Gekikara ramen

Gekikara ramen

Gekikara translates from Japanese as 'hellishly spicy'. Slurping
these noodles, the broth brimming with chilli and pepper, may be
like ingesting molten lava, but is also a curiously addictive experience.

Origins
The origin of these thin, springy wheat noodles is generally thought to be China. However, down the centuries rāmen has become a cornerstone of Japanese cuisine and there's a vast range of ways to serve the noodles, either in a soupy stock or dry with dipping sauce. In fact, rāmen has developed an international cult following, with chefs vying to prepare unique recipes, including gekikara.

You’ll need
2L (3½ pints) chicken stock
4 garlic cloves, smashed
4cm root ginger, sliced
1 leek, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 piece of kombu
1 tsp white pepper
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp mirin (cooking sake)
2 tbsp white sugar
120ml (4oz) gochujang paste/
hot pepper paste
1–2 tbsp chilli oil to taste
540g (1lb) ramen noodles,
cooked
2 hard boiled eggs, halved
pickled bamboo shoots, nori
sheets, black sesame seeds
and sliced spring onions, to
garnish

Cooking Method
1 Add the garlic, ginger, leek, carrot, kombu and white pepper to the stock and bring to the boil.
2 Add soy, mirin, sugar, gochujang and chilli oil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the kombu, then cook for a further hour. Strain and discard solids.
3 Boil the noodles in plenty of water until al dente and divide between four bowls.
4 Top with half an egg, bamboo shoots, nori, sesame seeds and spring onions, then ladle the spicy soup over the top to serve.

Tasting notes
Rāmen bars specialising in this dish often make it available in gradations of spiciness, from temporarily tongue numbing to off the radioactive scale. The chef will freshly prepare the dish for you, ladling the fiery red stock, perhaps with an extra dash of chilli oil or generous dose of pepper powder, over the noodles. Then it’ll be topped with garnishes such as beansprouts, julienned spring onions, boiled egg and slices of pork. Follow fellow diners by slurping the rāmen noisily while eating, with napkin at the ready to dab your perspiring brow. Despite the feeling of a volcano about to erupt in your belly, don't linger over your bowl: rāmen is eat-and-go food of the fastest order.

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