My last attempt at making ramen, Momofuku style, required several days of work and a seemingly endless search for ingredients. Perhaps I did go a little over the top in trying to attempt the pork buns and the McDonald’s style apple pie with lime sour cream ice cream as well….but I can’t help myself once I get started. The end result was delicious but I did walk away from the process thinking it was unlikely I’d go to that kind of trouble again when I could just take the bus to SOHO and for £10 find a bowl of ramen that would satisfy my craving. That was until a friend sent me a recipe off of GOOP.com for Bone Daddies Chicken Tantanmen Ramen.
During these damp, cold, dark months, nothing sounds quite as appealing to me as a nourishing, spicy bowl of soup. Ramen really punches all of the necessary buttons for me: noodles, meat, veggies, spice. You may remember that I adore Bone Daddies, however navigating their no-reservation policy on a rainy night after working hard, can be trying. I think part of what I love about ramen is that it’s comforting and nourishing. A night sitting on a stool Bone Daddies being jostled by passers by is neither one of those things. And while this ramen is not the same as Momofuku’s, it does have a delicious, umami, rich, deep flavor that I’ve come to crave just as much.
This all said, the recipe on GOOP was terrible! Obviously it had come straight from the restaurant – all of the measurements were in grams and the proportions were totally off. So, what I’ve done is set it straight and made it easier for those of you with similar ramen fetishes to give it a try without the pitfalls that the current recipe has. I was terrifically pleased with the result and would say that my end result was as close to the Bone Daddies original as possible (less some of the spice – as I prefer). This may look quite daunting, but there’s no tricks here and the ingredients are relatively easy to find.
One more note, especially for those of you living here in the UK. I have yet to find minced chicken in a grocery store here. What I ended up doing was ordering a whole chicken from my butcher and asking him to grind up all of the meat and give me the carcass for stock. He kindly vacuum packed the ground meat in 1/2 pound packages for me – you then need one packet for every 2 guests you plan to serve with this dish. Now I have 5 additional minced chicken packages sitting in my freezer for the next time I want to make this delicious dish.
Chicken Tantanmen Ramen
inspired by Bone Daddies
for the stock:
4 cups of chicken stock
2 pieces kombu
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, smashed
7 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 cup chopped leek
for the sesame tare:
3/4 cup toasted white sesame seeds, ground in spice grinder until fine
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons chili oil
2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 green onion, chopped
3/4 cup tahini, sesame paste
for the ground chicken:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 pound minced chicken
1 tablespoon Chinese hot bean sauce (tobanjan)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 green onions, thinly sliced
for the bamboo:
1 can drained bamboo shoots
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
pinch of red chili flakes
2 individual packages of fresh ramen noodles (about 1/2 pound), cooked according to package directions
2 heads of baby bok choy, blanched for 3 minutes in boiling water and cooled
3 tablespoons of minced chives for garnish
The night before you are going to serve make the eggs. Mix together the soy, water and sugar and marinate the eggs in this mixture overnight. If you forget, they must marinate at least 3 hours.
Two hours before serving, enrich your chicken stock with the aromatics mentioned. Allow to simmer on the stove for at least an hour and then sit, covered to steep until service. Strain before adding the sesame tare.
Blend all of the sesame tare ingredients together in a food processor until smooth. Now add about 1/3 cup of the paste to the hot stock and whisk until it’s dissolved. Taste and add more tare until it’s how you like. You can freeze the rest (GOOP’s recipe made enough for me to make this ramen for life!).
In a frying pan heat the canola oil and sautee the garlic and ginger until fragrant. Now add the minced chicken and cook through. Add the bean paste and cook for an additional minute and then add the soy. Cook until the chicken is dry and just turning crispy. Finish with the green onion.
Heat the sesame oil in a small frying pan, add the sugar and melt it down, add the chilli flakes and bamboo shoots. Once they are all well combined, add the soy sauce and cook until the pan is dry and the bamboo has absorbed all of the other ingredients.
Now to finish this dish off: Place your cooked ramen noodles in the bottom of a large bowl. Cut your eggs in half and place them on one side. Divide the chicken mince in 2 and put into the bowls. Put in the bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, and the bok choy and now ladle the hot broth on top of it all. Garnish with chives and additional chilli oil if you’d like.