THE VAMPIRE SLAYER RAMEN-EXPRESS

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CALL IT, THE RAMEN WITH 40 CLOVES OF GARLIC… WAIT.  44 CLOVES.

SOMETIMES, and for the sake of modesty not all the times, but sometimes, after I pasted every photos of a recipe in place and started to stare into space thinking about what I was gonna say… I thought to myself, seriously?  You fucking need a reason to eat this?

Uhem, just sometimes.

But well, today, happens to be one of those times.

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If you love Japanese ramen, the closest noodle has ever came to being an art-form, and even more so, the shortcuts on how to make it easily and relatively swift at home, then I don’t know why you’re still listening to me babble.  But if you must, this is a express ramen-recipe that yields 4 servings but consumes all 44 cloves of garlic.  Most of them browned and braised together with an obnoxious slab of pork belly until both meltingly tender, then blended with chicken stock and soy milk (my favourite ramen-cheat) to fabricate the most speedy but intensely rich broth ramen-history has ever seen.  Then the rest of the garlics went under knife and hot grease, to be fried crispy golden browned, then pound together with ground white pepper and salt, into pure powder-gold.

 

Forceful enough to expel any kitchen-fatigue, this strong milky broth flooded a lovely bowl laid with springy Japanese ramen noodles, and on top, drifted a ring of thinly sliced melting pork-belly, mushrooms, runny soft-boiled egg, toasted nori sheets and a floral corner of finely diced scallions.  But all exorcism requires loyal apprentices, a final touch of fried garlic powder and garlic-togarashi oil were casted within the rim to complete… the most delicious magic you’ll ever create.

Call it the ramen with 40 cloves of garlic, wait, 44 cloves.  Or the ramen packed with opinions and comes with a pleasurably foul mouth.  Or call it, The Exorcist.

Me, I’m calling it… The Vampire Slayer.

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The recipe, in the realm of Japanese ramen, is relatively easy and foolproof, but there are still a few point to I want to stress on.

First note*:  The chicken stock.  You can use homemade (like mine with this recipe) or store-bough chicken stock, but make sure that it’s unsalted or minimally salted, and neutrally flavoured meaning NO use of herbs like thyme, rosemary, bay leaves or anything that could be conflicting.  Second note**:  The soy milk.  American soy milk and Asian soy milk, really taste different.  In my first ramen-express post, I mentioned that American brands like Silk can be used, but later on I found that even the most basic variety, contains sugar and vanilla-like flavourings.  I would strongly suggest either you use Asian unsweetened soy milk, or look for brands that has only “water, soy beans” in the ingredients.  After all, that’s what soy milk is supposed to be!!  Not some weird mixture of sugar and flavourings in a pathetic effort to make it taste like actual milk.

Updates 2014/12/17: On some missed out steps on the mushrooms and soaking water.


THE VAMPIRE SLAYER RAMEN-EXPRESS

3 hours

Serving Size: 4

Ingredients

    GARLIC BRAISED PORK BELLY:
  • 4 whole dried shitake mushrooms + 1/2 cup hot water
  • 14 oz (400 grams) skin-on pork belly
  • 30 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 cup (105 grams) sake, or rice wine
  • 2 tbsp (30 grams) soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp (10 grams) mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • FRIED GARLIC POWDER:
  • 14 whole garlic cloves, finely minced or sliced
  • 1/2 cup (112 grams) canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • GARLIC TOGARASHI OIL:
  • 1/4 cup (55 grams) of garlic oil (from frying the garlic)
  • 1/4 cup (55 grams) toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp togarashi chili powder
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • RAMEN STOCK AND TO FINISH:
  • 5 cups (1180 grams/ml) chicken stock, see note*
  • 1/4 medium-size onion, peeled
  • 1 1/4 cup (340 grams) unflavoured unsweetened soymilk, see note**
  • 2 tbsp bonito dashi granules (this is what gives it the bonito-flavour so don't skip!)
  • 1~2 tsp sea salt
  • 4 servings of ramen noodles
  • 4 soft-boiled eggs
  • 1 cup finely diced scallions, green parts only
  • 1 sheet of Japanese dried nori/seaweed

Instructions

  1. TO MAKE THE GARLIC BRAISED PORK BELLY: Preheat the oven on 330F/165C. Soak dried shitake mushrooms in 1/2 cup of hot water for 20 min until soft. Meanwhile, add 1 tbsp of oil in a pot that fits the pork belly tightly, then heat over medium-high heat. Brown the pork belly skin-side down first (you can cut the pork belly in half if it fits the pot better that way) until the skin is blistered, then turn and brown all other sides. Remove and set aside. Add all the peeled garlic cloves and cook until lightly browned. Return the pork belly into the pot, and add the soaked shitake mushrooms and its soaking liquid, sake, soy sauce, mirin, salt and ground black pepper.
  2. Put the lid on and bake in the oven for 2~2:30 hours, turning the pork belly 2~3 times in between, until extremely soft. If you want to do this on stove-top over low heat, you'll need to check the pot very frequently to prevent burning. Once done, carefully remove the pork belly and mushrooms, then plastic-wrap and chill in the fridge for easy slicing later. Reserve the braised garlic and all the liquid. You can do this the day before.
  3. TO MAKE THE FRIED GARLIC POWDER: When the pork is in the oven, mix finely mined or sliced garlic and canola oil in a small pot, and bring to a gentle boil over medium~medium-low heat. Keep the mixture sizzling, stirring constantly, until the garlic starts to turn golden-browned, approx 5 min. Drain immediately through a fine sieve, and reserve 1/4 cup of the garlic oil. Drain the fried garlics over paper-towels, replace with new ones if soaked, for about 1 hour.
  4. In a stone-mortar or a spice-grinder, pound/pulse the fried garlic with ground white pepper and fine sea salt, until coarsely ground. Can also be made the day before.
  5. TO MAKE THE GARLIC TOGARASHI OIL: Combine the reserved garlic oil, toasted sesame oil, togarashi powder, chili flakes, black sesame seeds and ground coriander in a small pot. Set over medium heat and cook for 1 min. Set aside. Can also be made the day before.
  6. TO MAKE THE STOCK AND ASSEMBLE THE RAMEN: In a blender, blend the reserved braised garlic and braising liquid, chicken stock (at least warm but not hot, so the fat doesn't solidify) and peeled onion until very smooth. If your blender is small, you might want to blend with 1/2 of the stock only, and add the other 1/2 later on in a pot. Drain the soup through a fine sieve into a large pot, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as you can, then discard the solids (don't worry if there's foam on the surface). Add the unflavoured/unsweetened soy milk, bonito dashi granules and 1 tsp of salt, and simmer for 5 min. Re-season with more salt if needed (keep in mind that Japanese ramen broth tends to be salty).
  7. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the ramen noodles according to instructions. Drain well and divide into four bowls. Finely slice the braised pork belly and arrange over the top, along with 1 braised shitake mushroom for each bowl, and soft-boiled egg, finely diced scallions and dried nori/seaweed.
  8. Generously spoon the fried garlic powder and garlic-togarashi oil over, and serve immediately.
http://ladyandpups.com/2014/12/16/the-vampire-slayer-ramen-express/

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64 Comments

  • Hi Mandy, this looks incredible! A few days ago I watched Ramen Girl – I’ve been examining ramen recipes and reading about ramen since then. So I can almost taste this, in my mind :)

  • Dang, that’s a lot of garlic. I’m intrigued and a little frightened. Totally trying it.

    I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again – so thankful for your blog. One by one the sites I used to visit have undergone these horrible cutesy-patootsey makeovers, and it’s so nice knowing that here is a place where awesome writing and bullshit-free perspective thrives :)

  • omg so I literally just bought the BIGGEST and BEST bowls at the weekend totally just for making ramen, and then this pops up in my inbox. You my friend, are a freaking life saver. I CANNOT WAIT.

    • Liz: There’s not really a major, international brand for Asian soy milk. But I think you should be able to find it in the dairy section of Chinese supermarket. It isn’t hard to homemake soy milk but it takes long. Soak the soy beans for 24 hours, then puree with 4 times the amount of water. Cook on low heat for 10 min, then strain.

      • That’s a long soaking time, do we have the change the water in between, like maybe every 8 hour? Because usually after 8 hour soaking, there’s bubble in the water or is it just good ol fermentation? And do we use the soaking water for additional beany flavor? Oh and I live in the tropic. Thx, hee.

  • It is such a simple recipe for ramen that I’m going to try to make this next month. In so, I went over the recipe several times to understand it and I got confused as to where the shitake mushrooms go after the soaking. Are they meant to be bland tasting as they are served with the noodles or do they go into the pot with the pork for braising?

    “Return the pork belly into the pot, and add sake, soy sauce, mirin, salt and ground black pepper.” – No mushrooms?

    Thanks for any future clarification.

  • This looks absolutely amazing and I never realized you could use soy milk in ramen broth. I am insanely excited to try this. Also, yes to Asian soy milks! I recently moved to Malaysia and love that the soy milk I buy has only 2 ingredients. American soy milks scare me.

    Question: Have you ever tried to make ajitsuke tamago (ramen egg) before? If so, were you happy with the results? I’ve been experimenting but it just doesn’t taste the way I want it to quite yet….

  • Soy milk is ramen is absolutely genius! I will give this a go when the intimidation factor wears off.

    (Chocking on Sriracha is such a bad way to go…)

  • OMFG this looks so tasty! I’m not going to lie, I’m a little intimidated by the recipe list, but I do love a good challenge in the kitchen. Have been telling myself I’m going to make ramen for years and you’re lovely photos (and funny writing) are now making me want to get off my butt and do it. This is happening.

  • hahahahahahha ~~~~~ i have to say~~~ you are such a funny girl~~~~or lady~~~ hahahahaah love your blog~~~~~ its alive~~~~

  • That bowl looks delicious! Reminds one of the Chinese idea of a meal for a family: 4 dishes/vegetables and a soup 四菜一個湯. Only trouble is… you don’t have enough noodles (no where enough, really) for a family of 4. And you need to add a LOT, LOT of leafy green vegetables (that sprinkling of scallions, while tasty, really doesn’t count as vegetables, right?). But aside from that, that bowl looks Simply Irresistible!

  • Oh god. You are horrible. Terrible even. I leave your blog with hunger pains. What have you done to me?! I don’t know what to do with myself. I left Shanghai angrily knowing that I wasn’t able to get my tasty street noodles, and then I found you and your blasted bunker crack slurp. Let’s just put it this way: I have to drive 30 minutes to get the right noodles and I have to stock up so I don’t have to leave my house to have that mouthgasmic tastiness for months. Then you plague and tease me with this? I’m making this, STAT. Except I’m throughly planning on ruining it with my David Chang inspired pork broth. My fiance loves me so much ever since I discovered your blog. He’s going to love me even more (and what do you know, his name is Jason too!) but you know what? I’m so in love with your recipes AND your blog. To top it off, you’re vulgar AND you have the whole website also posted in Chinese! I can “study” for my Chinese class! Seriously, kick your hubby out. I’m moving in and I’m bringing my dog with me.

    Okay. Maybe I’m just kidding. I’m not moving in, but I think I love you. I’d love to see your take on tsukemen(dipping noodles)

    I’m going to go make myself immune to vampires.

    • Sarahcha, hahahhaa move in!! You can help out my jason with all the extra foods! And I’m totally planning on making tsukemen fyi. I’m gonna make your fiancé love you even more.

  • Hi Mandy, do you think I can substitute the pork belly with chicken legs/thighs? Thank you so much for posting this up, I’ve never been so excited about chopping up garlic before!

  • wow – just came across your post and my mouth is drooling! I live in Tokyo but am vacationing in the states (where I’m originally from) and the one thing I’m really missing is ramen (it will be the first thing I will eat when I get back to Japan next week!) But your photos and your recipe look amazing and very interesting and I think I might give it a try – something I’ve never considered before, as ramen always seems to difficult to attempt at home!

  • I’ve drooled all over my computer and ruined my keyboard. But seriously… I have the same food addictions as you. You’ve become my pusher. Can we be friends IRL?

  • has everyone overlooked your number 4 death reference! ;) … surely it’s no accident … death by garlic ..twice over even .. which sounds great and I am snorting up the garlic aroma’s as I type now.

  • Made this last weekend and OMFG. Literally the best thing I’ve put in my mouth in two years. I think my boyfriend nearly cried tears of joy it was so good. Kept left over broth and used it the next day, boiled the noodles in the broth…even better

    • Larni, no they are not the same! Chinese rice wine is a cooking wine made from rice. It’s clear and mild (not acidic like vinegar), can be found in the condiment section of most aisan grocery stores.

  • Thanks! I’m so excited to make it this weekend! I’ve been reading the recipe everyday for over a week because it sounds so good. My family and I are huge ramen fans.

  • So, I made this for New Year’s, and I’m pretty sure that if we weren’t already married, my hawaiian chinese husband would have immediately proposed to me. He grew up all over SE asia, and my telling him to go through your recipes and pick which ones I should make is like giving a kid free reign in a candy store.
    Quick question though: if I still have some garlic powder and garlic togarashi oil from my last batch, is there any reason you can think of why I can’t just use those again?

  • I love your cooking… It looks so delicious… I love the way your website is arranged… <3!!!

  • My husband rates this the best noodle yet. The braised pork belly was flavorful and tender. I should have sliced it after it cooled because it crumbled a bit while it was just out of my pressure cooker. Yes, I normally use a pressure cooker instead of braising things in the oven. I never had togarashi oil until I tried this recipe. That was the cherry on top of the ramen. Yum. The soup. So good. If you like garlic, this is literally like drinking it.

  • PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PUT OUT A COOK BOOK. I need it to be the pinnacle of my kitchen! I love all these recipes and will be making many shortly!

  • 2nd time making this otherworldy meal and had a question. Its my understanding that the braising liquid with all that fat rendered from the pork belly is combined with the chicken stock, etc to create the ramen broth. Now I increased the amount of pork belly by a factor of 7 (6 lb of Berkshire Pork Belly) so there is a substantial amount of fat in my braising liquid. Do you have a recommendation for how to adjust the amount of remaining broth ingredients? Thanks! Love this recipe!

    • Adam, it’s hard to say because even the same amount of pork belly could range widely in “fatness”. do you remember how much fat there was on your first time making it? if that worked well for you, you could use the same amount of fat. if you didn’t remember, i think i would start with 3 tbsp :)

  • Hey Mandy, thx for quick reply. Not sure of the amount of rendered fat last time out as I used a glass cooking pan (2-3″ deep) to braise the belly, belly was nice and snug in there. This time i used a large oval dutch oven for the braising part…also used more dried mushrooms (wood ear as i didnt have time to get shitake). Anyway im about to get the belly out of the fridge (cooked it last night) and make the rest of the dish. Maybe i can skim some fat off, see hot things go. Thanks for the assistance. Love the site!

  • Hallo Mandy, viele Grüße aus Deutschland! I copied your recipe step by step and dived into the garlic seas just a few seconds ago. What shall I say? The Vampire Ramen tasted really deliciously. Trying is definitly worth being alone for some days now, so thanks a lot for sharing this great recipe! Viele Grüße, Uwe

  • Wow! Amazing! I have made this for myself a few times and just this week, I had six coworkers “order” it from me for lunch this week. They LOVED it! Thank you so much for sharing this great recipe!

  • After making this a few times as per the recipe. I decided to tweak it a bit. I have been using pork shoulder instead of pork belly. I also added 2 peeled shallots to the braising process and removed the onion when blending the braising liquid and garlic. I add them in when I add the garlic. I also blend the braised shitakes with the garlic, shallots, braising liquid with the broth. When serving, I add fresh shitakes on top instead of the braised shitakes. I just made this for 24 people and they loved it! Thanks so much for continuing to be the best cooking blog of all time.

  • I made this tonight. Amazing! Broth was so rich and garlicky. Loved every bite. Thank you for sharing this recipe. Can’t wait to make this again!

  • Hi Mandy! I am hoping to make this for a Gourmet Dinner club as the entree and Japanese cuisine theme. One of my guests has a fish allergy. Can you suggest an alternative flavor to the bonito dashi? Miso paste perhaps? Thank you so much!!

  • What can you use if you cannot have soy milk? My husband cannot have soy milk due to a medication they take. is there a possible substitution for soy milk?

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