Sunday, May 9, 2021

Chicken Miso Ramen

One of the things I've missed during the pandemic is going out for ramen. Near where I work in downtown D.C., there are several very good ramen restaurants, and near the Atlantic Plumbing movie theatre where we used to go to see movies, was another one--all three (Daikaya, Bantam King and Haikan) owned by the same group. Of the three, Bantam King, which specializes in chicken-based ramen, is my favorite. I've had many meals there with friends and colleagues and look forward to (hopefully soon) being able to eat there again.

Until then, I've been making ramen at home. This is my ode to Bantam King's chicken ramen. The recipe here is for a miso rendition (spicy or not), but if you substituted soy sauce for the miso, you could instead have a very decent shoyu version. 

Fresh ramen noodles are what makes this dish truly special. The Nona Lim brand available at Whole Foods are quite good. Each box is two servings, so you'll want two boxes for this recipe, since it makes 4 servings total. If you can't find fresh noodles though, substitute dried ones--they will be good too.

Chicken Miso Ramen
Inspired by chicken ramen at Bantam King

Chicken miso broth:

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 1/2 lb. chicken wings (with bones and skin on)
2 shallots, peeled and diced
6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 inches ginger root, peeled and coarsely minced
8 cups chicken stock and/or broth
2-4 tbsp. red miso (may also use other types of miso)
Gochujang chili paste (optional, if you like spicy ramen)

Ramen bowl:

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, cut into strips
1 cup frozen fire-roasted corn (may use standard frozen corn)

Fresh ramen noodles (follow package directions to use one serving per person, may substitute dried ramen if fresh not available, but strongly recommend taking the time to look for fresh ramen)
Nori sheet, cut into about 4 x 8 inches
1 bunch of scallions, white and green parts chopped

Make the broth:

1. Heat 1 tbsp. vegetable oil in a dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Add chicken wings and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

2. Stir in the shallots, garlic and ginger, and continue cooking a few more minutes, stirring occasionally, until the garlic and shallots are fragrant.

3. Add the chicken stock/broth, stir the pot to make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover pot, reduce heat to a simmer, and simmer for about 3 hours. Remove the chicken wings and transfer to a plate to cool. Strain the broth by removing large pieces with a spider strainer (this will leave some little bits behind--if you prefer a finer strain, pour the broth through a fine-mesh sieve). Stir in the miso (I recommend starting with 2 tablespoons, then tasting to see if its salty enough for you, adding more as desired). If you like spicy broth, stir in the gochujang chili paste (note: you can always stir it in after apportioning the broth for each bowl, if some people like spicy and others don't--personally, I love it).

Make the ramen and assemble:

1. Once the chicken has cooled, pull off the skin (and discard) and remove the best meat from the wings, being sure not to include any gristle. Set aside the meat until ready to serve and discard the bones and gristle.

2. Heat 1 tbsp. vegetable oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally until lightly browned. Remove from the pan and add the frozen corn, cooking, stirring occasionally, until the corn is heated through. Set aside.

3. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the ramen according to package directions. Err on the side of undercooking just a bit so the noodles will be a little chewy.

4. Assemble the bowls: Add a serving of ramen to a large bowl. Nestle a sheet of nori next to it. Pour in about 1 1/2 cups (or more/less as desired) of broth--enough so that the noodles are covered. Top with chicken, mushrooms, corn and scallions.

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