I have to admit that when it comes to my everyday meals, most of the recipes I have are probably because I saw them in film, on TV, or most likely from manga. Recreating the dishes was always the goal but not always the end result. Over time I came to understand and adapt the recipes from ones I found online.
First, we must try Tsukemen (Dipping Noodles) from Assassination Classroom. In the show, the students of Class E make this dish for their school festival, using local ingredients harvested from the forest outside their building. This ultimately leads to them making acorn noodles made with yams instead of eggs. The broth has a variety of seafood, berries, nuts, and mushrooms.
The first point of reference I’ve used is Cooking with Dog‘s video. Their YouTube channel was my go-to for Japanese recipes circa 2008. This recipe doesn’t contain any fish but is a great starting point. I’ve recreated this recipe once, the broth was rich while the noodles were cold and refreshing. Similar to Assassination Classroom, they use seasonal ingredients. If you can’t find Chinese Chicken Stock, just steep crushed ginger root in regular chicken stock.
Next, I checked out Tsukemen on JustOneCookbook.com. I was shocked to learn that the dish was invented in the late 50s. Assassination Classroom bringing back the retro dishes. I was also surprised to learn about toppings but it did give me a chance to expand on what I had already made. Let this give you some creative freedom when it comes to toppings. Instead of just medium boiled egg, why not try shrimp, bonito flakes, spring onions, or even sliced meat?
This dish can be broken down into noodles and broth. When it comes to noodles, you want to find some good quality noodles. That means avoiding those cheap ramen packets. While fresh is traditional, it might be easier to find dried noodles instead. I’d recommend Clearspring’s soba noodles. When it comes to thickness, udon is good but regular noodles are better. The noodles will be picking up your broth so you will be tasting them. Make sure to cook them until they are flexible.
My go-to broth might not be ideal for you since I like it spicy, but just reduce the chilli and ginger if it’s too much. Try not to water it down since you want it to be incredibly flavourful. Remember the broth will only lightly coat the noodles when you dip them in, so try to make it rich.
While I have provided a recipe below, it’s really up to you what you use. Ideally, you want fresh ingredients but after watching a couple of videos on the produce of Japan I discovered that the country has incredibly high standards when it comes to groceries. Don’t worry if your version doesn’t turn out as pretty as you would’ve liked, it’s really the taste that matters here.
125 g Noodles of your choices
100g Pork Belly Slices (or Bacon) cut up into 2 cm slices
400ml Chicken Stock (you can add crushed Ginger to steep for an extra kick)
1 Minced Garlic Clove
1 Piece of Ginger Crushed (about the size of your thumb)
2 tbsp Mirin
2 Dried Chilli Pepper
3 tbsp Soy Sauce
2 Long Green Onion, chopped up the whites but leave the greens intact
80g Sliced Mushrooms (either Shiitake, Shimeji or a mix of both)
1/2 tsp Rice Wine Vinegar
- Bring a sauce pan of water to a boil. Add your noodles and cook until flexible. Remove from the heat and blanch in an ice bath. Leave in the icy water until ready to serve. This will prevent them from drying out.
- Heat up a second pan. Drop in your pork and render out the fat. Add the Chilli and stir fry for about a minute.
- Stir in your spring onion greens, ginger and garlic; cook until fragrant before adding the chicken stock. Bring to a boil.
- Remove the ginger, green onion and chilli. Add the mushrooms, soy sauce, mirin and vinegar. Bring to a boil and cook for about 5-10 minutes.
- Pour your soup into a bowl and serve beside your drained noodles.
If you recreate this dish be sure to share on Instagram and tag AP2HYC.