Posts tagged noodles
Spicy Pork Mazesoba
Spicy Pork Mazesoba - Eat Cho Food

Alright. I think I’m starting to miss all my cookware and herb friends back in my kitchen. Is that crazy? Should I try to speak to more humans during the work day? I’ve only been away from San Francisco for almost a week now, but I feel the gravitational pull of my orange standmixer growing stronger. I oddly miss organizing my kitchen tool drawer and the space underneath our cabinets where stale loaves of bread, nuts, and random leftover baked goods go to die. Okay, yeah… I need to talk to more humans!

The point is… I miss my kitchen! Nothing against my mom’s kitchen, but I love feeling the groove of knowing where everything is in all the cabinets and having access to my favorite mini silicone spatulas within arm’s reach. An artist needs her tools! I’m also concerned that Reuben isn’t feeding himself properly. Last I heard, he bought himself a roast chicken and was planning on living off that for a week…

I’m sure he’s fine.

There’s about a bajillion frozen dumplings in our freezer right now, so he won’t starve. I’ll have to hurry back and get some noodles back into his system though!

Did someone say, “noods?”

Just looking at this mazesoba is making me hungry. I first discovered mazesoba when my parents and I explored Vancouver for a few days back in June. We went to Kokoro Tokyo for lunch and it might have been our favorite meal out of the whole trip! It also didn’t hurt that they offered Hokkaido milk soft serve too : ))))) There, I was introduced to this comforting and addicting saucy noodle dish. Ever since then, I’ve been dreaming of recreating it! Today is the day I share this wonderful dish with you!

Spicy Pork Mazesoba - Eat Cho Food
Spicy Pork Mazesoba - Eat Cho Food
Spicy Pork Mazesoba - Eat Cho Food

What is Mazesoba?

Mazesoba literally means “mixed noodles” in Japanese. It is sometimes referred to as “abura soba” or a dry ramen. It might not look like a likely summer dish, but these noodles are a nice middle ground between something like cold sesame noodles and a giant bowl of hot pho when it’s 90 degrees out and humid as hell. To be honest with you, I would eat noodle soup in any weather… the sweat doesn’t scare me! BUT for those of you who are more sane and want the comforts of noodles without also sweating into your food, mazesoba is a great choice!

The dish traditionally consists of ground pork that’s cooked in lard and soy sauce until you get a thick meat sauce. Almost like an asian bolognese, I guess. I don’t cook with lard so I used olive oil instead and I cooked the pork in a savory sauce consisting of regular and dark soy, sugar, and bit of red chili flakes. Then you top it with things like crispy pork belly, kimchi, scallions, furikake, avocado, raw onion, nori, and bamboo shoots. Pretty much anything can be a topping. Mix up the noodles and you got some mazesoba!

Spicy Pork Mazesoba - Eat Cho Food

The noodles we had at Kokoro Tokyo were house made and included some whole wheat flour in the dough, which gave it a really nice and subtle nutty flavor. Texture wise, I thought it was incredibly similar to udon noodles. While you can attempt making your own homemade partially whole wheat udon noodles (I tried… and I don’t want to talk about it), it is like soooooo fine if you just buy some noodles from your local asian market. I love buying the fresh udon noodles from Twin Marquis (shown in the photos), but I think those dried packages of udon or soba noodles should work too. The dried packages just won’t have the same satisfying chewiness as fresh udon noodles.

Once you have the noodles and meat sauce ready, you’re all set to assemble your bowls! I topped my bowls with scallions, furikake, raw onion, and a pinch of chili flake for a little extra heat. DON’T FORGET THE EGG YOLK THOUGH! You must have a raw egg on top! If you’re squeamish about a raw egg yolk, just make sure you purchase fresh organic eggs and that the meat sauce is fairly warm so that the heat cooks the egg yolk a little once you mix everything together. The egg yolk binds everything together into a wonderfully rich, creamy, salty, and spicy sauce that perfectly coats all the noodles! It’s the best thing! Then once you finish eating your noodles, you’re typically left with a bit of meat sauce at the bottom, which is why a lot of restaurants will over you a free mini bowl of rice to mix into the remaining sauce. Bonus carbs might be my love language!

Spicy Pork Mazesoba - Eat Cho Food

Spicy Pork Mazesoba

serves 2-4

materials:

1 lb fresh udon noodles (dried udon or soba work too)
1 lb ground pork
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp red chili flake - plus more for topping
3 garlic cloves - minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp dark soy
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 cup minced white onion
2 green onions - sliced
2-4 egg yolks
furikake - for topping

steps:

  1. Boil udon according to the packaged directions and set aside.

  2. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. At the ground pork, red chili flake, and garlic into the skillet. Break up the pork with your spatula and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  3. Whisk together the soy sauce, dark soy, water, cornstarch, sugar, and white pepper in a small bowl. Pour the sauce over the pork. Stir and continue to cook the pork for an additional 3-4 minutes, until the pork cooked through and the sauce has thickened. Remove the skillet from the heat and assemble your bowls.

  4. Place a bundle udon noodles in a bowl. Top with a scoop of the spicy pork sauce, an egg yolk, some minced white onions, sliced green onions, furikake, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. Give it a good mix and enjoy! Assemble more bowls with the remaining ingredients!

Bonus step:

  1. Cook some extra white rice to enjoy with the remaining meat sauce at the bottom of your bowl!

Coconut Sesame Ramen
Coconut Sesame Ramen - Eat Cho Food

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, then you know that instant ramen is one of my favorite foods. I’ve literally been consuming it since I could conquer solid foods! My mom would make instant beef flavored ramen topped with spam and a fried egg pretty regularly. It was a quick, easy, and tasty meal that we always enjoyed. When I went to architecture school, I was sort of shocked that no one ever put toppings on their ramen. 

“How could you not even fry an egg to put on top?!”

“You’re literally going to eat ramen out of the styrofoam?!”

“What do you mean you don’t have your own personal noodle soup bowl complete with chopsticks and a soup spoon?!”

I had a lot of questions… and I felt like I needed to educate everyone who would listen to me about the endless possibilities of instant ramen. So, I had like 1 person who was interested. Still to this day, I ALWAYS have a few packages of instant ramen in our kitchen. They are perfect for quick breakfasts, a lazy lunch, or a salty late night treat after staying out late to go see a bluegrass concert. Okay, that last situation might only apply to Reuben and me. I always need to add toppings though. An egg at least to make it feel like a well rounded meal. You can add practically whatever you have in your pantry or fridge. For a complete bowl of ramen you need a protein and a vegetable (or something green) to compliment the noodles and soup.

Coconut Sesame Ramen - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Sesame Ramen - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Sesame Ramen - Eat Cho Food

Here are Some of My Favorite Ramen Toppings!

Proteins:

Spam - classic topping, don’t be afraid of the canned meat
Soft boiled egg - 6-7 minutes is perfect in my book
Fried Egg - The crispy edges are a great texture with the soft chewy noodles and soup!
Char Siu - expert level topping
Fish Tofu - sounds weird, but go buy some from your local asian market and thank me later
Regular Tofu - silken tofu is wonderful in soup!
Leftover rotisserie chicken - throw that leftover breast right in there!
Shrimp - might be my favorite!

Veggies:
Chinese Broccoli
Spinach
Carrots
Corn - I guess that’s a grain… but it’s still tasty!
Edamame
Mushrooms
Radishes 
Kale

For most of these veggies, you can just boil them in the broth to cook them!

Extras:

Nori Sheets - I always have some in my pantry
Furikake - also always in my pantry
Scallions - everything is better with scallions!
Sesame Seeds
Crushed Roasted Peanuts or Cashew - adds a nice texture
Citrus slices- only if it works with your soup flavor
Sambal/Chili Oil

Options are endless!

Coconut Sesame Ramen - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Sesame Ramen - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Sesame Ramen - Eat Cho Food

How to Make Your Instant Ramen Fancy! 

Choose your noodle.

For this Coconut Sesame Ramen, I started by using Ottogi Sesame Ramen, which is a brand from South Korea! Their noodles are probably the chewiest and most satisfying instant noodles I’ve ever encountered! It is always so disappointing when there are barely any noodles in the package and they end up tasting like limp cardboard. These are great! I encourage you to take a few minutes studying the instant ramen aisle of your local asian market. There are so many great options there!

Cook the noodles and the soup in separate pots.

It may seem like an unnecessary extra step for such a simple recipe, but trust me. Cooking the noodles in a separate pot and rinsing them under cold water will allow your noodles to stay super al dente. Once the noodles are combined with the broth they will continue to cook and we don’t want soggy noodles.

To make your soup broth, boil water, coconut milk, and the dried soup mix. Then add in your protein. In this case, we’re going to add some shrimp. The shrimp will impart a lot of great seafood flavor in your soup! If you’re going to add a vegetable that needs to soften, you would add it now too. Cook until all the contents are at your desired doneness.

Assemble your noodle bowl.

Place your noodle bundle in a bowl. Carefully pour the soup over the noodles. Then top with your protein, veggies, and extra toppings. You can either just throw everything in there or take an extra minute to compose everything for a quick Instagram! 

This Ottogi Coconut Sesame Ramen is something I wish I knew about when I was in college! The noodles have such a great texture. The soup is spicy, rich, and a little creamy from the coconut milk. And lastly, the toppings are fun and diverse, which make taking each bite of this ramen feel like a little flavor adventure! 

Coconut Sesame Ramen - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Sesame Ramen - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Sesame Ramen - Eat Cho Food

Coconut Sesame Ramen

serves 1

Materials:

1 package of Ottogi Sesame Ramen
1 ½ cup water - for soup
½ cup canned coconut milk
3 shrimps - peeled, but with tails and head still on 
Purple Daikon - thinly sliced
Radishes - thinly sliced
Lime wedge - for garnish
Nori Sheets - for topping
Scallion Greens - for topping

Steps:

  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the ramen noodles into the water and cook for 2 minutes, until al dente. Drain and rinse noodles under cold water. Place drained noodles in a bowl.

  2. While the water is boiling in step 1, bring 1 ½ cups of water and coconut milk to a simmer. Add in dried soup mix and the shrimp. Boil for 5 minutes.

  3. Pour the soup over the cooked ramen noodles. Top with thinly sliced daikon and radishes, scallions, cooked shrimp, nori sheets. Finish with a squeeze of lime.

Thanks, Ottogi for sponsoring this post!

Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls
Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls - Eat Cho Food

I don't think I encountered a single vegetable this past weekend. Okay, there were some magical ramps on a pizza Reuben made on Sunday and I may have made a basic salad to accompany the pizza so we wouldn't die. Do mixed greens out of bag even count as a vegetable though? We had a very indulgent weekend of dumplings, pizza, mochi cake, beer, and park snacks. Every once in a awhile Reuben and I will break out of our homebody comfy clothes and actually go outside to a park to socialIzen’s with other people. There were even strangers there! GASP. Despite our tendency to grumble like we are 80 years old on the drive over to the park full of young people on blankets, we had a wonderful sunny time catching up with old friends and coworkers that I see everyday! 

Oh! Oh! I also want to tell you that I'm hosting my very first dumpling workshop! It's going to be a blast! If you also live in the Bay Area or really love dumplings and are willing to travel for them, you can grab yourself a seat at my workshop under the shop tab of this website! It's going to be sort of intimate since it will be my first time teaching, so hurry up and get a spot while they last! I was practicing my pleats again this weekend and thinking through how I would explain all the steps and intricacies of making dumplings to a real life human. I think I have a good plan though! This blog, Instagram, and the internet in general is fun or whatever, but what I really really really love is feeding people in real life. I just can't wait to make enough dumplings to feed an army with some new friends!

Alright, enough dumpling talk. Let's talk noods! And vegetables because I desperately need those back in my life. A variation of this noodle bowl is on constant rotation in our house. It's so quick and easy to make. Plus you can literally throw in whatever vegetable or protein you have on hand. The overall flavor guidelines of this bowl are inspired by Vietnamese Vermicelli Bowls or Bun Bo Xao. So think salty, sour, sweet, and a little funky. Don't be afraid of fish sauce! It adds such wonderful flavor. Both the tofu and cabbage are crisped up in the oven together. The tofu gets a nice crunchy texture with the help of some draining beforehand and a much needed flip in the middle of the baking process. Red cabbage is one of my favorite vegetables at the moment. It's so versatile and lasts a super long time in the refrigerator. You can eat it raw in a slaw or quickly sautéed it in a pan, but my absolute favorite way to cook it is by cutting thick slices of cabbage and roasting them in the oven at a high heat. The cabbage caramelizes and crisps in the oven and it's the most wonderful thing! 

What really ties this whole bowl of freshness and goodness together is the dressing! It's a blend of fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, rice vinegar, and Brightland Awake Olive Oil. The Awake olive oil is delicious and has a really unique flavor in my opinion. When tasting it on it's own it starts off fruity and then you get a really strong and almost peppery flavor, which works beautifully with the sour, sweet, and funky flavors from the other dressing ingredients! Brightland Olive Oil has some of the most beautiful packaging too! Like, just look at that bottle! You'll want to display it on your counter all the time. I also love that their oil is sourced all in California (probably not that far from me actually) and they value pure and honest food production. You know you’re getting the good stuff!

Enjoy the rest of your week and enjoy the fresh noods!


Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls

serves 2

materials:

1 block firm tofu
½ head of red cabbage
8oz rice noodles
Brightland Awake Olive Oil
1 tsp sesame oil
Salt + Pepper
1 large carrot - peeled into ribbons or shredded
Crushed cashews or peanuts - optional
Sesame seeds - optional
Thai basil leaves - optional
Lime wedges - for garnish

dressing Materials:

Juice of 2 limes
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp rice vinegar
¼ cup Brightland Awake Olive Oil
Pinch of salt

steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut tofu into small pieces, about 1” cubes. Place tofu on a baking tray lined with paper towels and cover the top of the tofu with more paper towels. Press down on the tofu and allow the tofu to drain for at least 15 minutes. This extra step will help insure an extra crispy texture!

  2. Cut red cabbage into 3/4” slices, try to keep each slice intact. Brush a baking tray with 2 tsp of olive oil. Place cabbage on the oiled tray and season with ½ tsp of salt, few cracks of black pepper, sesame oil, and another 2 tsp of olive oil. Rub all the seasonings into the tops of the cabbage slices. Set aside.

  3. Remove tofu from tray and discard paper towels. Brush baking tray with 2 tsp of olive oil. Place tofu on the oiled tray and season with ½ tsp salt, few cracks of black pepper, and another 2 tsp of olive oil. Place tray of tofu and cabbage in the oven and bake for 38-45 minutes. Flip the tofu halfway through. The cabbage will caramelize and the tofu will crisp up.

  4. While the tofu and cabbage are baking, prepare your rice noodles according to the package directions. Once cooked, drain and rinse under cold water. Set noodles aside.

  5. To make dressing, whisk together lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, olive oil, and salt in a small bowl or jar. Set aside.

  6. To assemble, place a bundle of noodles in a bowl and top with tofu, cabbage, carrots, cashews, sesame seeds, and a few basil leaves. Squeeze a lime wedge over the noodles, add dressing, and give everything a good mix. Enjoy!