My family is a food-loving one. Our best moments together are characterized by slurping and lip-smacking and involuntary noises of satisfaction (I’m talking about you Greg). So it’s only fitting that our gift to ourselves this year was a three day ramen-making endeavor led by our very own Master Kenny, my cousin.
In spite of the long and arduous process or perhaps because of it, it is one of my favorite Christmas events in recent memory. We laughed, we cried, we went on spontaneous bubble tea runs (you know, to stay hydrated). And after this experience I have learned something most important when making ramen. Making it alone would be near impossible. Making it with someone you don’t like very much would be unbearable. So make it with people you love.
Ramen takes forethought. Days of it. We began on T minus 3 days preparing the aji tama. “T” being ramen eating day.
On T minus 1 day, we made chashu. Pork belly is rolled and slow cooked in a soy sauce mixture on very low temperatures for hours.
The majority of the event is the noodle making which happens on the day of ramen consumption.
Master Kenny say “Ramen has an extremely low moisture content.”
Master Katsu is also an expert in Japanese cuisine.
When the dough begins to form, then we knead.
Enter the flying nun! And knead…
and smile! And knead.
And when your hands can’t knead anymore, use your feet!
Ah, finally the dough is ready to roll.
The process is to roll out the dough over and over on increasingly higher settings until it is transformed into thin, smooth sheets.
The Master checks the student’s work.
After hours, finally something resembling noodles.
Now that is something to be proud of.
Pressure cooking the broth and staring at each other for hours is next. Remember what I said about liking who you are cooking with?
Also, napping is encouraged.
The chashu finally makes its reappearance. Time to start preparing the toppings while the broth finishes.
Eventually, it all comes together.
A touching moment between aunt and nephew. Weary from three days of laboring in the kitchen, they wear matching smiles of serenity and contentment.
If you’re interested in the safely guarded family ramen recipe, leave a comment.