Ramen eggs. Deep joy! Let me introduce you to your best friend in your fridge. It just takes a little time and organisation, not much.
Gorgeous rich flavour bombs, soothing as intense, and oozing. Ramen eggs take little time to prepare, the time is all in the marinade process. Ingredients can be as complicated as you like, some people add ginger, chilli or garlic, others add kelp for an extra flavour boom. I keep it simple, basic ramen eggs are everything I could want and they go with everything. A marinade of equal parts (decent) soy, sake and mirin (soft rice vinegar) bathing a peeled soft boiled egg, gently invades the yolk and eases it. Makes it richer, makes it gentler, makes it more intense.
I have been eating these on top of congee (the most absorbing and comforting Chinese rice porridge soup – recipe soon!), they are wonderful oozing gently into chicken noodle soup and they are perfect on their own too, eaten just as they are. Here, I had them on a sushi rice bowl. I chose sushi rice because I love their stubby short grain nature. They stay firm and retain bite when cooked, and are lovely dressed with (more) soy and mirin. On top, whatever you like. This week I have had pork and pumpkin, brussel sprouts and bacon, whatever veg you like, maybe some meat and a lovely ramen egg.
These make a great lunch, and are perfect packed up for work, for picnics, for train journeys, whatever you like. Play around and come back and tell me your favourite toppings. I am always looking for inspiration.
Note on the recipe: I like my eggs really runny, but they are tricky to peel and for some dishes I like them a bit firmer. Cook your eggs to your taste and I recommend you cook extra, adjusting the recipe accordingly. You will never regret having extra (they will keep for 3 days in the fridge) and you might over zealously damage one as you peel (I did and still do on occasion).
Recipe: Sushi Rice Bowl with Pumpkin, Kale & a Ramen Egg
50 ml sake
50 ml soy sauce
50 ml mirin
a sandwich bag, or freezer bag
100g sushi rice
1 tbsp good soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp sesame seeds (and a little extra for sprinkling at the end)
75g diced peeled pumpkin (more if you like)
4 leaves kale or cavolo nero, the leaf stripped from the stem, washed and patted dry
a pinch of chilli
light oil for frying
The night before, boil the eggs to your likeness. I boil large eggs for 6-7 minutes, adding the eggs (at room temperature – I never store eggs in the fridge, in Europe we don’t need to). Refresh immediately in cold water (with ice if you have it). Peel when cold, gently taking care not to damage them. Prepare the marinade and put it in a sandwich bag or freezer bag with the eggs for minimum 2 hours, preferably 8 hours. The longer you leave them the more the yolk takes in, and the firmer it becomes. The eggs in this picture are 5 hours marinaded. If making more eggs, use a lunchbox or similar. You can reuse the marinade, or reduce it by half over heat and use it as a sauce (teriyaki!).
Cook the rice according to packet instructions. I cover the rice with twice its volume of water, bring it to the boil and then put a lid on it. I add more boiling water if I need to, a little at a time, when the rice is tender but still has bite, there should be little water left. I cover it with the lid again and let it absorb the remainder. There is no need to add salt as the soy sauce will season it. Don’t stir it too much as it has a lot of starch and will become sticky like risotto.
While the rice is cooking, sauté the pumpkin in a teaspoon of oil with a little chilli. When it is almost tender, add the kale or cavolo nero, tearing it as you do. When wilted take it off the heat.
Add the soy sauce, mirin and sesame seeds to the rice. Top with the pumpkin, cavolo nero and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. This eats very well warm or cold. Perfect lunch! Enjoy it.