Saffron Chicken Ramen
Getting back in to the habit of regular recipes, I'm starting with something simple. Ramen is the perfect way to start, with a break away from traditional flavours. A refreshing twist on a delicious classic.
Notes on timing:
Timing here is flexible depending on the variability in size of your ingredients. For the vegetable extras, if they take a shorter time to cook than expected, that's fine- the hot broth being poured on at the end will bring everything back up to a nice temperature. Do try to bring everything together in a timely matter though!
Ingredients (for 1)
1 Nest of Dried Ramen Noodles
1 Radish, Halved sliced paysanne-style
3 Shiitake Mushrooms
1 small handful of cooked, peeled edamame beans
1 small handful of long beans
1/2 a Courgette, cut lengthways
1/2 a Red Onion, finely sliced
1 Spring Onion, finely sliced
1 Boneless Chicken Thigh, Skin on
6 Saffron Threads 1 Centimetre of fresh ginger, (cut to a fine julienne)
1 Clove of Garlic, minced
Start by getting the broth ready - we're going to do this relatively delicately, on the lowest possible heat. Get a small pot out, and to the pot add the garlic and ginger. Fill the pot with about 800ml of water, then add the saffron threads. Transfer pot to the smallest burner, and turn to the lowest heat. We'll let this mixture slowly infuse while we prepare the other stuff.
Next get out another small pot. In that pot put 4 generous tablespoons of mirin, then top up with 200ml of water. Add the shiitake mushrooms, stalk up, and move to the second smallest burner, and turn to a low heat.
Get out a large frying pan and coat with a layer of vegetable oil. Turn the pan to a medium-low heat and gently caramelize the onions on one side of the pan, and the courgette in the middle and half the edamame beans on the other side. Flip the courgette regularly to make sure it doesn't burn, and softens evenly, all the way through. Move the edamame beans around to crisp them evenly. This should take around 15-17 minutes. When the onions and edamame beans are cooked, set them aside separately, but mix the fresh and cooked edamame beans.
About 10 minutes in, pull out another frying pan, coat it in oil and turn to a medium high heat. Rub a good pinch of salt into the chicken skin. Fry the chicken skin-side down until the white begins to creep around to the face-up side, then flip and cook for another five minutes. Check the fattest part to see if its cooked inside.
After you've flipped the chicken, check the following:
The shiitake poaching liquid should have reduced, and become the same viscosity of the original mirin, and a little bit brown from the shiitake. Take the pot off the heat.
Bring a pot of well-salted water and bring to a rolling boil. Add the noodles and cook to the duration on the packet (some will say shorter or longer depending on thickness and whether they are dried or not.) When tender, strain through a sieve and rinse with cold water to halt the cooking process. Transfer to a serving bowl.
The garlic and ginger should be well poached by this stage, and the saffron will have dyed the water a beautiful yellow. Add the long beans to it to gently poach them. Salt to taste - sample it after each addition of salt - you should be able to detect the salt accenting the three flavours, focus on this- can you distinctly taste/smell saffron in the lead? Followed by the sweetness of ginger, and a delicate garlic flavour all with a not-too-overpowering saltiness? If so, you're there.
Slice the courgette and the chicken.
Pour the hot broth over the rinsed noodles. Add all the extras around the side- sweet, meaty shiitake mushrooms (without cooking liquid!), radish, edamame, long beans, courgette, caramelized onions. Lay the chicken across the top, followed by spring onions and microgreens. Optionally, immerse a couple of stalks of coriander in the broth on the side, for another floral dimension. Salt and pepper, serve.