easy weeknight ramen

A good bowl of ramen is a beautiful thing. I ate my first in Tokyo, about an hour after arriving in Roppongi after a long flight from Sydney years ago. We found a sweet little nook in the back streets and joined the swathes of businessmen before their commutes home, late, after 9pm. They perch at a wooden table or bar and hover over the steaming bowl, splurping up noodles, tonkotsu, salt or miso broth, and that soft egg. I love mine littered with nori and sesame seeds, which also add iodine, calcium and lots of minerals I try to fit into my diet where ever I can. Japanese ramen experts might be left reeling at my rendition, it takes hardly any time to make (relatively) and the roast pork can be done ahead if you like - or even use leftover pork from a roast. If you're doing the pork from scratch, ask your butcher to score the pork skin thinly for you, against the grain for easy carving.

I make my miso broth in my Le Creuset casserole, it's a pretty mist grey. You ladle out the broth into bowls or bring the pot of broth to the table with the assortment of additions on a platter and let people serve themselves. 

  • 350g piece of free-range pork belly, scored
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar
  • ¼ cup red miso paste
  • ¼ cup tamari
  • 24 dried shitake mushrooms
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 350g ramen noodles, cooked al dente and drained
  • 8 fresh shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 6 baby bok choy, thinly sliced
  • 4 shallots, very thinly sliced
  • 4 very soft boiled organic eggs
  • sesame seeds and nori for scattering

Preheat oven to 160C. Rub the pork belly with salt and sugar and place in a small baking dish to fit pork comfortably. Roast pork belly 1 hour, until meat is tender. Change oven setting to high grill and cook until crackling forms, about 20 minutes.

Combine miso, tamari, dried mushrooms, garlic and 8 cups water in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer, 20 minutes. Remove dried mushrooms from the broth. Divide noodles between 4 bowls, top with stock, then sliced fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced pork and crackling, bok choy, sesame seeds and a soft egg. Serves 4.