Have you ever been in a room and said something that makes everyone gasp? Something so synonymously loved or hated that you going against the status quo challenges their way of living? Well that's the reaction I get when I say that I don't like Maggi in front of a crowd of Indians (spicy instant noodles akin to ramen). People are in literal shock when I say these words. Nothing about Maggi fascinates me, in fact I question everything that people love about it: from the artificial flavor mix that comes with it to how it sells itself as a wholesome, quick meal. In fact, when the ban happened in India, I was busy selling my Maggi packets in college. Because of how much I disliked Maggi, I never ventured into eating college ramen. Again the flavors and the 50 cent price tag made me vary of how good this could really be. In fact till date, I still haven't a cup of 50 cent ramen. This I believe was a big mistake.
My introduction to good ramen was by my best friend Yen Anh. Growing up in a Vietnamese family, she loved broth based noodle dishes and going out with her was how I encountered the wonderful flavors of asian cuisine outside of cornflour and soy sauce laden Chinese food. She introduced me a world of fresh clean flavors: whether that was through her grandma’s beef pho, korean barbecue, or ramen. I started loving ramen because of how it has a plethora of textures and flavors that is unified by an overlaying mother broth that encompasses the full symphony of the dish. Ramen to me, never felt heavy even though pools of fat and pork belly were visual indicators that what I'm eating will be clogging my veins shortly. While in New York, Yen Anh took me to Ippudo. A famous ramen shop that had me in love. I think that was the first time I tasted umami (and it did not remind me of Ross saying “Unagi” hehe). My new found love for ramen led me to miso and its versatility as a flavorful ingredient.
This recipe was one of my first attempts at making a soup with umami. I made this with a variety of veggies: carrots, shiitake, and miso were ingredients from ramen dishes, while the addition of ginger, garlic, spring onions, and coriander leaves come from the fresh flavors of Vietnamese pho. In a way, this is a tribute to the food Yen Anh introduced me to and a way to remember our memories through these flavors.
As always, please like, share and let me know how you like this dish!
3 dried Shitake Mushrooms
3 dried Oyster Mushrooms
4 Chopped Mushrooms
1 tbsp Miso Paste
4 tsp Dark Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Sriracha
2 tsp Rice Vinegar
For Add Ons
100 gms of Chicken Breast
2 Hard Boiled Egg Whites
1 tsp Sesame Oil
Handful Rice Noodles
1/2 Carrot cut thinly lengthwise
3 Spring Onions cut on the diagonal
2 cloves of Garlic minced
4 thin slices of Ginger
Coriander for garnish
Start by reconstituting mushrooms in room temperature water for an hour. Additionally boil two eggs, remove the shell, remove the yolk, and marinate it in 2 tsps or dark soy, 1 tsp of sesame oil, and a handful of spring onions. Ideally, these would remain in the marinade for an hour.
Cook the chicken. Take a chicken breast. Pat dry with a paper towel and salt and pepper on both sides. This was help remove some of the water from the surface of the chicken. Add a dash of olive oil on a frying pan that is on medium-high heat. Place one side of the chicken onto the pan and cook until the one side is golden brown. For 100 grams of chicken, that should be no more than 3 minutes. Flip the chicken and add 1/2 cup of regular water. Cover and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove the chicken and shred into large pieces using two forks. Reserve the water for the broth.
Time for the broth. Put 1 cup of water in a pot along with 1 cup of water from the mushrooms. For more flavor, you can add the water from the chicken breast as well. Place on high heat and add, garlic, ginger, mushrooms (both dried and fresh), soy sauce, sriracha, and rice vinegar. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Add 1 tbsp of miso paste and mix well. Simmer for 10 minutes.
While the broth in simmering, start making rice noodles. Follow box instructions.
Bring all the ingredients to your soup bowl. Start with a base of carrots and spring onions, shredded chicken, followed by a cupful of broth. Top with egg and taste for salt and spiciness.