Respect the Ramen

Ramen Noodles have been reborn in the American culinary scene.  Ramen has stepped out of its comfort zone of college dorms and bachelor pads and has found a new home in the hearts and minds of American Chefs.  Noodle shops, bars and trucks are popping up more frequently and I for one am very pleased.  Consider the packaged Instant Ramen.  It's cheap, quick, simple to make and tasty- all things that meet the needs of our on-the-go culture.

I'm not going to disparage the simple instant ramen noodle package.  Honestly, I think they are delicious.  I personally buy a Korean Style that is extra spicy and enjoy them every now and then.  But if it's good in its simplest and processed form, it can be great with a little respect to the ingredients and process.  That is exactly what the Kitchen Crew at TLS executed this past Thursday.  Fresh ramen noodles, fresh garnishes, and a broth that took four days to make!  I do not exaggerate when I say the broth was excellent.  We took turns in the kitchen sipping the broth (testing for quality, of course).  I think I "tested" an entire coffee cup full of broth.

Here is the process for the broth:

Day 1:  Simmer Oxtails, vegetable scraps and konbu (dried sea kelp)  Drain and chill broth.
Day 2:  Simmer roasted pork bones, vegetable scraps and konbu.  Drain and chill broth.
Day 3:  Simmer roasted chicken bones, vegetable scraps and konbu.  Drain and chill broth.
Day 4:  Season broth with rice vinegar, soy sauce, and bonito (dried and cured fish).  Serve hot.

On the day of the event, we boiled the fresh ramen noodles in the broth and shocked them in ice water.  We served the noodles cold and served the hot broth in thermal pitchers on the tables.  The students could pour the hot broth over the cold noodles and garnish with provided ingredients.  Food should be delicious but great food is an experience. 

*Note:  Not only is it a socially encouraged practice, "slurping" ramen noodles helps the flavor.  The air reacts with the alkaline noodles and broth and provide a flavor that would not exist without this typically frowned upon eating method.
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