Aruba Soba

Winter is officially here and it’s time to get cosy. Warm up this winter by the fire, with a movie and some delicious noodles. This week at Superette we are taking inspiration from Tokyo Local, and making Aruba Soba.

Aruba soba, contrary to its name, is not actually a soba, or buckwheat noodles, but a dry-style ramen created in Tokyo’s Kitatama district in the 1950s. The aruba – oil – comes from the rendered pork fat layered over a soy sauce blend called tare. Fresh ramen noodles are added to the bowl, followed by toppings, including marinated bamboo shoots, spring onions (scallions), nori (seaweed) and chāshū (braised pork).

Just before eating, the noodles are mixed together, with the flavoured oil giving them a lovely sheen. It’s a wonderfully satisfying, addictive dish, and if you like fancy, you can also add extra condiments, such as minced onion, chilli paste, shanshō (Japanese pepper), chilli oil and vinegar.

Fresh bamboo shoots are hard to come by outside Japan, and while it is easy to find tinned varieties, they often have a particular taste. This recipe removes the tinned flavour and infuses the bamboo shoots with a delicious charshu and bonito marinade.

INGREDIENTS

  • 150g fresh Ramen noodles
  • 2 tablespoons Tare
  • 1 tablespoon flavoured oil
  • 1 pieces Braised pork
  • 1 tablespoon Menma (marinated bamboo shoots, below)
  • 1 tablespoon kizami nori
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced spring onion
  • 1/4 onion, finely diced
  • rice vinegar and chilli oil, to serve

Menma (marinated bamboo shoots)

  • 1x 400g tin sliced bamboo shoots, drained
  • 200ml reserved Braised pork cooking liquid
  • 1 handful hanakatsoo (dried skipjack tuna flakes)

METHOD

  1. First, make the menma. Place the bamboo shoots in a saucepan and cover with water, then bring to the boil over high heat and boil for 5 minutes. Drain and repeat the process two more times. This removed the tinned taste from the bamboo shoots and makes it easier for the marinade to be absorbed.
  2. Return the drained bamboo shoots to the saucepan and add the braised pork cooking liquid and enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  3. Place a sheet of paper towel on the top of the liquid, followed by the hanakatsoo. Simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Discard the kitchen paper and hanakatsoo. Reserve 1 tablespoon of bamboo shoots for this recipe and transfer the remaining bamboo shoots and liquid to an airtight container. The menma will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  4. Bring a large saucepan of water to boil over high heat. Cook the ramen noodles for 3 minutes (or follow the packet instructions if you are using store-bought noodles) and drain thoroughly.
  5. To assemble the aruba soba, place the tare and flavoured oil in the bottom of a warm serving bowl, followed by the ramen noodles. Top with the braised pork, menma, kizami nori and spring onion.
  6. Mix together just before eating. Add diced onion, rice vinegar and chilli oil to taste.
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