Weekend Foodie Warriors – Take 60!
Happy Earth Day, Foodie Friends 🙂 Hope you’ve had a great week so far! For this edition of Foodie Adventures, we’re showing you our whirlwind weekend making homemade sushi and ramen, starting with dinner and grabbing ingredients at the Asia Pacific Supermarket! 🍜🍣🥡
Friday Fun – Dinner & Ingredients
Asia Pacific Supermarket, Greenville, SC
I love my friends because most of the time they’re just as adventurous with food as I am! Ramen and Sushi might not seem super adventurous to some, but not everyone is willing to spend a whole weekend making those things from scratch either.
My friend Jackie from Off the Grid Greenville recently came out with a list of some of the best restaurants in Greenville for 2021, and Asia-Pacific Supermarket was one of them! It’s relatively close to our apartment, and I feel like we’ve driven by it so often, I just never paid it much attention. That was about to change because Jamie and I finally had a weekend (after about four or five months) that we didn’t have anything planned from Friday into Sunday.
Creating a great ramen broth, when done right, typically is meant to slowly simmer overnight, but we were always traveling or had places to be in the morning on Saturdays, so it was tough to find a completely free weekend to complete such an undertaking. To celebrate finally being able to have this fun weekend cooking experiment, I treated Jamie and Madison to dinner from Asia-Pacific, since I knew we were going there for ingredients anyway.
We walked around the store grabbing all the things we thought we might need, from sushi rolling mats to rice, eel sauce to top the sushi, and of course, multiple multiple packages of udon noodles to add to the broth!
We ordered food after shopping and started with appetizers. They had these awesome soup dumplings and Japanese-style pan-fried gyoza dumplings too. I’ve watched quite a few videos about soup dumplings before but never been to a restaurant that offers them, so they were really cool to be able to experience for the first time. The gyoza was also good with a spicier sweeter sauce for dipping, compared to the soup dumplings, which gave them a great finishing flavor.
I ordered their house special fried rice, which definitely tasted as if it came off of either a really well-seasoned wok or a hibachi grill. It had that really great almost charred flavor to it that you typically get from a hibachi restaurant. Jamie got General Tso’s chicken and Madison opted for a BBQ grilled eel topped with sesame seeds. It was sweet and also a little funky with the Savory Seafood.
Definitely recommend coming back here for Chinese food, we also found pretty much everything here to get all the main ingredients for sushi when it came to seasonings and fixins. Of course, stuff like avocados or fresh produce we found from one of our local grocery stores the next day.
Ramen – Broth, fixings, & final product!
Next we started the ramen! We originally wanted to do a chicken and fish-based broth, but after attempting to stew that Friday night into Saturday morning, woke up to find that our apartment smelled like a fish market and we had completely overdone it on the fish broth. 🤦♀️🐟
Luckily we were able to call local Revival Butchery who saved our stock (literally) by having a giant bag of pork bones waiting for us the next day, so we pivoted to creating more of a tonkatsu or pork-based style broth instead.
We were told by people who have made ramen multiple times before that we needed to actually blanch the bones before properly stewing into a broth. So we boiled them, covered them in water on a stove, for about 5 minutes, drained that, and rinsed the bones, and then started the process over again.
We covered the bones in water and added in our aromatics – garlic, carrots, onions, leeks, and a ton of dried Chinese mushrooms. Next came a couple of sheets of nori (seaweed) to add some of that umami saltiness. What finished off the broth right at the tail end was a little bit of Sambal which is a Thai style chili paste, and a little bit of some of my McCormick black garlic seasoning, which gave it a little bit of salty and savory sweetness.
After being on the stove for about 4 to 5 hours, we drained everything out of the broth until we were left with the gorgeous golden-colored stock you see here. Then we added in enough udon noodles for everyone that was coming, because of course, we invited friends to help us eat all this! 🍜
Jamie had also taken the pork belly that we got from Revival Butchery and salt and pepper roasted that in the oven.
One of my favorite parts was making the soy-marinated eggs, which we started about 2 or 3 hours before the ramen was done. This process included soft-boiling the eggs and marinating them in a mixture of mirin, sugar, water, and a ton of soy sauce in the fridge for a couple of hours before cutting up to add on top of the ramen.
This is the finished product! For toppings, we added Nori, crispy Thai style onions, sesame seeds, the roasted pork belly, and of course the soy-marinated eggs! If we could have done anything differently, the longer we could have kept the soy-marinated eggs going in the fridge and the ramen broth going on the stove, would have only added more depth of flavor. I think for our first attempt, both of these came out really really well and everybody absolutely loved them!
Sushi Making Saturday
For the sushi, we used sushi-specific rice in our rice cooker, making the rice the exact same way we’d make any other rice, minus adding in a couple of tablespoons (per cup of rice) of this Sushi seasoning that we got from the Asia-Pacific Supermarket. Sushi rice (when finished) typically includes a little sugar, a little vinegar, and sometimes a little mirin, as it needs to have a little bit of flavor to stand up to the rolls or fish that you’re putting with it. Luckily, they have this pre-made liquid that you can just sprinkle into the rice and stir it up! It’s an amazing shortcut that I would definitely use again.
Jamie sharpened his Miyabi Japanese knife, because what’s the point of having a Japanese knife if you don’t use it to make sushi? Madison had recently gone to a sushi-making class at Plate 108 in local Greer and was excited to show off her newfound skills by teaching us how to make rolls!
We made more Japanese-style sushi rolls, according to Madison, where the rice is on the outside of the roll and the nori (seaweed) is on the inside of the roll, as opposed to more Chinese style sushi, where the seaweed is on the outside and the sushi rice is on the inside. Both types of rolls tasted great either way though! 🍣 We did find that the ones that were nori-side out made less of a mess of the sushi roller, as opposed to the sushi rice on the outside, as the rice would get sticky and the bamboo would start to stick eventually.
We made a couple of California rolls, which were imitation crab, cucumber, and avocado. We also created a Tropical roll, which was salmon, mango, avocado, and cream cheese. Then at that point, we started mixing up ingredients with whatever we had! We topped some with the eel sauce (which was kind of salty and kind of sweet), crunchy onions, or more fish.
We had bought Ahi tuna and sashimi-grade salmon at Joe Joe’s Seafood Market off of Wade Hampton Boulevard, which had a fantastic selection and great prices. Absolutely loved the color on the tuna! Every show we watch about fishing talks about how gorgeous magenta-colored tuna is the cream of the crop, and I was absolutely in love with how awesome the color on this was.
We also bought alligator at Joe Joe’s, which we turned into Cajun seasoned tempura-battered alligator nuggets as an appetizer! We added chopped-up pieces of it into a fusion sushi roll that Madison called her “YEE YEE” roll. This included avocado, cream cheese, and the alligator. I swear to you it just tasted like chicken! 🐊🐔
With the rest of the ingredients that we didn’t use up, the next day we made poke bowls out of the remaining fish to make sure it didn’t go to waste! That was pretty much the salmon, the tuna, cucumbers, the rest of the soy-marinated eggs, and a little bit of mango and alligator, along with the sushi rice.
It was an absolute whirlwind of a weekend, and the kind of tired that you feel when you come back from a day at an amusement park or being at your favorite vacation spot for the day. It’s a very happy, fulfilled type of tired. 💜 I absolutely love recipe testing and being able to have friends that are willing to be guinea pigs for all of the fantastic food that we create. This is one of my favorite things about sharing food and this blog with you all, that you get to experience it alongside us!
So how was your weekend, Foodie Friends? What is the coolest meal you’ve experimented with making at home? What cuisine should we try next? Sound out in the comments below to let us know your suggestions of what dishes to make or places we should visit next. As always, feel free to like, comment, & share 🤗