This is not a traditional ramen whatsoever. We have taken the basic principles of ramen and created our own version, which we serve at lunchtime. Traditionally, ramen stock is made from pork and can be quite rich. I prefer a lighter-style broth, which is the reason I use a chicken stock here.
>> Serves 4
2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
2 boneless chicken thighs, skin on
8 prawn and chicken dumplings (see recipe below) (optional)
500g (1lb 2oz) ramen noodles (buy fresh noodles from a Japanese grocer)
2 spring onions (scallions), green tops only, thinly sliced diagonally
To make the soy eggs, in a small saucepan bring all the ingredients, except the eggs, to a simmer. Cook over low heat for five minutes. Add 500ml (17fl oz/2 cups) cold water, remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Pierce a small hole in the larger end of each egg using a thin metal skewer. Carefully put the eggs in the boiling water and cook for exactly six minutes, stirring slowly for the first 1½ minutes to distribute the heat evenly.
Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with cold water and ice. When the eggs are done, transfer them straight to the ice bath and leave to cool for 15 minutes. Once the eggs are cool, peel them in the water – this will help them keep a perfect exterior.
Transfer the eggs to the soy sauce mixture and marinate in the refrigerator for at least two and up to six hours, making sure they’re completely submerged in the liquid by placing a small plate on top of them.
To serve, take the eggs out of the marinade and cut them in half lengthways. The soy sauce mixture can be reserved for another batch of eggs. (The eggs will keep, refrigerated in a tightly sealed container, for up to a month.)
To make the ramen broth, preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F). Chop the chicken wings into 3cm (1¼in) pieces with a cleaver. Put them in an ovenproof dish and roast for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Heat a chargrill pan over high heat. Cook the carrot and onion for 10 minutes on one side until well charred.
Put all the broth ingredients, except the soy sauce, in a large stainless steel stockpot and bring to a simmer. Simmer for two hours to develop the flavours. Strain the stock through a fine sieve and add the soy sauce.
In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the strained ramen broth to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low.
Heat the grapeseed oil in a non-stick frying pan over low heat. Place the chicken thighs, skin side down, in the pan and cook gently for five minutes, or until golden. Turn the chicken over and cook for a further two minutes, or until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan and slice each thigh into eight pieces.
Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Carefully drop in the dumplings (if using) and cook for 2 minutes. Drop the noodles into the same pot and cook with the dumplings for a further 3 minutes. Strain through a colander.
Divide the noodles and dumplings between four bowls. Place one egg and four slices of chicken in each bowl, then divide the hot broth among the bowls. Top with the spring onion greens and sprinkle with a combination of shichimi togarashi and ground sesame seeds. Finally, tuck three squares of toasted nori into the side of the bowl and serve.
Prawn and chicken dumplings with spiced vinegar
We serve up to 2000 dumplings a day at Supernormal and these prawn and chicken numbers, our riff on a traditional Chinese recipe, are one of our bestsellers. The spiced vinegar recipe makes more than you will need for the dumplings, but it keeps well in the refrigerator and can be used to enliven all sorts of Chinese dishes.
30g (1oz/½ cup) thinly sliced spring onion (scallion)
125ml (4fl oz/½ cup) chilli crisp sauce (we use Lao Gan Ma brand)
In a bowl, combine the prawns with the egg white, ¼ teaspoon of the salt, the tapioca and bicarbonate of soda and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 1 hour.
To make the spiced vinegar, toast the spices in a small, dry frying pan over medium heat until fragrant. Add 200ml (7fl oz) water and bring to the boil. Boil until reduced by half.
Set aside to cool. When cool, strain and discard the spices. Stir in the remaining ingredients and set aside.
Heat the grapeseed oil in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook the garlic chives for one minute then scrape them into a bowl to cool.
Take the prawns from the refrigerator and coarsely dice one-third of them. Finely chop the remainder of the prawns into a mince. Mix the prawn and chicken mince together and combine them by repeatedly throwing the mixture against the inside of the mixing bowl. It will become a sticky, cohesive mass. (This strengthens the protein to give the mixture a firmer texture.)
Finally add the garlic chives, sesame oil, sugar, remaining salt, the fish sauce, soy sauce and white pepper. Thoroughly mix these ingredients through the mince.
To make the dumplings, place a rounded teaspoon of the filling in the centre of a wonton wrapper. Dip your finger in water and moisten the bottom edge of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half towards you, to enclose the filling. Press to seal.
Fold the sealed edge of the wonton back on itself then lightly moisten one corner of the folded edge with water. Finally, taking the two ends in your fingers, bring them together with a twisting action, and press them firmly to join. Repeat with the remaining filling and wrappers.
Cook the dumplings in batches for four minutes in a large saucepan of boiling water. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain. Serve immediately with some spiced vinegar spooned over the top.