Dear gourmands and explorers,
Have you ever had ramen?
No, no, not those coyly named chicken “flavored” noodles that come in a plastic-wrapped briquette, notably the food of starving college students and high-metabolism bachelors.
I’m talking about authentic Asian street food, from the crowded, foggy streets of Shanghai and Tokyo, and the bustling alleyways and street markets of Canton and Yokohama. Served in a deep, round bowl with savory hot broth and piled with fresh vegetables, pulled pork, soft-poached eggs, chili threads and a hundred other choices, it’s slurped up with Chinese soup spoons and slick chopsticks.
An authentic bowl of ramen is hard to find, outside the countries where it originated and a few port cities where skilled immigrants bring their inherited craft to tiny restaurants and back-door kitchens. What if you could make your own noodles, the real way, the handcrafted way, at home? What if you could prepare dashi, katsuobushi salt, mayu and the other necessary condiments, sauces, sprinkles and fats requisite to a steaming bowl of ramen, all in your own home?
In a recent Asian Noodles Food Lab here at New Earth Farm, we experienced the skill of the master first hand! Chef Kevin Ordonez, owner of the pop-up-turning-restaurant Alkaline VA, treated a full class to a night of ramen making, rice noodles, and Asian noodle legend. Truly dedicated to his art, he prepares everything for his restaurant from scratch – from the rich chicken bone broth to the infamous scorched mayu, unique in its preparation and notable for the earthy, smoky flavor it brings to a bowl of steaming noodles.
Visiting Chef Kevin’s pop-up – follow his Facebook page to see where he goes next! – is a treat that everybody passing through the Hampton Roads area should indulge in. It’s a family-friendly setting, with a revolving, ever-changing menu that uses local, seasonal and fresh foods, inspired by Asian street food and a little Comic-con!
Until that glorious day when you get to sit down to a bowl of Chef Kevin’s rich, fragrant ramen replete with umami explosions and sensational flavors, you can enjoy the wonders of Tokyo and Hong Kong in your own home! [BANG! POW!] Chef Kevin, in his typically generous fashion, put together a recipe packet for our readers including not only the noodle recipes, but broth, salts and condiments necessary to create a truly authentic ramen experience. Download the entire recipe packet, or pick and choose – the recipes are simple, straightforward, and true to their Asian roots. Many of these recipes are difficult to find in English or outside of ramen houses, so I am fortunate to be able to share this rich catalog with you!
Alkaline’s Shoyu Ramen
Download the entire recipe packet here – see below for individual files
By Chef Kevin Ordonez of Restaurant Alkaline VA
This plating creates one bowl of Ordonez’ delicious, signature ramen dish. The next time you’re in Virginia Beach, stop by the restaurant and sample a steaming bowl of the authentic, homemade noodles yourself!
In a small sauce pot, combine the chicken stock, dashi, and tare and bring to a boil. Bring a four quart pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, drop a few drops of chicken fat and a pinch of katsuobushi salt into the bottom of your guest’s ramen bowl. When the pot of broth comes to a boil, carefully pour it into ramen bowl. Cook ramen noodles in pot of boiling water for 1 minute. Vigorously stir noodles in water with chopsticks or tongs to prevent clumping. Drain noodles well and add to bowl of broth. Add desired toppings. Enjoy!
*See recipes in Asian Noodle Food Lab recipe packet
A note on desired toppings: Regions and chefs create their own unique toppings, but favorites include slices jalapenos and cilantro, thinly sliced seared pork, kimchi, a soft-poached egg, hot house-made sauces and more. Let the natural environment around you create opportunities for invention! Use local and fresh ingredients, and let us know what your favorites are!
Download the entire recipe packet here (all the following recipes, in one document)
Download Alkaline Noodles recipe
Download Chicken Stock recipe
Download Dashi recipe
Download Tare and Chicken Fat recipe
Download Katsuobushi Salt recipe
Download Mayu recipe
Download Alkaline’s Shoyu Ramen recipe
Download Chicken Udon recipe
Download Ginger Soba Noodles recipe
Download Rice Noodles recipe
Download Rice Noodle Stir Fry recipe
Shopping for noodle tools? Here are the gadgets Chef Kevin recommends!
He uses a KitchenAid stand mixer and pasta attachment to make noodles by the thousands in his restaurant. It will work in your home kitchen, too!
Enjoy your noodles!