A Book and a Bite: Crazy Rich Asians

Asian cuisine knows how to do soup. Rich and savory broth, steaming noodles, lots of veggies, exotic spices, and the salty-goodness of it all. Taking a whiff of a steam-filled bowl of soup will warm your heart as well as your sinuses. Winter is the perfect time for soup of any kind. In my kitchen, my go to winter soups include hearty chili, creamy chicken and wild rice soup, and a red lentil coconut soup that is to die for. Outside of my kitchen, I crave steaming bowls of pho, ramen, miso and laksa.

I’ve always enjoyed eating foods I couldn’t get at home. Growing up, comfort food to me was meatloaf, chicken and dumplings, buttery lima beans, chicken fried streak and anything cooked in Oleo.  I love that kind of food, but as I got older I craved new kinds food. Their exotic texture, spices, and flavors drew me to taste them and search for more.

My culinary palate grew exponentially when I met my future husband, who was born in India. My mind was blown when he took me to his mom’s house the first time. True to form, she cooked a ton of food from scratch for whatever occasion I had come over for, I forget. I had never eaten anything remotely like that. It was so spicy that my eyes, nose, and mouth were watering and I could barely speak as I asked for more.

Since then, I have loved foods from almost every culture. My husband and I love to eat and he has a special proclivity towards Asian food, specifically Chinese. I didn’t know this before meeting him, but Indians love Chinese food. Indian-Chinese food is almost better than authentic Chinese food. Over the course of our 10-year marriage, we have eaten at countless Chinese, Korean, Thai, Japanese, and various Asian-fusion restaurants. We’ve recently had the opportunity to eat some authentic and delicious Hmong food after moving to the Twin Cities.

As much as I love food from various Asian cultures, I’ve never attempted recreating any of these dishes in my own kitchen. I’ve tried my hand at some Asian dishes, all with an American twist though. I’ve always felt that it would be way better if someone else did it, so why try.

However, I recently came across this recipe. I finally felt that I could create delicious Asian-fusion in my own kitchen. My husband, who had an insatiable craving for pho, ramen, or some variety of Asian soup at the time, also felt that I could make this dish. I had never cooked with miso before and was a little nervous about how it would turn out. It was also exciting bringing home some of the food I had enjoyed in restaurants for years.

This Miso Chicken Ramen reminded me of something that might have been eaten in Kevin Kwan’s book Crazy Rich Asians that I recently read. This fun and light story about taking a relationship to the next level takes place in Singapore. The characters in the book are constantly eating scrumptious Singaporean dishes. Before reading this book, I didn’t really know what Singaporean food was. Based on reading this book, it seems as though it’s a mix of Asian flavors; mostly Malaysian, Chinese and Thai.

This book was not a life-changing novel, but it was a fun read. The main character Rachel, an economics professor in NYC, is thrust into a shocking world of obscene wealth when her boyfriend takes her to his childhood home in Singapore for a wedding. It was enjoyable reading about a different culture and seeing how others can perceive the world.

“Rachel had never seen anything like this feast. ‘This is insane! Every dish looks like it came from a different part of Asia.’ ‘That’s Singapore for you – the true originators of fusion cuisine,’ Nick boasted. ‘You know because of all the ships passing through from Europe, the Middle East, and India in the nineteenth century, all these amazing flavors and textures could intermingle.'”

Print

Miso Chicken Ramen

adapted from Food & Wine

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 6 tbsp white miso
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 lb shredded cooked chicken
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 pkgs ramen (3 oz each, seasoning packets discarded)
  • Shredded carrot, sliced scallion and Siracha for serving

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the stock, miso and soy sauce; bring to a boil over high heat, whisking to dissolve the miso. Add the chicken and simmer over moderate heat for 2 minutes. Keep hot over low heat. 

  2. Set up a small ice bath. Fill another medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the eggs and simmer over moderate heat for exactly 7 minutes Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to the ice bath to cool. Carefully peel the eggs and cut then in half lengthwise. 

  3. Meanwhile, return the saucepan of water to a boil. Add the ramen and cook until just softened, about 3 minutes. Drain well and transfer to 4 large bowls. Ladle the broth and chicken over the noodles and top with the eggs. Serve with shredded carrot, scallions and Siracha. 

2 thoughts on “A Book and a Bite: Crazy Rich Asians

  1. I love developing recipes to go along with books. I look forward to trying this once, since Crazy Rich Asians was one of my most fun reads this year and because ramen is one of my guilty pleasures! Thanks!!!

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