Chilly Days Are Better with Pho

Chilly Days Are Better with Pho

One of my all time favorite dishes. It just warms me up from the inside and hits all the things I love: noodles, perfect broth, tons of toppings. It’s never boring. You grab any amount of any topping with each bite. Make it as spicy as you want (or not). As for me…I likey dee spicey!

On the way home from work I pass by Tanh Tanh 3 (they are still working on the site). As I walk to my car from my work’s parking lot I call the restaurant and put in my order to be picked up. Large PH3 (beef noodle soup with well done flank). By the time I get there it’s ready! It’s consistently awesome every time. Everything is packaged separately for you to assemble once you get home. The picture here is in my kitchen with some fried spring rolls in the background (I was hungry!).

I’ve also eaten inside the restaurant and it’s just great. The service is always nice and the food comes out quick and it’s always delicious. No complaints (except maybe their choice in music, but oh well). The decor isn’t anything to write home about but I’d rather it just be clean and have good food (which it does).

If you’re ever in southern New Hampshire I recommend stopping by here for the best Pho that I’ve personally eaten. DISCLAIMER: I haven’t eaten much Pho at other restaurants. My personal sample size is small! 😛

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Jazz Up Your Ramen

Jazz Up Your Ramen

Ramen is my personal choice for lunch on the weekends, especially now that the weather is getting cooler.

The base for this is one of my new favorite brands of ramen, Shin Ramyn. I actually found these in the Asian section at the local grocery store. If you can’t find them there, check your local Asian market. If that isn’t an option, Amazon has a large selection. Amazon has probably the best price, at around $1.25 per pack.

Now for the “jazz it up” part. Here are things you can add:

Egg: Probably the most common (and delicious) thing you can add to ramen is an egg. Either stir it up during the last minute and a half of cook time (while noodles are cooking) or boil beforehand. I like the look and texture of the hard boiled better, but that’s just me. It takes a bit longer to do, but you can boil a few ahead of time and even marinate them in soy sauce (and/or sriracha). Just put the egg into a zip top bag with some soy sauce and let it sit. The longer it sits, the better.
WARNING: this makes the egg taste more salty! Ramen is usually pretty salty, so if you don’t want to add more salt, either cut this step or just use sriracha.
The length of time you boil the egg will give you a more runny or hard yolk. RunnyRunny999 made a nice YouTube video about how to make a sexy hard boiled egg with the yolk juuuuust a bit runny.

Seaweed: This ingredient seems to be getting a bit more common. You can find this in the Asian section at the local grocery store and it’s sold in sheets. You can even buy them in snack packs, which are salty and delicious on their own. The sheets meant for sushi are a bit thicker and won’t get soggy as quickly.
Depending on your personal preference, either add these immediately before eating, or let them sit in the broth (crunchy vs soft seaweed).

Ham: There’s something about the sweetness of ham that goes well with ramen. This bowl of ramen is a spicy version so I wanted something to counter that. This is just one piece of pre-packaged deli ham. Get any flavor you want. Probably a good idea to get a low sodium ham since ramen has more than enough.

Veggies: I can go on and on about all the different vegetables you can put in ramen, but it will vary depending on your taste. In the picture above is a sliced mini bell pepper. Here are things I’ve tried and personally enjoy. Feel free to experiment and add whatever you have available:
bamboo shoots
bok choy – add to water while noodles are cooking for softer leaves
cabbage – either raw or boiled with the noodles, depending how crunchy you want them
mushrooms – pan fry with some oil then add before serving
green onion/scallion – add right before serving for more crunch
pepper – sweet or spicy
lettuce – on top right before serving for a refreshing crunch
corn – if frozen, cook beforehand then add on top before serving

Meat: The list for this can be just as long as veggies. Whatever you have on hand and whatever you feel like experimenting with. Remember that this will be going in a salty broth, so whatever seasonings you add may be different than if you were eating the meat on its own. Be wary of the amount of soy sauce you use.The ham mentioned above was just to cover what’s in the photo above, but here are other things to try:
ground pork – pan fry with sesame oil, chili oil, ginger, and garlic
deli meat – ham is my favorite so far. Have not tried others yet.
chicken – sliced chicken breast boiled or pan fried
sliced pork – pan fry with whatever seasoning you prefer

Seasonings: As mentioned above, be wary of the salt content. You are adding this into an already seasoned broth. The seasonings you add will vary depending on the brand of ramen you purchase, your personal taste, and what you have on hand. Here are some suggestions:
soy sauce – SODIUM WARNING!
red bean jam
sesame seeds
sesame oil
hot chili oil
shichimi togarashi
sriracha
ground pepper
basil
cilantro

Lunch was so good I’m having it again for dinner: Tantanmen

Lunch was so good I'm having it again for dinner: Tantanmen

Saw this on Cooking With Dog about a month ago and it hit all my happy points: noodles, seasoned pork, spicy. It didn’t seem insanely difficult to prepare (brown pork, add garlic and ginger, seasonings, boil noodles, mix broth, chop veggies, assemble, consume.

Searching for the ingredients the first time around at the local grocery store proved to be a flop. They only had organic super tiny baby bok choy for $6! Literally, the entire thing fit in the palm of my hand. Also, I could not find sesame paste, bean paste, or hot chili oil. *sigh*

Take two, this morning at the LARGER and still somewhat local grocery store. They had it all except for the sesame paste. Hey, I have sesame seeds and olive oil. How hard can it be? What you see in the broth is the result: lumps. It’s not super creamy smooth but it tasted damn good. I actually took a rolling pin and a small glass bowl (great for friction, right? Yea, no. Yes, I could have used food processor…if I wanted to make a LOT of paste. No clue how long it would last and didn’t want to waste anything. But at the very least, it’s doable like this.

For the ramen noodles, I really wanted fresh ones (as the recipe suggests). The only fresh noodles that were available were Chinese stir fry noodles (in the produce section by the wonton wrappers). They are a little bit chewier than ramen but they seemed to work really well.

Why didn’t I go to the Asian market where I could easily find all this stuff? Because it wasn’t open 😦

I didn’t add any twists to CWD’s recipe (other than hand smashing the sesame seeds with some olive oil). You can find all details here.

But seriously though, I’m about to make and eat this again.

Favorite Summer Dish: Hiyashi Chuka

Favorite Summer Dish: Hiyashi Chuka

What I like about this dish is you can get everything from the local grocery store. Mirin might be a stretch for some stores, but since it’s used in the marinade for the chicken it’s not the end of the world if you don’t use it.

I didn’t have beni shoga on hand (pickled ginger). DO NOT confuse beni shoga with sushi ginger! The taste is a bit different. In an absolute pinch you could probably use it, but I just omitted it, despite me actually having sushi ginger in the house.

Traditionally this recipe doesn’t use karaage chicken (fried chicken), but it looked too good not to try. This dish is normally served cold, so the warm chicken made a neat twist. Also, use this opportunity to make extra karaage for your bento! It’s one of my favorite meat dishes to use since it’s bite size and tastes good at room temperature. I usually use chicken breast for a bit less fat content, but if you are a fan of dark meat then certainly use the thighs! The flavor is really delicious with the marinade.

Making the egg sheet and cutting/frying the chicken was the most “labor intensive” part. AKA, this is an easy recipe to make. It’s also pretty cheap and filling.

I could go into detail about how I made this, but I followed runnyrunny999’s recipe.