When it comes to super yummy weeknight dinners, this Caramel Pork Ramen is a standout. Packed with delicious flavour, and easy to make, even the inexperienced campaigner can create fully bellies, clean plates and happy faces (yes, we even tested our theory on this one!)
The original recipe was inspired by a recipe from Hello Fresh, with a few changes for an extra kick of flavour!
If you’re looking for high quality, Australian made organic Japanese noodles for any recipes, not just this one, we highly recommend Hakubaku Noodles
Five Spice Caramel Pork Ramen
Olive Oil 600g Pork loin fillet cut into 1.5cm cubes 2 red onions, finely sliced 2 large carrots unpeeled, cut into 5cm matchsticks 4 tsp crushed garlic 2 tsp ginger (fresh grated, or from tube) 250g sugar snap or snow peas, ends trimmed and cut into thirds 4 spring onion, finely sliced 1 long red chilli (optional), seeds removed and finely sliced 2 tsp Chinese Five Spice Powder 4 tbsp brown sugar 1/2c warm water 2 tsp fish sauce 2 tbsp soy sauce (for caramel) 270g pack Ramen Noodles 2 tbsp sesame oil 1/4c soy sauce, extra (for noodles) black sesame seeds (optional)
Bring large saucepan of water to the boil
Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat, add pork cubes and cook for 2-3 minutes until just brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Heat a little more olive oil in the same pan, add red onion and cook for 3-4 minutes or until starting to soften, then add five spice powder and stir, cooking for another minute. Reduce heat to low
Add the brown sugar, water, fish sauce and soy sauce for caramel to the pan with the onion. Season with a pinch of pepper and salt, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Simmer for 10 minutes over low heat until the caramel has reduced and started to thicken slightly. Add the pork cubes back to the caramel and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside in pan.
While caramel is reducing, place the ramen noodles into boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes ONLY, before draining and rinsing with cold water in colander.
Heat drizzle of olive oil in wok, add the carrot and cook for 2-3 minutes until just softened. Add garlic, ginger, sugar snap peas and chilli (if using) cooking for 3 minutes.
Add noodles, sesame oil and extra soy sauce to the pan and toss together. Add spring onion, pork and caramel to wok with noodles and veg. Combine well and stir until noodles are warm (should only take a minute or so)
Serve with a sprinkling of black sesame seeds if desired.
Our time in Japan last year for our honeymoon saw us eating many questionable things, especially when we had a stay at a ryokan (traditional accommodation). I’m talking breakfasts with more eyes than I have fingers, and easily 7 different species of sea creature on each plate! While that was an experience, we tended to lean more to things that we could recognise when out and about. Noodles of every kind fast became a favourite!
While we were in Hiroshima we found this great looking noodle store attached to the main train station. We thought great! Normal food! Well… kind of… We took our seats and were given a menu. The menu seemed to indicate a hotness scale to the food. 1 being so bland that no one would even think about being so boring and 100 being insanely hot, we are talking surface of the sun. Well let me tell you, I think we got played hard at this place! We, being simple Australians thought we better stick to the basic boring number 1 on the scale, but when ordering the lovely young Japanese man suggested (persuaded, shamed us into…) getting at least a number 2 on the scale. The starting level he said. So being the nice folk that we are, and not wanting to insult anyone, we agreed. Number 2.
Have you ever eaten something so hot that your lips tingled for a hour afterwards? Well I hadn’t until that day. Middle of a Japanese summer and I am literally on fire. It was the strangest thing, the noodles were amazingly delicious but so damn hot! The more you ate the better you could deal with the heat and the more delicious the noodles became, but once you stopped it was like the surface of the sun was your new lip gloss.
The most strange thing for me is since I’ve had these noodles in Hiroshima I’ve wanted more! So here is my attempt at Sesame Ramen – way less like the surface of the sun but still just as yummy!
Sesame Ramen Noodles
3tbs sesame oil
3tbs peanut oil
¼ cup soy sauce
2tbs rice wine vinegar
3tbs white sugar
4 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
Ground cayenne pepper to taste
Chilli flakes to taste
180g packet of ramen noodles
1 small bunch of spring onion finely sliced to serve
Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add ramen noodles and cook as per packet instructions.
While the ramen is cooking in a small bowl mix oils, sugar, vinegar and garlic. Add spices now if you wish, and mix well.
After draining the noodles simply stir through the sauce and serve hot.
Top with finely sliced spring onion and extra chilli flakes.
Tip: I always make the bulk of the mixture with less heat (chilli) and add a little more later by mixing a small bowl of soy sauce and sesame oil with added cayenne pepper for those that love their noodles spicy!