Here in the U.S., the Thanksgiving holiday and Black Friday shopping extravaganzas are both over. The big whole turkey meal and turkey leftovers are gone for most people and perhaps the mere thought of anything made with it like turkey soup, turkey hash, turkey burgers, turkey lasagna, and turkey sandwiches are making people seriously tired of the same ingredient on a different day. Other than the fact that some researchers say turkey actually does make you feel sleepy. But that’s besides the point. I thought you might want a recipe with a different type of meat, probably one of the most misunderstood meats in the country (perhaps next to goat meat)- the other dark meat, lamb. You don’t often see lamb meat in Asian dishes (at least I don’t), but based on the suggestion of someone who asked for a recipe using ramen, I decided to look into the various ways homemade ramen dishes are done (absolutely no box meals here with an overdose of MSG) and created my own twist on ramen noodle soup recipes that are often made with pork, chicken or beef.
Here are most of the ingredients used in the recipe, although one two that are often used in Asian recipes, particularly Japanese ones are miso and soy sauce, which I did not use because I did not have the halal versions on hand. I’ll list some of those resources at the end of this post, but rest assured, the dish is still quite delicious without them. One of the reasons this dish is hearty and rich is because of the addition of not just the lamb but the added lamb broth, a unique new product by Saffron Road that I introduced you to last week in this post. As noted on their website and a statement I concur with, “studies by the Weston Price Foundationshow that Saffron Road’s broths can promote good digestion, strengthen joints and increase respiratory health.” For the noodles, or the ‘ramen’, I used these curly soba noodles but you can use other types of noodles such as lo mein, if you like or prefer. Get some pretty hearty mushrooms like crimini. Button mushrooms are fine, too. They’ll be sliced thin or thick, however you prefer. Here’s a tip on how to clean them. Another special ingredient is green bok choy, a wonderful and delicate green common to Asian cooking and also known as Chinese cabbage. In this recipe I only use the greens (the stems I saved and added to eggs to make an Asian style omelette). You’ll need a good quality sesame oil to start with, too. That’s what makes the dish taste especially Asian, in my opinion. I even add a little bit to the end result for added flavor. For the ginger, I used some leftover sushi ginger (unopened), but you could use any type of fresh ginger, nicely shaved or finely chopped. When preparing the dish, have everything ready to go because it goes pretty fast. If the bok choy, scallions (or any type of greens) wilt then just place them in some fresh cold water for a few minutes and they’ll crisp right up. So to get started, chop the onions and sauté lightly in the sesame oil. Next, add the lamb then mushrooms. I used cooked lamb because I had it on hand, which makes this dish go really quickly. The mushrooms add a touch of earthiness to this dish, so unless you really have to, don’t skip out on this ingredient. Also, I added just a splash of rice vinegar. It helps to cut the fat or grease from the lamb, which in my case was really fresh and ‘gamey’ so it needed the vinegar. Of course you need some spices, but i really don’t go overboard in this dish- just some salt, black pepper (although white pepper is a great alternative) and a little chili pepper flakes. Then add the broth and the bok choy leaves and the scallions, although some people prefer to have the scallions added fresh at the end. Wait for it all to come to a boil. Then add the curly noodles. Once they’re softened, turn it way down to a simmer until you’re ready to serve. I always add little extra pepper on top, but you don’t have to do that if you don’t want to. Once ready, serve piping hot in deep bowls and offer chop sticks to pull out the noodles. Mine are still packed away in boxes somewhere, but if I could find them I would have preferred those over a spoon any day. Leave the spoon for the broth, in my opinion. It’s not just a pretty soup, but it’s also highly nutritious with the lamb meat, broth and veggies. Which is probably why I took so many pictures of it… Sometimes I feel like the food papparazzi. And my payment is the reward of the food which is photographed. Even if you’re not a fan of some of these ingredients or you’re a little apprehensive to try something you’ve maybe not tasted before, it’s worth the effort to shop around for them. You’ll be surprised at how many regular groceries carry Asian produce these days. When it comes to some halal products for making Asian recipes, you might want to check out some of these links: Halal Miso Paste Is Soy Sauce Halal? Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce: There May Be Alcohol in Your Fried Rice Tasty Alternatives to Soy Sauce Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids (Alcohol-Free) Molasses, as used in this Orange-Lime Asian Sauce You can also refer to this links to answer some commonly asked questions about eating out, particularly at ethnic restaurants: What to look for in restaurant menus that could tip you off to dishes made with non-halal ingredients
Ramen Noodle Soup with Lamb, Bok Choy and Mushrooms
By December 2, 2013Published:
- Yield: 4 Servings
Homemade ramen noodle soup is nothing like the boxed versions- everything is made from scratch in this simple and pretty quick recipe anyone can make.
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1/3 cup onion diced
- 2 cups cooked lamb cut into medium size pieces (preferably boneless)
- 2 cups mushrooms sliced
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 teaspoon sushi ginger (or fresh ginger)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1-2 cups bok choy leaves
- 3 scallion greens choppped
- 5 ounces ramen noodles (or curly noodles) uncooked
- 2 cups lamb broth (halal-certified product by Saffron Road)
- Heat a medium size deep saucepan with the sesame oil.
- Add the diced onions and saute until translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the cooked lamb then the mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms have shrunk up a bit and lost their moisture, then add the rice vinegar. Keep the heat on medium-high until the vinegar has cooked down significantly.
- Add the chopped garlic and ginger then the broth.
- Add the spices, bok choy and scallions. Bring to a boil, raising the heat to make that happen a little quicker.
- Add the curly noodles and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for the amount of time determined on the package of the noodles.
- Once the dish is ready to serve, consider adding a dash of red pepper flakes, black pepper, sesame oil and/or fresh scallions to the top.