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December 04, 2015

DIY: Make Cheu Noodle Bar's famous ramen in your own kitchen

Cooking Recipes
Cheu Noodle Bar Ramen Elena Iwata/Cheu Noodle Bar

Cheu Noodle Bar's Brisket Ramen.

From brussels sprouts given an addictive General Tso’s treatment to the staple black garlic wings freshened with shishito peppers and herbs, Cheu Noodle Bar never stops churning out creative, flavor-doused dishes. The menu changes frequently, but the taste bud-awakening Asian ingredients never leave. This is key for seasoning up the neutral bases that occupy the later half of the restaurant’s menu.

When it comes to ramen and rice, without the spices and broths that bring them to life, large bowls full of them wouldn’t have reached the mega popularity they’ve found today. Luckily, there are many chefs who know how to make magic with spicy pastes, seaweeds and other ingredients that might be considered daunting to the average American cook. Cheu’s Ben Puchowitz is one of them.

Below, he shares one of his favorite ramen recipes from Cheu Noodle Bar’s menu, which invites you to get acquainted with some ingredients you’ve likely never touched. Although it’ll require a quick trip to the Asian market – Puchowitz recommends 1st Oriental Market at 6th and Washington – the actual assembly of the soup is rather simple. The one-pot broth requires just a little bit of knife work and a few hours to stew, and from there, the remainder of the dish comes together in no time.

"This Jewish-Korean mash-up has the soul of a traditional Jewish feast with the added flare of Korean chili paste and sesame oil. Most Jews, myself included, get really excited when they see a big, fluffy, juicy matzo ball placed in front of them," Puchowitz said. "This excitement led me to add this dish to our noodle repertoire. It has since become one of our most popular items." 

For the matzo, Puchowitz suggests a pre-made mix for convenience from the brand known as Streit’s. It can be purchased at most regular supermarkets. Puchowitz also notes that you can play around with the variety of noodles you use. You can choose your favorite Asian-style, or for the classic Cheu take, go for the ramen. As winter weather sets in, Puchowitz says that the steamy pot of broth on the stove alone will make it worth your efforts. And as for the completed dish  –  there’s no bowl more comforting. 

Brisket Ramen with Matzo Ball, Kimchi & Sesame Chile Broth

Makes four servings.

Broth: You'll Need

• 5 qts. water
• 2 lbs. trimmed brisket, cut into 4-in blocks
• 1 sheet kombu, rinsed
• ½ cup dried shitake mushrooms, sliced
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1 bunch scallion, chopped
• 1 small head Napa cabbage, chopped
• ¼ cup mirin
• 4 Tbsp. light soy sauce
• 3 Tbsp. sesame oil
• 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
• 1/8 cup ssamjang
• 1/8 cup gochujang
• 5 pieces small dried shrimp
• 2 pieces dried anchovy
• 3 Tbsp. sugar
• Salt to taste

Add all ingredients to a large pot and simmer for 2.5 hours. Strain broth through a fine mesh colander and save the pieces of brisket for slicing. The rest of the debris can be thrown away. Let the brisket cool down before you slice it. Taste broth and add salt if needed.

Note: you can find most of the exotic ingredients at any Asian market or you can order them online.

Matzo Balls: You'll Need

• 1 box Streit’s matzo ball mix
• 1 pack chicken bouillon

Follow the directions on the box. Use the chicken bouillon in your cooking liquid. It will help to flavor the balls. You will have more balls than needed for the soups. You can store any extra matzo balls in a container with plastic wrap over top to prevent them from drying out. 

Noodles + Assembly: You'll Need

• 2 lb. bag of your favorite Asian noodles (we use thin ramen noodles) 
• Hot broth, see above, simmering on the stove
• Thinly sliced brisket, see above
• Hot matzo balls, see above
• 4 Tbsp. Kimchi 
• 2 scallions, chopped
• 4 deep bowls

Cook your favorite noodles in salted water according to package directions. Then, portion the cooked noodles into the four soup bowls. Add a large matzo ball to each bowl. Ladle the hot broth over the noodles. Top the noodles with the sliced brisket, a Tbsp. of kimchi per bowl and a scattering of scallions. Serve.