Around the Bowl

Soups of the world – Recipes from around the globe & some creations of my own


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Beef Ramen – The Versatile Japanese Soup

Ramen is complex and simple at the same time.
Why complex? Well, If you try to unravel its secrets or to find the definite and true recipe you can go mad on the process; there are as many versions as regions or cooks in Japan and all around the globe! Making the broth from scratch takes a lot of time, ingredients and patience, but that probably might be the key to a good ramen, then it is possible to be as playful as you desire with the toppings and garnishes! By the way, the home-made ramen stock reminds me of the Spanish cocido broth because of its meat cuts and cooking method, it’s interesting to find this connection points between such two different and distant cultures through their cuisine.
And why simple? Because ramen also allows to be simplified and transform into a healthy, delicious and creative dish for the every-day easy to put together meal. I just use a good quality stock and the rest is pure inspiration!
Although I usually choose to go for the extremely simplified version of this soup, I love this guide to Ramen, it provides a lot information classified in a very clarifying way, its like the Ramen encyclopedia!

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Japanese Potato Salad

You may think that a potato salad is not a Japanese recipe, buy apparently it’s a very common every day bento and side dish. I have never heard of the Japanese version of the potato salad until I read the last Haruki Murakami book (Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage), where the main character orders a potato salad in a restaurant, arising my curiosity. As usual, I did a little research and finally went for (and slightly adapted) the recipe from Just One Cookbook, a Japanese recipe blog that is in my blogroll and I’ve already introduced in this post, along with the fabulous H. Murakami book.

I instantly liked this recipe because: I love potatoes in every possible way (I think I might be addict to starch) + it’s a fresh salad ideal for a summer meal + it can be both a side dish or a complete meal + it’s quite easy to prepare + it’s an ideal dish to take to friends and family gatherings and finally, unlike other kind of potato salads, is packed with veggies!

Let’s cook and dig in!

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Sunday Leisure and Additions to my Blogroll

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Haruki Murakami’s latest novel

Today we had lunch at my in-laws and came back home with a disproportionate amount of fresh produce from their vegetable patch!

In the comfort of my couch, while watching BBC’s In the Flesh (excellent TV show by the way, but very intense, just warning) I started surfing the web to find some new recipes to cook some of the things we brought. By doing so, I discovered two new blogs that I’ll definitely follow and I thought it would be a nice idea to share them with you. Although I intend my next recipe to be a surprise, here’s a lead: They are Japanese cooking blogs! I’m also including one that’s always been in my blogroll but it’s worth the reminder.

Hope you enjoy reading them and cooking some of their wonderful recipes!

I’ve also been reading a book that absolutely captivated me: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, from Haruki Murakami, one of my favourite authors. Oh my God! it’s pure Haruki: delightful, deep, sad and tender. It remained me of Tokio Blues (Norwegian Woods) narrative. Sadly, I liked it so much that it only lasted until today, I’m about to finished it. A sort of nostalgia invades me every time I finish a book I enjoyed and found extremely good, the same kind that I feel the last days of a great holiday trip. Doesn’t it happen to you? 

Have a great week!

PS. I’ve just added a “Print Friendly & PDF” button at the bottom of each post, that allows to generate a printable and/or PDF document that can be edited ad hoc: you can eliminate the images and introduction paragraphs just by clicking on them before generating the doc. This way you can save or print just the recipe instructions. Every little detail counts when it comes to sustainability; environmentally, economically and practically wise!


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Sukiyaki – Japanese Beef Nabemono (Hot Pot)

At home we are big fans of Japanese culture, including food, of course. A couple of years ago while celebrating a birthday in a Japanese restaurant in our area, we discovered Sukiyaki and immediately knew we were going to try it at home and so we did! Is really very easy to prepare once you got the right ingredients.

Sukiyaki is basically a sauce simmered in a hot-pot at the table centre where all the ingredients (beef, tofu, mushrooms and vegetables) are slowly cooked while eating.  Udon are added at the end to soak the rest of the broth.

My approach to it is slightly simplified and I served everything already cooked in a big flat pot at the centre of the table, or sometimes in separates bowls, including the udon. I also add stock to the sauce because we like ours “soupy”

The sauce ingredients are the same you would use in a basic udon soup, check out the recipe Francesca, from SicilySelfies kindly gave me the other day, you’ll find it at the Vietnamese Pho Chay post comments.

Prepare those chopsticks and let’s dig in!

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