Ramen, We Meet Again.

Ramen noodles – especially the instant variety, is in my opinion quite strongly connected with geek culture. In Sweden they’ve been associated with geeks and students (especially of sciences) in general since before most of us knew what an otaku was.

I’ve expressed my appreciation for instant noodles before but will today give the non-instant type (which also takes 3-4 minutes to cook but isn’t deep fried) because the grocery store had a sale on all brands of Asian food, to make room for their own upcoming line, which resulted in me scurrying homewards with a loot of ramen, miso paste, sambal oelek and sweet chili sauce after having parted with surprisingly little cash.

I’ve never been to Japan and most Japanese style restaurants I’ve been to serve almost exclusively run of the mill sushi – stemming from the fact that foreign food arriving in Sweden will quickly develop into a slightly bastardized, watered down and in one way or another standardized image of its former self, which is true for for example pizza (looks the same everywhere) Chinese (most menus are more or less copied off the first restaurant’s) and sushi (salmon, tuna, scampi and little else). I also think (not that it matters) that most Japanese restaurants here aren’t run by actual Japanese. What I’m getting at is that while I’m going to make something fairly Japanese today, my experience with Japanese food outside instant ramen and Swedish sushi is limited.

Now I’m of course contributing to the problem (if it is one) by calling a dish Japanese without proper knowledge. Ramen, miso and shiitake are obviously typical of Japanese cuisine and scallions and carrots frequently occur, but in my inadequately educated opinion, garlic and chili pepper adds a Korean influence to the dish. I don’t know at all whether leaf spinach occurs in either cuisine, but I wanted to use up the leftovers from the last post.

Chop what can be chopped, except the mushrooms and put in a pot to sweat. Since my purpose more typically is to inspire than to tell readers exactly how to cook a specific dish, I seldom write down specific amounts, but a word of advice; if you don’t appreciate a bitter and iron-y flavor, don’t use as much scallions as I did in conjunction with spinach.

Like this. (image added mostly for being pretty)

Shiitake sliced and browning in a separate vessel.

The stems are often a bit woody, but they can be dried and ground up for later use.

Mushrooms to the left, veg pot to the right, with miso paste, water and ramen added.

Chop the spinach roughly and add to the broth together with the mushrooms.

Done. Serve before stuff goes wilted, soggy or overcooked.

One could also add basically any type of animal protein with good benefits, but I didn’t, becausen neither bacon nor ground beef (which is what I had in the fridge) seemed very appropriate. The chili peppers, despite being yellow and fairly mild, add quite a punch, so I’d suggest accompanying this dish with a beer.

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3 Responses to “Ramen, We Meet Again.”

  1. My son is a geek and he lives on instant Ramen noodles and energy drinks. I bury my head in the sand.

  2. […] Add a pinch or two of ground up dried mushrooms. […]

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