[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]
Mazemen, which translates from Japanese to “mixed noodles,” is a soup-less variety of ramen. This version of mazemen relies heavily on the intense flavor of XO sauce, the jam-like savory condiment that originated in Hong Kong and includes powerful ingredients like cured ham, dried scallops, and dried shrimp. Here, ramen noodles are mixed thoroughly with XO, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and fat, which combine with the starch from the noodles to form a creamy, emulsified sauce that coats each and every snappy, slippery strand.
XO mazemen can be eaten at any time of day and can accommodate a large variety of toppings. The best part of all is that the dish comes together in about as much time as it takes to boil the noodles.
Why It Works
- Using super-flavorful XO sauce as the base for the sauce guarantees an incredible depth of flavor.
- Using a larger-than-needed mixing bowl allows you to vigorously stir the noodles, which helps the oil and liquid components combine with the starch on the exterior of the cooked noodles to form a creamy sauce.
- 1 portion ramen noodles, store-bought or homemade (see note)
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) XO sauce, store-bought or homemade (see note)
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) rendered pork fat or other oil (see note)
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) soy sauce
- For Serving:
- Sliced scallions
- 1 onsen egg (optional; see note)
- 5 to 6 blanched sugar snap peas (optional)
- Small bunch of radish sprouts (optional)
Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook according to package directions or recipe directions.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together XO sauce, rendered pork fat, rice vinegar, and soy sauce.
When noodles are cooked, drain briefly, then add to mixing bowl. Using tongs or chopsticks, immediately toss and stir noodles vigorously in the liquid at the bottom of the bowl, until the liquid turns creamy, about 30 seconds.
Transfer noodles to a serving bowl, using a rubber spatula to scrape any remaining sauce over the top. Garnish with sliced scallions and any of the other suggested toppings (onsen egg, snap peas, or radish sprouts) you desire. Serve.
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