Spicy Miso Chicken Ramen

By spicy, I mean as spicy as you like …. me? Not so spicy. I’ve also been “burnt” a few times by my chili flakes. They are made from our homegrown dried chili peppers and they pack some heat!

Add in whatever vegetables you like – this crispy chicken katsu was perfect with tonights crispy zucchini spears, along with sautéed bok choy and yellow peppers.


INGREDIENTS

  • 3 strips thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 6-8 cups low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable if you like)
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (I like low sodium)
  • 1/4 cup miso paste
  • 2-4 tablespoons chile paste(I use Gochujang)
  • 4 squares Ramen noodles
  • 4 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • 2-3 mini bok choy
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil (toasted is best)
  • soft or hard boiled eggs, for serving (optional, and not in my house)
  • Toasted nori sheets, sesame seeds, green onions, and chili oil, for serving 

CHICKEN KATSU 

  • 4 chicken cutlets, or 2 boneless chicken breasts, sliced in half horizontally
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • kosher salt & freshly ground pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. 1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, shallots, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 3 minutes. Pour in the broth, milk, and soy sauce, then whisk in the miso and chili paste. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer 10 minutes.
  2. 2. Meanwhile, make the Katsu. Place the Panko and sesame seeds in a shallow bowl. Season with salt & pepper. Dredge both sides of the chicken through the Panko, pressing to adhere by using your fist to really pound the crumbs in. Place the chicken on a plate.3. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook until golden brown on the other side, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and season with salt. Slice into thin strips.
  3. I use this same fry pan to saute the bok choy just until slightly softened. Wipe out most of the oil and it will be perfect, soaking up the sesame seeds left behind by the chicken.
  4. 4. To the soup, stir in the noodles, spinach, and sesame oil. Let sit 5 minutes or until the noodles are soft. (or precook your noodles)
  5. 5. To serve, divide the noodles between bowls and ladle over the soup back overtop. Add the chicken and bok choy. Top as desired with eggs, green onions, sesame seeds, and chili oil. Serve immediately.

I’m not going to pretend this is authentic Japanese Ramen ….. this is perfect for the home cook, it delivers on so many levels, flavour, simplicity and comfort! (to start) We aren’t fond of eggs in our house, so we always leave those off, but if you love eggs, make sure to add. Jade, this is perfect for your newly laying hens and those beautiful eggs they are producing.

Get everything chopped while you crisp up the bacon. You could omit the bacon, but I think it is a quick, week night hack for getting that traditional flavour of pork belly into a ramen dish.
Saute it all up until those onion bits begin to caramelize. See my gorgeous wooden utensil? Hayley made that and it makes cooking more fun.
Today’s version of vegetables and toppings. Use whatever you have on hand! We have enough for two nights, so I think my next dinner I will omit the chicken katsu, and serve with prawn & vegetable tempura.
Adding the sesame seeds to the panko gives the chicken lots of flavour and extra crunch.
I like to use the same pan – remove the excess oil, leaving the sesame seeds and bits of panko, then sauté the vegetables until tender but still have some crunch.
Tonight we served this with green onion pancakes, and my toasted sesame vinaigrette.

This recipe came from Half Baked Harvest ….Tieghan calls it a 30 minute dish, let me know if that works out for you …. it sure didn’t for me! If I had to, it might be faster but after a day of desk work I don’t mind taking my time. Hop on over to her website if you haven’t already, she not only has fabulous recipes, she has lots of tips and videos to make sure your home meals aren’t getting boring during this “stay at home” Covid rut!

Cacio e Pepe with bacon!

Every time I make spaghetti carbonara I think it would benefit from a bunch of crispy bacon, so here it is … a tangled mash up of cacio e pepe and carbonara. I think it is perfect! Also quick and easy.

A tangle of creamy pasta, sharp cheese and crunchy bacon can’t be beat. Apologies to Italian pasta grannies for any offence this mash up could cause, but it sure is delicious.

Kosher salt

  • 6 oz. pasta (such as egg tagliolini, bucatini, or spaghetti)
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed, divided
  • 1tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • 8 oz cooked bacon, chopped
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • ¾ cup finely grated Grana Padano or Parmesan
  • ⅓ cup finely grated Pecorino

This serves 2 as a generous dinner helping – adjust for your table!

Slice bacon into thin strips and cook over medium heat, stirring often to separate, until crispy and cooked through. Set aside on paper towel lined plate to drain and cool.

Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a 5-qt. pot. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain, reserving ¾ cup pasta cooking water.

Meanwhile, melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add pepper and cook, swirling pan, until toasted, about 1 minute.

Add ½ cup reserved pasta water to skillet and bring to a simmer. Add pasta and remaining butter. Reduce heat to low and add whisked egg, Grana Padano, stirring and tossing with tongs until melted. Do this relatively quickly so the egg doesn’t scramble. You only want it to cook through via the hot pasta. Remove pan from heat; add Pecorino, stirring and tossing until cheese melts, sauce coats the pasta, and pasta is al dente. (Add more pasta water if sauce seems dry.) Transfer pasta to warm bowls and serve, with a generous helping of more Parmesan and cracked pepper.

If you only have one of the cheeses, that is fine too – I’ve had to adapt this a few times during our Covid restrictions to work with whatever I had on hand.

Serve with this aromatic green onion and pepper focaccia and a big salad.

Brownie Cookies

A little hit of salt, crinkly tops and a moist chewy interior. These cookies are so good!

Brookies??? If that isn’t a word it should be. My nephew and wife have started up Silver Star Chocolate Company, and these cookies were the perfect way for me to try out their chocolate. OMG. So so good.

  • 8 oz chopped dark chocolate – 60% recommended but their chocolate is a higher percentage so I used half semi sweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup & 2 tbsp packed, light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • coarse sea salt for sprinkling

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350

Melt butter with chopped chocolate and set aside to cool slightly.

In a lare bowl add white sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer for at least 7 minutes. (honestly – 7 minutes). If you have a stand mixer use that – and set your timer. 7 minutes is a lot longer than you think it is if you are holding an electric hand mixer. This is what allows the eggs to create that luscious crinkly top when baking.

Mix in the melted chocolate and butter.

Sift together flour, cocoa powder salt and baking powder. Stir into egg/melted chocolate mixture just until combined.

Use a small scoop and scoop on to parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake the cookies for 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes to set before transferring to a cooling rack to completely cool.

These cookies are absolutely fantastic! Made originally for Christmas giving, now I love to keep them in the freezer for that moment when you just need a brownie!

Obviously I have trouble keeping to a straight line ……
I’m sure it is the quality of the chocolate that made these cookies extra delicious, but whatever chocolate you do have will produce a cookie you want on repeat!

Malaysian Laksa

It’s cold around here! If you are looking for a big bowl of comfort, well here you go! Dress it up however you like, made it vegetarian if so inclined, whatever you do, give it a try. This is perfect for a chilly night.

Once you have tried this creamy coconut broth, laced with spicy chili and fresh crunchy vegetables you will be putting this on repeat!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 tbsp oil
  • 2 garlic cloves , minced
  • 2 cm (1 inch ish) ginger, grated
  • 1 lemongrass , white part grated
  •  2 birds eye chillis , finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup (175g) laksa paste 
  • 400g / 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth 
  • 2 tsp fish sauce (sub soy but fish sauce recommended)
  • 2 tsp chili sauce
  • cooked noodles, either rice vermicelli or Udon noodles
  • any cooked protein if you like ….. chicken, prawns, crispy tofu, the options are up to you
  • cilantro, roughly chopped
  • sliced green onions
  • bean sprouts

METHOD

  • Heat oil in a large saucepan or small pot over medium low heat. Add garlic and ginger, sauté for 20 seconds, then add lemongrass and chillis. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Add laksa paste. Turn heat up to medium and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, or until fragrant.
  • Add chicken stock, coconut milk, fish sauce and 2 tsp of Chilli Sauce. Place lid on and simmer on for 10 minutes.
  • Adjust to taste using lime juice (for sour) and fish sauce (for saltiness). Leave on turned off stove with lid on for 5 minutes.

To assemble, place noodles in bowl, add in vegetables and bean sprouts – top with broth and then any of the fixings you like

Personal touches added to each bowl make all the difference. I used the “Umami Crisp” from Big Smoke in Whistler, BC to add in place of the chili paste.
I love to make this a one dish meal, so I saute or steam a bunch of fresh veg for color flavour and brightness. Use whatever you like. Cook separately from the laksa broth so you retain their color and brightness.

I’ve tried a number of laksa recipes, and they tend to disappoint. Part of the problem is a difficulty sourcing different pastes and sauces where we live. Laksa paste itself is a very complex flavour compound. This recipe came from Recipe Tin Eats, and it was her recommendation to use a paste that convinced me to try again. Nagi was right on with that suggestion, by the time you have enough of the right ingredients to make laksa paste, you would have to be making it frequently to keep all your supplies fresh. Hop on over to her blog for even more components to this dish, even recipes to make your own stock and chili paste.

We love this served with my green onion pancakes, perfect for dipping!

Miso Herb Roasted Veg stock

The perfect base for any kind of soup – wonton tonight, laksa another night.

Cold dreary days lead to healing soups! Even the start of this, with the miso coated vegetables roasting in the oven promises great flavour. I promise you will feel like brighter days are coming by the time you finish this bowl of deliciousness. (Is that a word?)

  • 4 tbsp white miso paste
  • 3 tbsp grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil)
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 3 cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 sheet of dried seaweed (optional but recommended)
  • 1 large yellow onion, skin on, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, scrubbed clean and thinly sliced
  • 2 large celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 2 heads of garlic, cut in half, skins on
  • 4 inch knob of ginger, unpeeled, thinly sliced
  • 5 sprigs parsley (or any other herb you have around!)

To finish: juice of one lemon, salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325 and cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl combine miso, oil and water, whisk to combine.

Place piece of seaweed and all prepared veg on the parchment and toss well with the miso mixture.

Roast for at least an hour, until veg are lightly browned.

Turn into a large stock pot, and cover with 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 1-2 hours.

Strain the stock off, discard the vegetables (you’ve cooked all the goodness out of them!) and add in the juice of 1 lemon, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.

This is delicious!!! I got it from the kitchen of Jillian Harris, she calls it Gut Healing Veggie Broth, and it is a sure fired winner.

Don’t you just know how good it is going to be already??
Once that miso gets tossed in there with it all and starts roasting your whole house smells fabulous.
The broth alone is a great starting place for amazing soups.
LAKSA – totally delicious with this stock.