposed to be two servings. It’s so easy to eat the whole thing as one serving. I usually use 1 1/2 packages for Jamie and Denis.
I also like to use Shirataki noodles instead of eating the ramen noodles. For the uninitiated, shirataki noodles are gluten free, low carb, chewy noodles made from a Japanese yam and are mostly water and fiber — hence the low carb value attributed to them.
I grew up eating them in Asian dishes and have always liked them. But in the past five years or so, I’ve seen them touted by Hungry Girl and used in Western dishes, like fettucine alfredo. This personally makes me gag. The texture is so wrong. These noodles are nothing like pasta. People also complain about the fishy order that wafts out of the package when you open it. You have to rinse the noodles and boil them. I still feel that the slightly fishy, earthy odor remains, but in Asian dishes, like ramen, this is no problem. It suits it. So when I make ramen for the boys, I make shirataki for myself, and we share the broth. I also like to add cooked egg, chopped scallions, and some kind of protein like cooked shrimp or chicken to it.
Another simple noodle dish is Tempura Soba. It’s a Japanese tradition (which I did not grow up celebrating) to eat plain soba noodle soup right before midnight. I did this once in Japan before going to the temple and ringing the gong. I made it for our dinner tonight and added tempura shrimp for some protein. Recently I learned that buckwheat noodles are gluten free! So that is good news for my niece and nephew and others who are gluten intolerant. If your make your tempura batter with rice flour, then the tempura shrimp could also be made gluten free. 🙂
We’re looking forward to ringing in the new year tonight! 2013 had its extreme ups and downs — let’s hope 2014 is a more stable good one.
Wishing you all a Happy New Year!
Shirataki Noodle Ramen
1 package of shirataki noodles
an egg, beaten
1 1/2 packages of instant ramen (the kind that come in a block)
Cooked meat (chopped ham, shrimp, pork, chicken, etc.)
scallions for garnish
shichimi togarashi (Japanese chili pepper) optional for garnish
1. Cook shirataki noodles according the package instructions. Drain and set aside.
2. Cook beaten egg in a skillet. Remove and chop up; set aside.
3. Cook ramen according to package instructions (you may choose to not use all of the seasoning packet as I do). Or if you are just eating the shirataki noodles and not using the ramen noodles, don’t bother cooking.
4. Place desired amount of shirataki noodles in a large bowl. Top with cooked egg, and cooked meat. Ladle ramen broth into bowl. Garnish with scallions and Shichimi Togarashi.
Shrimp Tempura Soba Noodles
1/2 pound dried soba (buckwheat) noodles
Oil for coating noodles and for frying
8 cups water
about 4 inches or .5 oz. of dried kombu (kelp — this is found in some Asian markets)
1 cup or 10-15 g dried bonito flakes
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoons sugar
1 cup tempura flour (you can use flour + 1/4 teaspoon each baking soda and baking powder if you don’t have tempura flour)
1 cup ice water or seltzer (with ice cubes)
12-15 large shrimp, deveined
scallions sliced thinly for garnish
Other garnish ideas: sliced boiled egg, sliced fish cake, cooked spinach
1. Boil water in a large pot, and cook dried soba noodles in it for about 4 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Coat with a bit of oil and set aside.
2. Fill pot with 8 cups of water. Add kombu. Turn up heat. Right before it comes to a rolling boil, remove kombu and discard. Add bonito flakes and boil for about 30 seconds. Turn off heat. Let broth sit until flakes settle to bottom of pot. Strain liquid into a clean pot, pressing on bonito flakes to get as much flavorful broth as possible.
3. Heat broth over low heat. Add soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. Bring to a boil and dissolve sugar. Set aside but keep hot.
4. Heat about 1 inch of oil in a wok or saucepan to about 340 F. Mix tempura flour with ice water. Do not over mix — it’s OK if it’s lumpy. Keep the ice cubes in the batter. Dip shrimp in batter to coat and fry in hot oil until golden on both sides, about 2 minutes. Remove to a rack placed over a baking sheet to drain. Continue to cook rest of shrimp this way, being careful not to overcrowd them in the oil.
5. To assemble, add cooked soba to a bowl, pour broth over. Garnish with shrimp tempura and scallions.