#SamLikesItHot: Bacon-chicken ramen

Sam Oh
Embrace the rainy weather with a bowl of hot ramen

FEELING COLD? FEAR NOT. Let this ramen recipe from Chef Him of Nomama keep you hot. Photo by Sam Oh

MANILA, Philippines – I thought the ramen craze would turn out to be a fleeting culinary trend; but if the number of ramen joints that are sprouting around the metro (a lot of them legit!) is any indication, it looks like this “trend” is here to stay for much longer.

It couldn’t have timed itself better — very few things can warm your soul and revive your spirit like a bowl of noodles in a warm, tasty broth on a rainy day. For that reason, I thought it would be the perfect dish to kick things off for August which I’m dedicating to rainy-day favorites.

I found the perfect chef to hold our hands through this dish, too. 

Chef Him Uy de Baron is the owner and chef of Nomama Artisanal Ramen. He’s all about taking the best and freshest ingredients (preferably local) and doing his thing with lots of love to churn out straight-up good food. 

Now, don’t let the name of the restaurant fool you because there’s more to Chef Him than ramen (although while we’re on the topic, I highly recommend the Wagyu beef cheek ramen).

Making up his menu are re-imagined classics (beef curry rib gyoza), Japanese steaks (Kitayama flank steak — to die for!) and even desserts with a Japanese twist (flour-less chocolate cake with miso salted caramel) to name a few. Please go to his restaurant and experience the awesomeness yourself.

But, yes, back to ramen. After having tried Chef Him’s food, I couldn’t help but feel that I tapped just the right chef for the task. Today, he shares with us his recipe for chicken and bacon ramen.

This recipe makes 4 servings and you’ll need:

1. For the dashi (stock)

  • 5 inch kombu (kelp), washed
  • 2 cups bonito flakes
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 T sugar
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T sake
  • 1 T mirin

2. To make up the rest of the dish

  • 300 g chicken breast fillet, diced (this is about 2 chicken breast halves)
  • 2-inch ginger, minced
  • 100 g bacon 
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • ½ cup shitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 2 T brown miso paste
  • 1 T mirin
  • 2 T sake
  • ¼ cup soy sauce (Chef Him recommends light soy)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup leeks, sliced
  • Nori sheets (dried seaweed) for garnish
  • 4 packs fresh ramen noodles, cooked according to instructions

A lot of these ingredients may sound foreign, but it’s nothing a quick trip to a Japanese grocery store or even the Japanese section of your grocery store can’t fix. 

1. First thing’s first: the dashi. Place the kombu in a pot with water and bring to a simmer. Continue to let simmer for 5 minutes and add in the bonito flakes. Turn off the heat and let it steep for another 3 minutes. 

Photo by Sam Oh

2. Strain off the kombu and bonito flakes. Bring the dashi back to the pot and bring to a simmer. Add in sugar, soy sauce, sake and mirin. Continue simmering for 5 more minutes then set aside. The result is a clear, brown stock as seen below. 

Photo by Sam Oh

3. Add sliced bacon to a sauté pan to start rendering the fat and cook until they’re crisp. Once they start to color, add the chicken and season with freshly ground black pepper. Saute for about a minute over high heat.

Photo by Sam Oh

4. Add in onions and ginger. I’m not a big fan of biting into any detectible form of ginger so I grated mine. Cook for another 2 minutes or until the chicken and onions begin to color. Add sake, mirin, soy sauce, sesame oil and miso. Stir and reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 4 minutes. If this mixture looks dry, you can add a bit of the dashi but we’re aiming for a thick sauce-like consistency here. Set aside.

Photo by Sam Oh

5. To serve, bring the dashi to a boil. Place cooked noodles in individual bowls and top off with hot dashi. Portion the chicken on top of the noodles and garnish with leeks and nori. 

Photo by Sam Oh

Chef Him recommends a dash or 5 of Togarashi (a Japanese spice blend) if you want some heat. Another nice addition would be a soft-boiled egg — boil enough water to cover the egg, drop and cook on a simmer for 5 minutes, cool and peel. 

Oh, I salivate at the sight. For something so simple and easy, this is so flavorful and just plain delicious! 

I was a bit concerned because I tasted the cooling dashi and thought it was bland, but the well-seasoned chicken made up for this once it hit the stock. The finish of the stock was very clean and fresh with some depth thanks to the bacon. 

If, for some reason, you are not able to make the dashi from scratch, you can use dashi powder; but Chef Him warns that it’s no secret what goes in them. I’m no everything-made-from-scratch soldier but the flavor and pleasure of ramen hinges so much on the stock, so I urge you to go the extra mile — it will make a world of difference.

I don’t really care for rainy days but I can already feel my spirits lift thinking of how I can change up the protein and vegetables in this recipe to make it my own. The days ahead are looking just a little bit brighter! – Rappler.com

 

Nomama Artisanal Ramen (@nomamaramen on Twitter) is located at the ground floor of FSS Building 2, Scout Tuason cor Scout Castor Streets, Quezon City. A bit too far for you? Rejoice — a new branch is opening at Capitol Commons, Ortigas in mid-November. 

Check out our other recipes:

Sam Oh

Sam Oh is a professional TV and events host, radio jock and foodie. Catch her on radio at First Thing In The Morning with Sam and Gibb on Magic 89.9, Monday to Thursday, 6am to 9am. She is also a food blogger at Sam Likes It Hot. If you have questions or recipe requests, email desk@rappler.com with subject heading SAM LIKES IT HOT.



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