Yesterday me and Jeremy went over to Koreatown to hunt down some octopus. Back home my Theio Soulis always has some on hand, and I've brought some down here before when I've gone home to visit, but I've never tried to find any around here in LA. After some thorough google-searching, I found that the Koreatown Galleria had some in their marketplace downstairs. So we hopped in the car and drove over. The market itself was pretty amazing, they had a huge number of fruits, vegetables, meat products, and various ingredients that I had never seen before. At the seafood counter they also had octopus prepackaged by the leg, which was GREAT. While I was staring at the wide array of seafood items, Jeremy was wandering around the store looking at all the other fun stuff. One of the things he found, which he brought over to me immediately because of my fondness for delicate/unique ingredients, was a box of 20 quail eggs for three dollars. THREE dollars!!!! I was pretty ecstatic, because I'd seen them before at farmers markets and they were always ridiculously overpriced, especially considering how little edible matter is in each egg. So, along with my octopus legs I also picked up the quail eggs and, after walking through the amazing ramen-filled food court, decided to try my hand at making a ramen from scratch. It's not specifically Korean, but more of a blend of various Asian ramen styles. I used Japanese red pepper, Thai fish cause, and Malaysian shrimp paste among other things to create the broth, which tasted wonderful. Just the right balance of spicy and savory. It smells amazing, too.
15 Quail Eggs
4 Green Onions, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 Japanese Red Chili Pepper
2.8 Ounces Ramen Noodles, dried
.4 Ounces Dried Salted Seaweed (I got mine from Trader Joe's)
8 Cups of Water
1 Tablespoon Olive or Sesame Oil
2 Teaspoons Vinegar
1 and 1/2 Teaspoons Hondashi Seasoning
1 and 1/2 Teaspoons Soy Sauce
1 Teaspoon Oyster Sauce
1 Teaspoon Fish Sauce
1/2 Teaspoon Shrimp Paste
1/4 to 1/8 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
Wash the pepper and remove the stem. Place the pepper in a food processor or blender with the tablespoon of oil and blend until a rough puree is created. Set it aside.
Heat 5 cups of the water in a large pot until warm but not boiling. Add the red pepper puree, garlic, Hondashi, soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, shrimp paste, and ground ginger and stir until blended. Continue to heat the broth until it begins to boil, then lower the heat and allow it to cook at a simmer for 20 minutes.
In the meantime, you can begin poaching the quail eggs. Take 10 of the quail eggs and set them aside for poaching, the remaining 5 will be whisked into the soup at a later point. Fill a small pot with about 3 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of vinegar. Bring to a boil. Crack 2 of the quail eggs over a slotted spoon and submerge the spoon and the quail eggs in the water, moving it around gently from side to side to get the egg whites to cover the yolks.
Once the eggs whites have just cooked enough to hold the yolks in place, about 2 minutes, remove them from the water and set them aside on a small plate. Repeat this process until all 10 of the quail eggs are poached.
Once the broth has cooked for 20 minutes, add the green onions and .3 ounces of the dried salted seaweed and allow to simmer for another 10 minutes. Then add the ramen noodles and cook according to the ramen's package directions, (my noodles took about 5 minutes to cook). Once the noodles are done, crack open the remaining 5 quail eggs and whisk them into the soup until they are completely cooked, about 30 seconds. Remove the soup from the heat and gently stir in the poached quail eggs, taking care not to break open the yolk. Serve the soup immediately, garnished with a slice of lime and a few slices of dried seaweed on the side.