Often times when my dad was too busy to cook a proper meal, he would make a bowl of Sapporo Ichiban instant ramen and fortified it with a hot dog and canned corn. The corn my sound odd, but its sweetness goes well with the saltiness of the hot dog and instant ramen broth. Once I became old enough to boil a pot of water and make instant ramen by myself, I carried on his tradition whenever I needed something to eat in a pinch. Eventually, I’d come to add my own personal touch to instant ramen by using Mexicorn instead of plain canned corn.
With this month’s Charcutepalooza challenge being hot dogs, I was motivated to make one of the most treasured fast foods from my childhood completely from scratch. Not only would I make the hot dogs from scratch, but the noodles, broth, and Mexicorn as well.
By now, grinding meat has become second nature. However, emulsifying meat was new territory. I was pretty paranoid when the meat was being blended in the food processor. Fears of the emulsification breaking ran wild through my head as I’ve broken a mayonnaise once. Thankfully the emulsification came together without a hitch.
I did have issues stuffing the hot dogs, though. I lost the small plastic propeller from my sausage stuffer Kitchen Aid attachment which caused the meat to extrude unevenly. Although I was successful in the end, stuffing was a bit harder this time around. To smoke the hot dogs, I again used the method of starting the stovetop smoker on the stove for 10 minutes and then transferring it to the oven for about an hour until the hot dogs came to temperature.
The task of making the ramen noodles from scratch seemed ambitious at first, but once I got started I realized how easy it is to make a basic noodle (as long as you have a pasta roller and cutter). Making the noodles simply amounted to mixing the dough in a stand mixer, portioning the dough, running the dough through a pasta roller, and running the dough through a pasta cutter.
One notable thing about the ramen noodles was the addition of xanthan gum. Inspired by Tom’s modernist ravioli, I added 3 grams of xanthan gum to my 300 gram batch of flour. True to his word, my noodles didn’t stick together at all even in the absence of a dusting of flour.
When I gulped down my first spoonful of soup and happily slurped the chewy noodles, I was taken back to my childhood. I could picture myself sitting in the kitchen in Southern California filling my stomach with instant ramen packed with umami. Only this time, the umami came from a broth consisting of homemade dashi and homemade pork stock rather than an MSG-laden packet of soup base. Also, the smokiness of the bonito flakes in the dashi complimented the smokiness of the hot dog quite well.
Overall, the dish and challenge was a resounding success. Not only did I get to relive a moment of my childhood, but I learned how to make an emulsified sausage, ramen noodles, and dashi (which I will be using a lot in the future) from scratch.
Via norecipes.com (with an addition of 3 grams xanthan gum)
Mise En Place
- 250 g corn, cut from the cob
- 130 g bell peppers, skinned and diced
- Melt a pad of butter in a pan over medium heat
- Add corn and bell peppers to pan and saute for a few minutes
- Salt to taste