Thursday, February 9, 2017

Ramen Noodle Bowl ~ Crab Roe Stuffed Fish Balls, Surimi, Wakame and Wood Ear Mushrooms

     A Gourmet Ramen Noodle Bowl!
     A package of Ramen Noodles does not have to be a boring meal.  Gourmet Ramen Noodle creations are still a popular trend.  There are several noodle house restaurants in Las Vegas that specialize traditional Ramen entrées and cutting edge Ramen creations.  Some of the Ramen creations simply make use of new combinations of traditional ingredients and this suits customers that have conservative tastes.   
     There really are no rules to obey when creating a gourmet Ramen Noodle recipe.  Just like any creation, it is best to stick with a theme.  The theme for today's gourmet ramen creation is health oriented and the noodle bowl features some popular Surimi fish meal products. 
     Surimi is made with dried fish meal.  The fish meal paste can be shaped in endless ways.  Surimi is known as Imitation Crab Meat in mainstream America, because it is shaped like Snow Crab Legs or Flaked Alaskan Crab Meat.  From a marketing standpoint, the word "imitation" has negative connotations.  Grocers that realize that traditional Asian style Surimi product shapes are in demand now stock a few of these products in the specialty food section of the store.  The round cylinder shaped Surimi that has decorative colors appeals to home cooks that like making Asian style noodle bowls and soups.  
     To find a wider variety of Surimi products, one simply has to go shopping at an Asian food market.  There are thousands of Surimi products that can be found in an Asian market.  Pre-made Surimi Fish Balls are a popular choice and some of the Fish Ball products can be quite fancy.  Crab Roe Stuffed Fish Balls are a gourmet style Surimi product that can add pizzaz to recipe creation.  Often the Crab Roe Fish Balls are a dumpling shape that adds eye appeal.  When the Surimi Fish Ball is cut open, the orange color Crab Roe appears.  The mild flavor of Crab Roe appeals to those that do not like strong tasting fish egg flavors.
     Traditional Surimi cylinder shaped rolls that have colorful designs can be purchased at Asian food markets too.  The Pink Swirl Surimi roll that I used for today's recipe is also used as a garnish in noodle house restaurants.  Saimin Soup is a good example of a traditional recipe that is nearly always garnished with slices of Pink Swirl Surimi.  
     Even though today's recipe looks like a soup, it is usually called a Noodle Bowl.  Broth noodle bowls are popular, because the high proportion of broth helps to quickly revitalize nutrients that the body is lacking.
     Today's Gourmet Ramen Noodle recipe is easy to make and there are no special cooking techniques, other than separating the yolk and white of one egg.  The egg garnish does have to be fried in a separate pan.  The Dried Wood Ear Mushrooms can be soaked in a refrigerator ahead of time, so this recipe can be finished in less than 15 minutes.  A nutritious noodle bowl is great for those who are on the go!   

     Ramen Noodle Bowl ~ Crab Roe Stuffed Fish Balls, Surimi, Wakame and Wood Ear Mushrooms:
     This recipe yields 1 large noodle bowl entrée.
     Crab Roe Stuffed Fish Balls available as a pre-made frozen product at Asian food markets.
     Step 1:  Soak 4 or 5 dried Wood Ear Mushrooms in a container with 2 cups of water overnight in a refrigerator, so they fully reconstitute.  (These dried mushrooms will become quite large after they are soaked!)
     Drain off the water.
     Cut the mushrooms into thin slices.
     Step 2:  Separate the white and yolk of 1 large egg into two separate bowls.
     Whisk the white and yolk in the separate bowls.
     Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil.
     Add the white to the hot pan and cook it on both sides, till it is fully cooked but not browned.
     Set the cooked egg white on a cutting board.
     Cook the egg yolk the same way and set it on a cutting board.
     Cut the cooked egg yolk and egg white into thin ribbons and keep them separated from each other.
     Step 3:  Boil 3 1/4 cups of light fish broth in a large sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Add 1 clove of minced garlic.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced ginger.
     Add 1 tablespoon of tiny dried shrimp.
     Add 2 tablespoons of chopped rinsed Salt Packed Dried Wakame Seaweed.
     Add the prepared sliced Wood Ear Mushrooms.
     Add 3 Crab Roe Stuffed Surimi Fish Balls.  (The stuffed fish balls can be thawed or added frozen.) 
     Boil till the Wakame Seaweed reconstitutes.  (About 5 minutes.)
     Step 3:  Add 1/4 cup of rice wine (Sake).
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of thin soy sauce.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon drops of pure sesame oil.
     Add about 1/6 cup of thin carrot sticks.
     Add 1 pinch of five spice powder.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric.
     Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
     Step 4:  Add 1 portion of Ramen Noodles to the broth.
     Boil till the noodles are tender.
     *Check the amount of broth, because it will reduce while boiling.  There should be about 2 1/3 cups of broth in the pot after the noodles cook.  Add a spash of hot water if the level of broth is too low.
     Step 5:  Cut 5 or 6 slices of fancy Pink Swirl Surimi Roll that are about 3/16" thick.
     Add the Surimi slices to the broth.
     Wait about 30 seconds, so the Surimi warms up. 
     Step 6:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Pour the broth, noodles and ingredients into a large wide soup bowl.
     Use tongs or kitchen chopsticks to gather the Ramen Noodles in the center of the bowl.
     Try to expose the Crab Roe Stuffed Fish Balls on top of the noodles.
     Try to expose a few slices of the fancy Surimi slices on the surface of the broth.
     Step 7:  Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of very thin sliced onion strips on the surface of the broth.
     Place the fried egg yolk ribbons and fried egg white ribbons on opposite sides of the bowl.
     Garnish with a sprig of cilantro or parsley.
     *Serve with chopsticks and an Asian style soup spoon!

     Ramen Noodles do not just have to just be college student survival food!  Ramen Noodles can be turned into a very appealing healthy meal!         

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