Those of us who had the privilege of trying Komatsu's miso ramen in St. Joseph, MO, voted two thumbs up. Unfortunately, we were not able to return for said delectable dish before the time of our departure. However, this week I attempted to recreate a similar dish based on ingredients I had or could buy. The process was as follows: I surveyed the pantry, made a list and went to Whole Foods to find the rest, and then pulled up a similar recipe online to make sure I got the timings and assembly right. But for me, half the fun of cooking is adding your personal touch and making judgment calls on the fly. The recipe below is a record of what I did with applicable directions shamelessly plagiarized from the second-cousin-once-removed recipe. But feel free to tweak or substitute based on what you have available. As far as recipes go, a wise man once said...
Missouri On My Mind Miso Ramen
Serves 4 (or even 5, depending on how many people are at your table and how hungry everyone is)
45 min - 1 hour to prepare and cook.
10 oz (285 g) dried ramen noodles (4 individual servings)
1/2 cup (170 g) fresh or canned corn kernels, drained
2 sheets nori or other seaweed of choice, toasted
1 cup (100 g) fresh bean sprouts, washed as needed (I substituted alfalfa and radish sprouts, but they took away from the flavor)
6-8 servings of instant miso and 6-8 cups of water (my version)
[OR 4 tbsp fresh miso paste and 8 cups vegetable broth (their version)]
1 stalk green onion (scallions), finely chopped (optional; I didn't add this but probably should have)
2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms, sautéed in peanut oil (optional but excellent addition to my second try)
Prepare nori by toasting over a burner until dark emerald green, if not already toasted, and set aside. If using green onion, finely chop and set aside. If using shiitake, sauté in a small amount of peanut oil for 4-5 minutes and then set aside.
Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Add ramen and cook according to package instructions (3-4 minutes). Drain and rinse with cold water.
Divide the noodles, corn, and nori among 4 large serving bowls (for small bowls or smaller servings, set extra aside for seconds/leftovers).
In a large pot, boil 6-8 cups of water (depending on how much miso broth you want to make). Add appropriate amount of instant miso and stir. (If you're using the real stuff, I'll let you figure out how to adjust accordingly.) You may want to taste and make sure the flavor is strong enough.
Ladle soup into each bowl. Add bean sprouts, green onion if desired, and shiitake if desired (highly recommended). Serve while hot.
The thing I love about this dish is it's perfect for tweaking. The online recipe called for sliced bamboo shoots, so you could add bamboo shoots. The kind I had at Komatsu included tofu, so you could definitely add tofu. You get to decide what ingredients will help this very filling, one-bowl meal meet your needs at the moment.
The attached pictures are the two versions I attempted. First is the version for the fam (numero cinco is out of town) minus mushrooms, because some of them don't like mushrooms. I didn't make enough broth for that one, and the alfalfa/radish sprouts sapped what flavor the broth did have, and there was definitely too much corn because I didn't check the recipe for the amount. The ramen was called Jade Pearl and made from rice flour and bamboo extract. The second picture is the one I made for my lunch today with rice noodles (since I was out of ramen) and shiitake. The mushroom helped a lot, but I still need to try it without the alfalfa/radish sprouts at some point. And if anybody tries this recipe or has any suggestions for improvements, I'd love to hear about it.