#COOKING: ABALONE AND RAMEN RECIPE
Abalone and Ramen. One of the most sumptuous items you can have in Chinese Cuisine is Abalone. This nutritious shellfish, high in protein and Omega-3 is reserved for special celebrations and is on the pricier side. It has been dubbed “White Gold” for the amount of money it fetches. While it can be rather tricky to prepare as it can succumb to toughness if overcooked, fortunately, you can find amazing quality Abalone canned from places like China and Chile, which save you a lot of work. A good quality can of Abalone would be around $35 CAN for about six pieces (about $6-7 a piece). The trick is to prepare on low heat and at a short duration. Traditional Chinese Cuisine often contains different types of sun-dried seafoods and fungus, reconstituted and stewed. These earthy-woodsy umami flavours complement Abalone perfectly. Where do you get this stuff? Try Chinese Herbal/Health Food Shops as a starting point.
This dish is a celebratory one! Dishes like this run deep in tradition.
6 pieces of canned Abalone, sauce reserved
4 cups chicken stock
6 or more stalks Baby Bok Choy, rinsed
4 or more individual portions of Ramen
10 Shiitake Mushrooms, soaked in water one hour, stems chopped
Handful Dried Cloud Ear Fungus, soaked in water one hour
Handful of Dried Fat Choy (Black Moss), soaked in water one hour
Handful of Dried Daylillies, soaked in water one hour and stems chopped
3-4 Dried Conpoy, soaked in warm water one hour
8-10 tbsps Oyster Sauce
2 tbsps Organic Raw Sugar
2 tbsps Shaoxing Cooking Wine
1 1″ knob of organic ginger, minced
1 stalk green onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
5-6 tbsps Tapioca/Corn Starch
Sea salt to taste
green onion, ginger and garlic in oil. Add wine and oyster sauce and cook till it bubbles. Remove from heat.
2. With Slow Cooker on high heat, cook Conpoy, Shiitake
, Fat Choy, Cloud Ear Fungus
in Chicken Broth.
3. Add-in Oyster Sauce mixture from skillet and cook for 4 hours, reducing to low heat till pot boils.
4. Add-in reserved sauce from canned Abalone. Bring to boil.
5. Add Abalone pieces and simmer for half an hour.
6. In small bowl, mix starch and equal parts water, forming a slurry. Stir into the slow cooker mixture.
7. Allow sauce to thicken, stirring occasionally, keeping on low heat.
8. Prepare noodles and Bok Choy
. Set aside.
9. Place noodles in bowl, top with Bok Choy
, Abalone and stewed mixture, ladling sauce on-top.
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong)
#FOOD: SANTOUKA RAMEN ARRIVES IN TORONTO
So basically, Toronto has Ramen Fever. Yet another Competitor has entered the landscape of Japanese Noodle Shops in the City and based on the recommendation of a friend Laura, who actually has a Ramen Blog named It’s Raining Mian, myself and a few of my BFFs decided to give Santouka a try. Luckily enough, the Shop actually was open on New Year’s Day and this was the perfect way to cap-off a festive and chilly Holiday.
Santouka, which actually translates to “Mountain-Top Fire”, is the first Ontario (British Columbia got it first) addition to the internationally-popular Chain of Restaurants which trace back to 1988 when Founder Hitoshi Hatanaka opened his first ever shop in Hokkaido. Hatanaka was inspired greatly by the Rocky of Japanese Food Dramas, Tampopo, which stars a familiar face to North Americans, Ken Watanabe.
I myself tried their spicy Limited Edition Kara Miso Ramen, showcasing first and foremost their lusciously tender two-day braised Pork Jowls. Unlike some of the other Shops which dress their Noodles with Meat, the delicious Jowls were served on a separate plate, giving you the option to dip the slices into the immensely flavourful Broth. In my honest opinion, there isn’t a more tasty bowl of Ramen in the City. Fear not if the concept of Spicy Miso Broth or Jowls scare you, standard Ramen with Fish Cakes and leaner Pork Cuts are available in three other varieties of Broths: Shoyu (Soy Sauce), Shio (Sea Salt) and Miso (Bean Paste-based).
Despite a 30-minute wait and what unjustly seemed like a mad rush to get out of our table, the Hot Spot is somewhere I likely would return to even if it lacks the ambiance of the likes of Momofuku Noodle Bar and Kinton Ramen. $17 for a bowl of Ramen I admit is a bit on the pricy side, but the quality is there to back it all up.
Santouka is located at 81 Dundas Street East at Church Street. Visit their Official Website for more.
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong)