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Ramen noodles: You think you know, but you have no idea

By   /   March 26, 2014  /   Comments Off

The touchstone of the college student. It always feels incredibly satisfying to be so full from a 39 cent meal. Microwaveable ramen is the largest of any average college student’s necessary food groups, but that little package of dry noodles is a far cry from the real thing. You might not think it, but the traditional Japanese dish is delicately layered with flavor and takes a great deal of effort to make. I had the best bowl of ramen I’ve ever experienced in Vietnam, which is weird I know. But remembering that meal while waiting three minutes to hear the buzzer for my mug of a “chicken flavored” impersonator after school the other day, I set out on a mission to recreate the real deal.

Cooking delicious ramen in true Japanese fashion is so outfitted with steps, it takes about three days to complete. I made a dashi, a freakin’ dashi! That is some Top Chef worthy, culinary wizardry. It’s a stock made from fish and kelp, used as the base of your favorite miso soup appetizer. The dashi had to be shelved for at least a day, as did my enthusiasm, which I needed good and rested for day two.

Peeling ginger, sautéing bok choy, learning how to actually get the good stuff out of lemongrass; frying an entire pork shoulder, only to make and strain another broth… this ramen is serious.

The end result though is the most delectably fragrant and outrageously tasty entity I have ever produced by following directions. Over 60 hours and $80 later, I had enough soup to last my house two weeks, which was 100 percent worth it, but it definitely makes me appreciate that convenient “college student staple” a little bit more.

Below is a not-as-complex variation on the dish I prepared, give it a go; you’ll have lunch for a month!

 Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 5.44.38 PM

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About the author

Caroline Koch

I am a first year student at COD, avid concert-goer, music blogger and lover of Transformers. I worked on many a magazine while attending Arizona State University and now I run my dance music & culture blog with my brother: Operationhandhug.com (Go check it out!) arts@cod.edu 630-942-2660

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