After enjoying a delicious bowl of Ramen with my daughter Hayley recently, I was inspired to play around with it at home. Also, duck being one of my favourite foods, I thought, why not use duck instead of chicken, pork or seafood. So, off I went.
Now, there are two main components in Ramen; noodles and soup. The noodles are wheat noodles with a firm and chewy texture. The texture is important because they are in hot soup while eating, and might absorb too much liquid and become soft. Then there is the soup. Usually pork, chicken or seafood broth is used for the base of the soup and that is seasoned with soy sauce, miso, sake and so on. However, there are so many combinations; why not play around and experiment. That’s what I did.
For 3 – 4 people
- 3 duck legs
- 1 – 2tbsp red curry paste. More if you like it hotter, less if you don’t
- sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper
- 1.5 litres chicken stock
- a walnut sized piece of fresh ginger, sliced
- sake, sesame oil and soy sauce
- about 300g thin noodles, mine were a fresh chowmein variety
- sliced spring onions, soft boiled eggs, fresh greens and herbs
- as long as they are beautifully fresh I see no reason to dictate to you exactly what and how much to use
Firstly pat dry the duck legs with kitchen paper and season with salt and pepper. Heat an ovenproof heavy based casserole over low heat (I use a Le Creuset). When hot, add your duck legs skin side down. Cook slowly; you want the skin crispy and golden, and the fat to render. Turn over to crisp the other side. As the fat starts to render from the duck, spoon it off into a bowl. When the duck skin is golden and crisp remove the legs to a plate and drain on kitchen paper. Now, use 2tbsp of the fat to cook the curry paste stirring over a low heat for a couple of minutes, then add the stock and sliced ginger and bring to a simmer. When simmering, add the duck, skin side up, put the lid on and place into a preheated 150C oven for 1 hour. After an hour, take the casserole out of the oven, remove the lid and let cool to room temperature. When you are ready to eat, preheat the oven to 180C, place your duck on a baking tray with a sheet of baking paper and place in the oven for about 15 minutes to warm through and crisp the skin. Warm the spicy chicken broth; add sake, soy and sesame oil to taste; cook your noodles and greens; take duck out of the oven and tear into bite sized pieces and start assembling; noodles first. Then, dive in and enjoy.