My son, Bruce, has been watching a Japanese animated TV series where the main character attends culinary school. In various episodes, the 15 year old boy challenges and is challenged by other students to see who’s the best Freshman chef. At the end of the season, there is a big tournament. Sounds a lot like Iron Chef. Bruce really enjoyed the episodes, and as a result, expressed interest in preparing a meal for the family. Yay! He researched and chose Ramen with Charred Pork recipe from Food Network Magazine. Pretty ambitious for his first time. How did it turn out? I thought the soup was excellent. Fresh ingredients and flavorful. And the broth was not overly seasoned or salty. The most challenging thing for Bruce was timing the cooking of the noodles, pork, broth and eggs. Lots of things needed to happen at once. So if you’re in the mood for a delicious challenge, give this ramen recipe a try. Enjoy!
- Combine the chicken broth, 2 1/2 cups water, the sliced ginger, 3 smashed garlic cloves, 2 cut-up scallions, the shiitake mushrooms, soy sauce and rice wine in a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer, covered, until the mushrooms are soft and the broth is flavorful, 35 to 40 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, combine the hoisin sauce, sesame oil, minced ginger, minced garlic, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper in a medium bowl. Prick the pork chops all over with a fork and add to the bowl; turn to coat. Let marinate at room temperature, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Heat a grill or grill pan to medium high. Grill the pork chops until cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. (*I interceded at this point and suggested cooking the pork for longer. I’m glad I did. Otherwise, the pork would have been seriously undercooked.) Remove to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes. Thinly slice the pork chops.
- Bring a separate large pot of water to a boil. Gently add the eggs in their shells, return to a simmer and cook 6 1/2 minutes. Drain and run under cold water. Peel the eggs and cut in half.
- Return the pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook as the label directs, stirring often. Drain and divide among 4 bowls.
- Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a separate pot. Add the spinach and stir to wilt slightly. Ladle the broth and spinach over the noodles and top with the pork, sliced scallions and eggs; season with shichimi togarashi. (We didn’t have the seasoning.)