We’re always looking for more inspiration to make at least occasional use of our tiny New York kitchens (that is, beyond making our customary morning bowl of oatmeal or using the counter space to store our mail), so a couple of weeks ago, we dropped into a class at the Institute for Culinary Education (ICE) (50 West 23rd Street, 212-847-0700) to learn to make Japanese noodles.
That class is one of many thematic recreational offerings at ICE; you can also learn to make Vietnamese fare or grill a perfect steak, hone knife skills, or take a lesson in hosting a dinner party. We’ve always opted for the cuisine-focused programs, which have paid off when we’ve picked up knife skills or pasta-making skills in the process of learning how to make food from a part of the world outside of our repertoire.
Our noodle class was packed with Japanophiles; our classmates had obsessively eaten at just about every Japanese noodle house in the city and were now ready to learn to make their favorite foods at home.
Instructor Mamie Nishide, who runs a Japanese cooking school independent from ICE, led us through recipes for soba, ramen, and udon before demonstrating how to make chashu and tempura and then turning us loose to cook. Three hours later, we sat down to a multi-course group meal paired to a sake tasting and then were set free with our packet of recipes for re-creating our work at home (though, we’d have to pick up a KitchenAid with a pasta attachment first).
We’re perpetually impressed with ICE’s recreational offerings, and we recommend them whether you’re flying solo, looking for a work team-building activity, or shopping around for something to do on a date that isn’t another night of drinks and then dinner. On that final note, we bet Hallmark and the grocery store have already reminded you of this, but Valentine’s Day is coming up. This would make a pretty good outing or gift.
Handmade Ramen Noodles
makes 4 servings
by Mamie Nashide
200 grams (7 ounces) all purpose flour
200 grams (7 ounces) bread flour
8 grams (1 1/2 teaspoons) sea salt
2 eggs plus water to make 6 ounces, more or less as needed
1. Mix flour and salt in a bowl. Add egg and water mixture.
2. Knead the dough until it is no longer dry. Wrap the dough with plastic and rest the dough in a warm place for 1 hour.
3. Using pasta machine, roll the dough and cut into spaghetti size. Dust with flour so that noodles do not stick together.
4. Bring water to boil and cook ramen noodle until al dente for 2 to 3 minutes.
5. Drain and serve with hot ramen soup.