This is better than it sounds. Andrew comes up with a few clever puns. And it can change your idea about what Ramen is. Steven Lim's hair looks like mine did without dying it. Except mixed gray and not purple.
Today Tony's Market offered small beef roasts on sale. I bought one mostly because the price was so uncharacteristically low. Through the glass I examined the two that they had for faults. It must be a cheaper cut, it's not deeply marbled, but they were carefully trimmed with sort of feathered fat all around and trussed up with string. I'll photograph it later, probably tomorrow and post it on the food-related site down there in the blogroll.
I formed a plan immediately. It seemed roasting the whole thing as intended would be a big wasted opportunity. Having just seen this video. I described my intention to both the young female at the meat counter and the young male at checkout, and they both fairly swooned at the idea. They're so expressive. They're all very conversational about food. I intend to slice the roast thinly as possible and wave each individual raw slice back and forth through the hot cooked broth until it changes. Then eat it slice by slice that way. Each slice contributing melted fat and beef flavor to the broth. Then drink the broth.
What's in the broth?
It's tempting to use commercial beef stock since that's so convenient and usually quite good.
And Tony's makes their own broths that are unbeatable.
But Japanese have this act down pat.
Like one of the videos, I'm thinking of using a fish stock. That's a bit weird. We tend not to mix fish with chicken and pork and beef. But that shouldn't stop us just because it sounds weird.
Maybe chicken broth or beef broth is better. I don't know. Here's how they make their fish stock that uses ingredients uncommon in American kitchens but very common in Japanese kitchens, kombu seaweed and Bonito flakes.
Kombu is large sheets of dried seaweed from which MSG is derived. MSG forms on the surface as the seaweed is dried. A square of a few inches is broken off and wiped with a damp towel to remove the white crystals. If the square is rinsed under water then too much flavor will be lost and if this step is ignored then the MSG favor will be too harsh and too strong.
Water is brought to a boil then cut off. The kombu square steeps for ten minutes. It's kombu tea and it tastes like the sea smells but it does not taste like seawater. The square swells and thickens and can be consumed. It can even be cut into firm noodles. They're intriguing.
Bonito flakes are skipjack tuna that is dried then its filets are shaved off by flakes via a mandolin device. The flakes are so thin they veritably disappear in the broth but they're usually strained out. Just for clear broth. It's no problem if the flakes are left in the water. Same step repeated. The kombu tea, now kombu dashi, is brought to a simmer and the heat cut off. Bonito flakes added and steeped for ten minutes, then strained.
This kombu bonito dashi becomes the base for a vast array of dishes. Including the miso soup that you get in Japanese restaurants. Miso, a peanut butter like mixture of fermented bean and rice is added to this dashi along with tofu and spring onion and that is what creates their characteristic miso soup flavor.
The flavor profile of this dashi can be expanded in classical ways using soy sauce, mirin, sake, and possibly garlic and ginger and toasted sesame seed oil, chile powder or flakes or sauce, curry.
Now, that right there is a very good soup. Look at you. You're an expert already.
Waving thin slices of beef through this heated soup increases the soup's fat and flavor. Soba noodles, Ramen noodles, your own homemade noodles can pump up the caloric value.
You should have seen these two people independently when I told them my plan. They're pure delights to talk to. The young woman asked me if I'm a chef. Ha. I'm too lazy for that.
The videos make a B F ritualized D out of everything including making noodles. Honestly, they make this look far more difficult than it is, special bowl, special rolling pin, special rolling pin technique, special noodle brush, special noodle cutting knife, special wooden knife guide and noodle spacer. special drying bowls, special boiling pot, matching special ice water bowl, special bamboo holding rack. Pffft. It's enough to make one think they cannot do this.
You can make noodles from anything. Any whole grain, even dried beans. Even masa harina. Your electric coffee bean grinder can turn rice into powder, corn in to powder, beans, wheat grain into power and all those things can be mixed with plain old all purpose white American flour, say, 50/50 for excellent variations on regular noodles. Even egg. You can use an Atlas machine to cut them into any width that you like. (A small amount of baking soda goes a very long way in enhancing elasticity.)
See, you don't have to be so constrained as if you're opening a traditional Ramen or soba restaurant. And the great thing about this random approach is that you never end up with the exact same thing twice.
I found small packages of sliced lamb gyros at Tony's and I bet that would work great with this.
Come on. Be a sport. Up your game with something different from usual.