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Before we kick off, let’s clear a few things up: this is a Japanese dish, despite ‘Taiwan’ featuring in the name. It is also (generally) made with ramen noodles. After making it for the first time, I looked it up to get a little history. It is said to originate in Nagoya (Aichi Prefecture, Japan), where it was first served in a ramen shop (where the owner was Taiwanese – there you go!) as a way to use up pork mince mix that had not turned out quite right. It does have a bit of a Taiwanese twist, combining spicy meat, fresh veggies, and a raw egg. Its lack of soup sets it apart from other ramen dishes.
I saw the recipe on the Tasty Japan Facebook page, and then tweaked it to suit us and the ingredients we had at home. Last time I made it with fresh soba noodles and it was delicious, but this time I will be sticking with ramen (I am using fresh, but you could easily use dried or even instant noodles minus the flavour packets…)
I am terrible at following recipes, and like to think of them more as guidelines. When dinner time comes around, I reach for whatever we have lying around and go from there. Don’t worry if you don’t have the right ingredients at home – there will be a way to improvise.
There is no soup base to this ramen, just a simple sauce to coat the noodles. This means the flavours of the meat, noodles, and vegetables really stand out. Coat your noodles well to give them a lovely sheen.
Now, don’t go worrying about salmonella – the heat from the other ingredients will help cook the egg, and the lack of white means there is no unpleasant texture. If you prefer, I imagine you could poach the yolk, just a little extra work. Or throw a fried egg on there instead! Whatever works for you.
Note: I am not putting quantities as I tend not to measure anything. Use your judgement based on your taste and appetite!• Noodles (of choice, traditionally ramen noodles)
• Pork mince
• Red chilies
• Soy sauce
• Sesame oil
• Olive oil
• Spring onions, bean sprouts, pak choy…. – veggies of choice that do not require cooking (or cook previously)
• 1 egg per person (yolk only)
• Cook noodles per packet instruction. Drain. Set aside
• In a wok or frying pan, heat oil, fry off pork with chopped chillies, ginger, and crushed garlic
• The original recipe used chili bean paste which I do not have, so I added a little tomato paste for consistency
• Add in a dash of soy and mirin. Cover and set aside
• In your serving bowls, mix a small amount of soy sauce, olive oil, sesame oil and anything else you fancy. This will be the sauce that coats your noodles
• Microwave your sauce (in each serving bowl) for about a minute
• Add a portion of cooked noodles to each bowl, and toss in the sauce to coat
• Add your veggies around the edge of your bowl
• Place a small mound of pork mix into the centre of the bowl, on top of the noodles
• Create a small well in meat. Separate egg yolk from white and place it into the well
• Top with pepper/sesame seeds/seaweed or anything else that takes your fancy
• Mix it all together and it is ready to eat!
Try this vegetarian variation by replacing the minced meat with finely diced vegetables. Here we have a spicy mix of carrot, peppers, aubergine, cabbage, and onion.