This weekend JM suggested we tackle making ramen at home. JM, Leanna, and I are huge ramen fans and it’s official that there’s no good ramen in Ottawa. We’ve tried at Taste Ramen + Fusion on Bank street but it’s really not worth returning to. In retrospect I’m not even upset that there’s no good ramen in town – in my opinion if you want soup in Ottawa you’re really spoiled because we have amazing pho. I don’t think I’d trade in all the good pho restaurants for good ramen restaurants – I like having ramen as a rare treat and I had so much fun making it at home that I’d do it again for sure.

Eggs and ingredients and shit – this blog is about food. Calories and flavours and shit.

JM made ramen at home before and that gave me the motivation to try for it. If he could make it in that closet of a kitchen of his and he didn’t die during the experience I had a good shot. I heard his stories and had seen his photos from his experience so I knew we’d make a great team for my first attempt. I knew that I could ask him any questions I had and that he had hunted through Ottawa already for some of the key ingredients you just can’t make it without (bonito and kombu for example). Leanna and I made a trip to the Asian wonderland that is T&T for the rest of them.

He suggested this recipe for shoyu ramen. I knew it would be a lot of work. The recipe was pretty good but I still ended up making a bunch of personal notes and amendments.

Making this recipe takes two days usually. For me, it took 3.5 hours on Friday night and another 2.5 on Saturday. I can cut some of this time down next time for sure now that I know what I’m doing. Also, I’m just not that naturally talented in the kitchen as Leanna is so maybe if she was cooking it’d take even less time. However, cooking asian comes a bit more naturally to me so perhaps it balances out.

Time for the class photo: In back, sliced braised pork belly that took 2.5 hours to make. In front, counter-clockwise starting with medium-boiled marinated eggs sliced with a piece of fishing line, nori (dried seaweed), bamboo (panda food), naruto (fish cake), and green onion. Missing from photo: Actual Japanese people who know what they’re doing.

Bored yet? Whatever.

How did it turn out? Amazing! It was honestly a very good bowl of ramen. For not living in in Vegas I’ve still managed to eat ramen there at Monta probably about 6 times. Also, we visited Santouka in Singapore which is probably the best chain of Japanese ramen restaurant. I know what I like and I liked my homemade ramen.

The important thing is that JM and Leanna also liked it. The pork belly was a huge success and the noodles were super fresh. I’m glad I made something that they liked. Making ramen suits my cooking style – a little bit precise with that Japanese attention to detail.

Pretty cool, eh?

What, you’d like to try my ramen? What, I’ve won an award for my ramen? Oh wow, I totally didn’t expect this… I don’t have a speech ready or anything. Geeze, especially in a year with such good ramen. Oh man, where to start? Well, in accepting my award I’d like to thank JM for his inspiration, ingredients, and experience. I’d also like to thank Leanna for her everlasting natural instinct, patience, and knowledge. Last but not least, I’d like to thank Lise for motivating me to get my camera and take these pictures – oh, and for telling us where to buy these killer bowls. Ok, the music is coming on and they’re telling me to wrap it up… ok, umm, Shak and Eric – next bowl of ramen is on me man – Thank you!

The ramen … . .. it’s a Japanese soup. It’s the shit they sell in little packages at the grocery store for 99¢ called Mr. Noodle. You can eat it that way, or dedicate 6 hours of your life to making it. Whatever.