Remember back in February when we all wet ourselves seeing The Vulgar Chef's ramen taco photos? Well, the taco tease didn't include the recipe, until last week (great timing, man, but seriously congrats on the cookbook). But I think there's enough room for two tacos in this town, so I set out to make my own ramen taco, and this one takes a more traditional ramen filling: pork belly. Try not to wet yourself. Again.
Ramen Taco Recipe
Total Time: 3 1/2 hours
Yield: 4 tacos
- 2 pounds pork belly
- 2 leeks, green parts only, cut into 4 pieces
- 2-inch knob fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thick slices
- 4 cups dashi (fish stock) or chicken stock if you can’t find it
- 1/3 cup mirin
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves
- 4 (3-ounce) packages instant ramen
- 4 (4-inch-diameter) ramekins or cookie cutters or flat-bottom bowls
- 6 tablespoons cold water
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 quarts vegetable oil
- Taco press
- Oil thermometer
- Boil 2 quarts of water in a kettle. Form a sheet of aluminum foil into a lid slightly smaller than the Dutch oven or large stockpot you'll be using (it should fit inside) and poke a few holes through it.
- Heat the pot over medium-high heat. Add pork belly, fat side down, and sear until brown, about 5 minutes. Continue browning all sides. Add leeks and ginger. Carefully pour the boiling water into the pot, completely submerging the pork. Reduce heat to low, cover with the foil lid and simmer for 2 hours.
- Drain the pot, discard the leeks and ginger, and cut pork belly into 4-by-1-inch slices.
- Rinse out the pot and return it to the stove. Add dashi, mirin, and sugar and bring to a boil. Add pork belly and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until a bamboo skewer easily slides through the meat, about 20 minutes.
- In a medium pot, boil 1 quart of salted water. Add ramen noodles and cook just until the noodles are pliable but not too soft (do not break the noodles apart), about 2 minutes.
- Gently drain, keeping the ramen bricks intact. Stuff each ramen brick into its own ramekin by pushing in the corners and pulling out the straight edges slightly.
- Whisk water and cornstarch together in a small bowl. Drizzle 2 tablespoons evenly over each ramen disk. Cover the noodles with plastic wrap and place something heavy, like soup cans, on top to weigh them down. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- Add 3 tablespoons of soy sauce to the pork, cover with the foil lid and simmer until the pork is very tender and the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes.
- Heat up the oil in a 3-quart Dutch oven attached with an oil thermometer until it reaches 350°F.
- Remove a ramen disk from the ramekin and place it in the taco clamp. Fry it in the oil until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove taco from clamp and cool it on a wire rack while you make the others.
- Fill each taco shell with 2 pieces of pork belly (be sure to include plenty of that sauce) and a few sprigs of cilantro.