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Tag Archives: Asian

Totto Ramen

Most of us are familiar with ramen, the Japanese noodle, in its instant form boiled down to the dull consistency of mush and soaked with MSG-laden miso soup that’s more water than miso. But for really good authentic ramen, look no farther than mid-town Manhattan’s Totto Ramen, offering freshly brewed broth and chewy noodles that actually taste egg-y. The younger and less expensive rival of Ippudo, Totto restaurant offers a limited palate of ramen and meager side dishes, but a smorgasbord of toppings and your choice of pork or chicken to go along with your noodles. In other words, it may be minimalist but it does what it does well.

Totto’s small crowded space means long lines, a waitlist, and often tables shared with strangers during lunchtime. One can opt to take a bar stool instead, and watch cooks practice their forte, or avoid the eatery’s unusual noontime opening rush by dining at a later hour. Prepare to bring green moola to this cash-only, no-advanced-reservations establishment.

For first timers, Totto Miso Ramen is the most appealing ramen to try with basic garnishes such as a boiled egg, scallions, and thick miso paste. Those who want a little raw sashimi with their modest-sized meal may want to nip at the Avo Tuna appetizer before happily tucking in.

Totto Ramen
366 W 52nd Street (Between 8th & 9th Avenues)
New York, NY 10019
(212) 582-0052

Totto Miso Ramen $10.50
Avo Tuna $4.50

Writer’s Tip: If you want to share your meal, make sure to ask the wait staff for an additional empty bowl. Extra utensils will already be provided on your table.


Ginger and Baby Bok Choy Shrimp Noodle Bowl

My camera is still out of commission, so… let me just describe in words how tasty this dinner is. It is yumm-dilli-dacious. And I don’t make up words lightly. As a preface, stir fry anything is the ultimate in choice and flavor selection — you can put it whatever veggies you like, make it as spicy or not as you can handle, and it’s easy to make it vegan, vegetarian, or chock full of meat. There’s barely any fat and a whole lot of flavor, which is the main thing in my kitchen. The following recipe is something I threw together, so most flavor measurements are approximate at best. For something like this, you really can taste as you go along and add things to suit.  Oh, and I’ve got plenty left for lunch tomorrow. Score!

Ginger and Baby Bok Choy Shrimp Noodle Bowl

1lb frozen shrimp, defrosted, peeled and deveined
1 package Chinese noodle soup, seafood flavor
2 tbsp wok or sesame oil, separated
5 scallions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic
1 small piece of ginger, cut into thick slices
1 carrot, thinly sliced
2 packages of button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
~1 grocery bag full of baby bok choy, leaves taken apart and thoroughly washed
~2 tbsp soy sauce (or more, to taste)
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp hoisin sauce

Heat 1 tbsp oil in large skillet. Add half the garlic, scallions, and ginger, and saute 3 minutes. Add shrimp, and cook until pink through. Remove from pan using slotted spoon.

Cook noodles according to instructions, but add only a tiny bit of the soup base, not the whole thing.

Add other tbsp oil to skillet. Add remainder of garlic, scallions, and ginger, and saute 3 more minutes. Add mushrooms and cover, cooking on medium heat until mushrooms have released juices and turned a light brown. Add baby bok choy, and cook until mostly wilted, 5-7 minutes. Add carrot, and stir.

Now start adding soy sauce, curry powder, sugar, and hoisin sauce to taste. If you like a little more heat, feel free to add sriracha.  When it tastes good, add the shrimp and the noodles. Stir fry until all the sauce and flavors are distributed and absorbed.  Enjoy!