When it's cold and rainy this beef ramen recipe has magical reviving properties, it's like nestling into an enormous sheepskin rug in front of a roaring fire on the grimmest of winter days.
Beef short ribs have the perfect balance of rich tender meat and tasty fat, let's face it, that's where the fun bit is. It's a brilliant cut of meat to base this ramen dish on, you may need a trip to the local butcher to pick some up. If you can't find short ribs, don't stress - you can easily substitute with beef shin or braising steak.
Dashi stock is to the Japanese what chicken stock is to the Europeans. Dashi stock is made from kombu seaweed and dried fish and provides the depth of flavour you need for this dish. We have all the ingredients to make your own dashi stock but I've just used our instant dashi stock powder (like buying stock cubes) for ease. The other key ingredient that I've used is Gochujang - a Korean chilli paste that has a distinct flavour and creates the perfect warmth for the broth. Throw in some aromatics - ginger, star anise, cinnamon, soy sauce and mirin and leave it alone for the magic to happen.
Making ramen like this, with a long slow cook, is definitely a weekend project. Don't be put off by the list of ingredients, there are a few specialist items but mostly they are storecupboard ingredients or simple fresh vegetables.
Ingredients for Short Rib Beef Ramen
1.5kg beef short rib, cut into individual ribs
For the broth
2.25 litres dashi stock (3 sachets dissolved in hot water)
2 tablespoons Gochujang paste
75ml dark soy sauce
100ml mirin or sake
3 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
5 dried shiitake mushrooms
50g fresh ginger, unpeeled cut into slices
4 fat cloves of garlic, sliced
2 teaspoons of salt for seasoning the beef
A little rapeseed oil for frying
For the garnishes
2 eggs, boiled for 5½ minutes and refreshed in cold water
1 punnet of chestnut mushrooms, sliced thickly and pan fried
4 spring onions, finely chopped
200g cavolo nero, steamed for 5 minutes until tender
6 radishes, sliced in thin rounds
3 tablespoons of kizami pickled ginger
A few toasted sesame seeds
Plenty of La-Yu chilli oil
Of course you can substitute in any number of different vegetable garnishes that are in season; bok choy, spinach, cabbage, bean sprouts are all good.
For the noodles
2 packs Sau Tao Ramen Noodles (each pack contains three individual sachets portions, so use 4 sachets)
1. Remove the beef from the fridge and sprinkle a little salt over, if you have time try to leave it out long enough to get to room temperature - don't sweat it if you haven't done this.
2. Pre-heat your oven to 170°C.
3. First job is to get the broth on. It's no more complicated than assembling any other king of beef stew. Heat a large casserole or pan, add a little rapeseed oil and brown the pieces of short rib on all sides, you may have to do this in batches. The browning process is really important and will create some smoke, so get the fan on, open the windows and doors and make some smoke - it's for the greater good!
4. Once all the pieces are browned all over, spoon away some of the excess fat that will be released, place all the pieces of beef back in the pot and pour in the dashi stock and add all the other ingredients for the broth. The beef wants plenty of space for the flavour to develop so if necessary, add in some extra water so everything is fully submerged.
5. Bring the beef broth up to a simmer, place a lid on and cook in the oven for 2 hours 30 minutes.
6. About half hour before the end of the cooking time, check the beef is tender and if necessary top up with water so there is plenty of broth to serve.
7. You can now start to prepare the garnishes. Boil and peel the eggs. Slice up the spring onions and radishes. Steam the cavolo nero and pan fry the mushooms. Remember, when you assemble each dish, you will be pouring hot broth over everything so don't worry if the mushrooms and cavolo nero aren't piping hot when you serve.
8. Fill a large pot of water to cook the noodles and bring to the boil.
9. When the beef is lovely and tender, remove the pieces from the broth, separate the meat from the bone and using forks, pull the beef into smaller chunks. Keep warm.
10. Strain the broth through a sieve into a saucepan and bring back to a simmer.
11. Drop the noodles into boiling water - they just need a minute to heat up, then drain.
12. It's now time to assemble your ramen bowl. Pile some steaming noodles into the centre of the bowl then arrange all the other elements around the side - I love the artistic process of creating a ramen bowl to serve family and friends. Finally pour over the hot broth and serve. We also have a bottle of the La-Yu chilli oil on the table for everyone to help themselves to along with a little extra soy sauce.
Enjoy! And don't forget to tag us in your social posts and leave a review for this recipe below. Ben
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I keep reaching for our delicious Pickled Lemon Paste. It's intense lemon flavour provides a great lift to so many dishes whether it's a stew, sauce, dressing or marinade. This little salad is really quick and simple to prepare. The liquorice flavour of fennel is perfectly suited to carrying strong flavours...
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