Gourmet Ramen Noodles!
The gourmet Ramen Noodle food trend is still going strong. Many noodle house restaurants only offer traditional Ramen Noodle entrées, but there are modern Ramen restaurants that are well known for trendy new creations. Home cooks like experimenting with Ramen Noodle creations too. College students and those who are on a tight budget have always found ways to dress up Ramen Noodles for an interesting economical meal. Ramen Noodles are a great medium for creativity!
The combination of flavors in today's ramen noodle recipe are exotic and tasty. Bacon and seafood is a classic American flavor combination. Smoked Bacon or Standard Sugar Cured Bacon is usually the only choice at a common grocery store. If an exotic bacon flavor is desired, then one must make their own bacon!
Pork Belly is easy to find at Asian food markets and pork belly can be prepared as a gourmet flavored bacon in a home kitchen. Dry spices and curing salt or straight Kosher Salt can be used to make a custom flavored bacon. Curing salt mixtures that are safe for amateur cooks to use are available at butcher shops. Curing Salt Mixtures will preserve the color of the meat. Kosher Salt can be used to naturally cure pork belly, but the color of the meat will not be preserved. Kosher Salt Cured Pork Belly will also have a shorter shelf life, so it is best to just use Kosher Salt to cure pork belly that will be consumed within a short time span.
Periwinkles taste like mild clams or clean escargot. Periwinkles are a breed of sea snail that is very popular in England and Asia. Frozen vacuum sealed packages of Periwinkles can be found at Asian food markets. Kohlrabi and Vietnamese Perilla can also be found at Asian food stores.
Vietnamese Perilla Leaves are green on top and purple underneath. Perilla is in the mint family of plants, just like basil. Perilla has a complex herb flavor.
Kohlrabi is in the cabbage family of plants and it has a pleasant mild broccoli flavor. Kohlrabi adds a nice light flavor to this gourmet ramen noodle entrée.
Chat Masala Kosher Salt Cured Pork Belly Bacon:
This recipe yields 1 1/3 pounds.
Sugar and Kosher Salt is the curing mixture for this recipe. This is a natural curing mixture that will not preserve the color of the meat, because no preservatives are in the mix. The meat will turn a dark color. Kosher Salt Cured Bacon has a short shelf life, so it should be consumed within a short time after curing.
Himalayan Black Salt can be found at Indian food markets. Himalayan Black Salt adds an interesting flavor that goes well with Chat Masala Spice Mix.
Chat Masala is an Indian 14 spice mix and it is used to flavor many desserts. Chat masala contains cardamom, ginger, sour mango powder, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, coriander, black pepper, white pepper and a few other warm dessert spices that are perfect for a gourmet bacon flavor. Ground dried mango powder (Amchoor) and Chat Masala can be found at Indian food markets.
It is not necessary to cure a whole side of pork belly when making bacon. A small amount of bacon can be made for a few recipes with a small piece of pork belly. I salt cured a 5" wide slab of pork belly that weighed about 1 1/3 pounds. Butchers will cut pork belly to any requested size.
Step 1: Select a fresh slab of pork belly that is about 5" wide and weighs about 21 ounces.
Use a boning knife to remove the skin. (The skin can be saved for making cracklins or fried pork rind snacks.)
Use an ice pick or metal skewer to poke several holes in the pork belly, so the curing salt mixture easily penetrates. (The holes should be spaced about 1" apart.)
Place the prepared pork belly slab on a shallow roasting pan.
Step 2: Place 2/3 cup of granulated sugar in a mixing bowl.
Add 1/3 cup of Kosher Salt.
Add 1 tablespoon Himalayan Black Salt.
Add 2 tablespoons of Powdered Dried Sour Mango (Amchoor).
Add 2 tablespoons of Chat Masala.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
Mix the ingredients together.
Step 3: Pour the curing salt mixture on the pork belly slab.
Press as much of the mixture onto the pork belly slab as possible. (The roasting pan will catch whatever falls off.)
Step 4: Place the curing salt coated pork belly slab into a large zip lock bag.
Place the extra curing salt mixture from the pan into the zip-lock bag with the pork belly slab.
Press the excess air out of the zip lock bag and seal the bag.
Place the bag in a container, in case it leaks.
Place the container in a refrigerator.
Step 5: Write the curing start time and date on a paper label.
Write the finish time and date on the label. (Add 7 days to the start date.)
Keep the date/time label in sight.
Step 6: Once every 12 hours, pick the bag up and shake it, so the brine evenly coats the meat.
Flip the bag over, so the same side is not always facing down.
Cure the pork belly slab for 7 days.
*Open the bag once a day and check the aroma. There should be no hint of decay or contamination in the odor. If the meat becomes badly discolored or if there is a foul odor, then discard the meat.
Step 7: After the 7 day curing process finishes, remove the container from the refrigerator.
Remove the bacon slab from the bag.
Discard the curing salt liquid.
Pat the cured bacon dry with a clean dry pastry towel.
Step 8: Place the cured bacon slab on roasting rack over a drip pan.
Place the pan in a refrigerator.
Chill uncovered till the surface of the bacon is dry. (A few hours.)
Step 9: Wrap the finished Chat Masala Cured Pork Belly Bacon with plastic wrap.
Chill till the bacon is needed.
*Use the Kosher Salt cured bacon within a few days or freeze portions for later use. Kosher Salt curing is not as effective as nitrite curing, so the bacon will have a short shelf life.
Ramen Noodles with Kohlrabi, Perilla, Periwinkles and Chat Masala Bacon:
This recipe yields 1 noodle bowl entrée.
Shelled poached periwinkles are sold as a frozen product in Asian food markets. Live periwinkles will need to be cleaned and poached ahead of time.Step 1: Place 1 portion of ramen noodles in a pot of boiling water over medium high heat.
Boil till the noodles are tender.
Drain the water off of the noodles.
Place the noodles in a container of ice water.
Stir till the noodles gain a firm texture.
Drain the ice water off of the noodles.
Set the prepared ramen noodles aside.
Step 2: Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil.
Cut 5 large bite size pieces of the Chat Masala Cured Bacon that are about 1/4" thick. (About 3 1/2 ounces.)
Place the bite size bacon pieces in the hot pan.
Sauté till the bacon is lightly browned.
Set the cooked bacon pieces aside on a platter.
Keep the platter warm on a stove top.
Step 3: Leave the pan with the bacon grease and coconut oil over medium/medium low heat.
*There should be less than 1 tablespoon of grease in the pan. Drain off any extra grease.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of ginger paste.
Add 1/6 cup of peeled kohlrabi strips that are about 1/4" thick.
Add 1 tablespoons of thin sliced green jalapeño pepper.
Add 3 tablespoons of bias sliced green onion pieces.
Add 3 ounces of sliced poached periwinkles.
Sauté till the vegetables start to become tender.
Step 4: Add 3/4 cup of shrimp broth.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of blended sesame oil.
Add 2 pinches of sour mango powder (Amchoor).
Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
Raise the temperature to medium heat.
Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
Step 5: Add the prepared ramen noodles
Toss the ingredients together, till the noodles become hot.
Step 6: Remove the pan from the heat.
Mound the ramen mixture in a noodle bowl.
Try to expose a few of the featured ingredients on the surface.
Place the reserved Chat Masala Bacon pieces on top of the noodles.
Place about 6 large Vietnamese Perilla Leaves in the bowl around the noodles.
The periwinkles and Chat Masala Bacon really gives this bowl of Ramen Noodles a nice flavor!