Probably because I’m a masochist, I decided that it would be a good idea to make ramen from scratch. The idea popped into my head after I finished reading Ivan Ramen. I mean, who DOESN’T want to spend an entire day making the seven component ingredients of this traditional Japanese noodle dish?
One thing you should know—I’ve never actually eaten real ramen, apart from the dried noodles that everyone eats at some point in college. So why do I want to do it? Essentially, Ivan Orkin, the book’s author, made me fall in love with the idea of ramen because of his own passion for it. Plus, there is nothing I like more than a long, difficult task with a questionable outcome. In a way, it’s kind of like writing a book.
After reading the recipe through several times, I realized that the individual components of ramen aren’t difficult to make. The difficulty comes in the length of time needed to make some of the ingredients and the sheer number of ingredients needed for dashi, a fish broth that is one of seven components.
With that in mind, I decided to buy dashi and make everything else--chicken fat, pork fat, shio tare, sofrito, katsuobushi salt, chicken stock, toasted rye noodles and menmo (bamboo shoots)—from scratch. To be fair, I delegated the rye noodles to my husband. He has a pasta machine and isn’t afraid to use it.
It’s definitely going to be a process but it’s nothing that a little determination and an excel spreadsheet can’t fix. Wish me luck!