Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Ramen Bowl with Braised Pork Belly - March 26, 2013

This colorful bowl is only semi-homemade.  On my last visit to Trader Joe's, I found 'spicy seaweed ramen' packets, complete with the "fresh" noodles, a sauce packet and a seaweed seasoning package.  I picked them up thinking they'd be great for a quick, weeknight dinner.

As chance would have it, Nick and I were grocery shopping about a week later and came across some pork belly at the co-op meat counter.  I immediately thought of the ramen packets at home and knew this would be the fun addition needed to make the dinner a little special.

I did a little research online and quickly found out that people who make their own ramen at home tend to be religiously devoted to their craft.  Homemade ramen bowls were a two to three day project, minimum.  That's even with store bought noodles. I could see my plan of a quick weeknight dinner evaporating.

In the end, I did spread this out over two days, but still took every possible short cut, and this still turned out to be quite edible, very good, even.  I followed these directions to make my braised pork belly the day before (Sunday, so a weekend when I had a little extra time).  It worked out fine, although made the house smell of greasy pork smoke for several days (not as great as it might sound).  The pork wasn't transcendently tender, so described as the result of this method, but it was acceptably toothsome.  Since my pork belly was already cut into small slabs, I couldn't make the fancy roll of pork needed for the second method to work, though to me it seems preferable.  Perhaps next time.

Once the pork belly was cooked, this became a quick and easy dinner.  Since I wasn't making homemade stock, but rather just using the enclosed sauce packet, I saved myself quite a bit of time.  Especially compared to this broth recipe.  All I really needed to to was "soft boil" some eggs. I did this by putting two eggs in a pot with cold water, heating the pot to boiling, turning off the heat, and letting the eggs sit for five minutes before running them under cold water and peeling off the shells.  They sat in the pork braising liquid to marinate while I cooked the noodles.  We topped the bowls with the pork belly, eggs, sliced scallions, and the seaweed and kimchi from the seasoning packet included with the packaged ramen.

It was good, and Nick and I enjoyed it.  I'm sure ramen snobs would turn up their noses, but it worked for us.  By the way, this marks the thousandth post here on the old Dinner Club blog.  THOUSANDTH.  Not bad for a little hobby blog with a minuscule following.  Things have changed a lot since those early posts, texts really, back and forth to each other.  I'm happy that we're still cooking, still enjoying good food, and still good friends.  I hope we see a thousand more dinners posted here.
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