|Tomato Cheese Ramen|
You may have heard of tomato nabe, but ramen is a much rarer thing.
The restaurant in question is called Taiyou no Tomato Men (Men meaning 'noodles'), and it's located on the food court floor of the Mylord building in Shinjuku, part of Shinjuku Station. After just one taste I knew I had to recreate this at home, lest I leave Tokyo and never be able to eat it again. Well, as it turned out, it's a small chain and they have an Osaka location - in fact, a huge number of shops have opened since then! - but I still returned to Shinjuku with my friend Gen-chan to get her help in figuring out the ingredients (and also to hook another person on Taiyou no Tomato, natch).
Between the two of us and the Taiyou website for some ingredient tips, we came up with the following easy recipe that you can use to make your own tomato ramen at home!
Taiyou no Tomato Ramen
4 portions fresh/frozen ramen noodles (cooked, 3-5 minutes)
(please avoid freeze-dried 'Mr. Noodle'-types here; if you must use pantry noodles, use Chinese chow mein noodles or angel hair pasta)
1 tsp olive oil
1 large (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce*
2 cloves garlic
Handful of baby spinach leaves or mizuna, if available
3 cups chicken stock*
2 chicken thighs, cubed or sliced
1 celery stalk or small amount of bok choy (if desired)**
1 tsp basil
1 tbsp onion powder/dried onion
8 tbsp fresh grated parmesan (if no fresh is available, substitute shredded mozzarella cheese - you want it to melt)
chili oil, to taste
red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)**
salt & pepper, to taste (optional)**
Sautee garlic, tomatoes and spinach in olive oil. Add the stock, chicken and greens, then seasonings, and simmer for 20 minutes. If you prefer your soup a little thinner, add more chicken stock or water.
Cook the noodles in a separate pot and serve into 4 bowls. Add soup, then cheese on top and allow cheese to melt into the soup. Eat with chopsticks and a ramen spoon if available.
If there are leftovers, you can use the soup stock, cheese and some bread crumbs over rice in a buttered dish, and bake it for a delicious rice casserole!
This recipe was adapted from a tomato nabe recipe to closely resemble Taiyo no Tomato’s Tomato Cheese Ramen dish. Marked differences are:
*Taiyo Tomato broth uses a stock made of a pork/chicken/salt mixture
*Taiyo uses tomato sauce rather than diced tomatoes
*Taiyo does not use the ingredients marked by double asterisks
*The website cites 小松菜 (mizuna) but the leafy vegetable at the restaurant appeared to be spinach
|Taiyou no Tomato menu selection|
Taiyou's Cheese Ramen Official Ingredient List:
原材料： ナチュラルチーズ (natural cheese), 鶏もも肉 (chicken thigh), 小松菜 (mizuna)
【国産】 ：無農薬サラダ油 (organic salad oil), にんにく (garlic), バジル (basil), 塩タレ (salt dripping?), 鶏のパイタンスープ (chicken ‘paitan soup’), トマトソース (tomato sauce), チャーシューのタレ (char-siu [roast pork] drippings), 豆乳麺 (soy noodles)
Eggplant Variation (remove basil, cheese and mizuna):
なす (eggplant, sliced), 江戸菜 (edona - Japanese mustard spinach) 根深ねぎ (green onion, finely chopped)
Egg Variation (remove basil & cheese)
鶏卵 (raw egg, scrambled and stirred into the soup at the very end), 江戸菜 (edona), 黒こしょう (black pepper)
The restaurant also sells a make-at-home version of their dish, Eggplant & Vegetable Ramen. It includes some extra ingredients you may want to try with the recipe above. Translation is mine, so if you have any corrections, please leave a comment:
Sautee garlic, eggplant, green pepper and zucchini in olive oil, add a dash of salt & pepper. Add the soup broth and bring to a boil, then simmer 10 minutes before adding noodles and chopped scallions.太陽のなす野菜麺