Ramen toppings - pimp those noodles
Remember that ramen stock that took a whole day and a year's worth of gas bill to make? Well, we didn't stop there. It wasn't really an exercise in working out if you could make ramen stock, it was more of a means to ensure that we could get our chops round another bowl of delicious ramen.
While, admittedly, most of the effort went into the stock, the toppings and garnishes were not without thought. I was going to hold forth and regurgitate my googling on the different types of ramen, the stocks, the noodles, the eggs etc. However, this has been done far more succinctly and logically than I could, here; an article that I would stick my neck out and say is probably the authority on ramen.
Back to our bowlfuls. We threw a bit of cash at the situation and went for some decent ramen noodles from the Japan Centre that would retain their bite and have that requisite bounce. Next up the char sui (also referred to as chasu) pork that we had braised in the ramen stock. This was sliced and added to the bowl alongside bamboo shoots, bean sprouts and some sliced spring onion. Finally, the egg.
In the mere seconds between the stock being added to the bowl and the chopsticks being deployed, we went for the seasoning. A sheet of nori, a dash of chilli oil, splash of soy and a grind of sesame. The final flourishes on the ramen bowl, and indeed pretty much all of the ingredients bar the stock and noodles, are endlessly customisable. Don't like bamboo shoots? Leave them out. Forgotten the nori? Don't sweat it. The only absolute is the egg; I won't hear otherwise, the yolk here has to be runny.
So, there you go. Japanese people don't make ramen at home, but the Japanese also don't pay upwards of £14 for a bowl! It was a memorable bowlful that, in our opinion, was well worth the effort. I say effort, after N1-foraging for trotters, much of the prep time was spent at the pub or on the sofa watching Netflix. Make the stock the day before and enjoy.