From March to around August of 2020, given the uncertainties of the time, we painstakingly stocked the pantry with convenience food. One of items that we kept buying was instant ramen.
By the second of half 2021, we were still using up our stock of instant ramen. My daughter, Alex, came up with this idea of adding browned ground pork seasoned with dashi, mirin, ginger and a bit of sugar. It’s similar to shigureni except that the saltiness is derived from dashi rather than soy sauce.
The seasoning from the packet of instant ramen was stirred into the water in which dried shiitake mushrooms were soaked to make the broth. Blanched greens and pickled ginger (gari) complete the noodle soup dish.
Ginger pork ramen
Sweet salty ground pork
- 200 grams ground pork - with at least 20% fat for better flavor
- 1 teaspoon dashi granules
- ¼ teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 2 pinches sugar
- salt - optional
- 3 to 4 dried shiitake - soaked in hot water for 20 minutes
- bok choy - or other Asian cabbage, as much or as little as you like
- 2 packs instant ramen - pork, chicken or vegetable flavor
- 1 tablespoon ground toasted sesame seeds - (you may ½ tablespoon substitute store-bought Asian sesame seed paste)
- salt - optional
- pickled ginger (gari) - to garnish
Cook the pork
- Spread the ground pork in a heated non-stick frying pan.
- Sprinkle in the dashi granules and ginger.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.
- Add the mirin and sugar.
- Continue cooking until the liquid has been soaked up and the sugar has caramelized.
- Taste the pork and, if needed, add salt.
Cook the noodle soup
- Cut off the shiitake stalks and discard; slice the caps thinly.
- Cut off the root ends of the bok choy, rinse the leaves and set aside.
- In a pan, boil four cups of water.
- Drop in the noodles and cook for two minutes.
- Drop in the bok choy and sliced shiitake caps, and cook everything together for two to two and a half minutes.
- Drain the noodles, bok choy and shiitake, and arrange in bowls.
- Rinse the pan, pour in the shiitake soaking liquid and enough water to make two cups, and bring to the boil.
- Stir in the seasoning (and dried vegetables, if any) from the instant ramen packet, and the ground sesame seeds.
- Taste the broth and add salt, if needed.
Finish assembling the noodle soup
- Divide the ground pork between the two bowls.
- Pour hot broth over the noodles, bok choy, pork and shiitake.
- Add pickled ginger and serve at once.