The ones we make when we aren’t feeling ambitious, but still want impressive results. We make them over and over again and always get rave reviews. At OXO, we like to call them our Back Pocket Recipes.
These recipes are too good not to share, and that’s what inspired us to start collecting them. So we’re getting back pocket recipes from our favorite chefs, influencers, cookbook authors and OXOnians, so you too can have a Back Pocket Recipe to rely on.
Ivan Orkin, the chef behind Ivan Ramen, has a recipe for a popular dish served throughout the hot months in Japan:
The name of this dish literally translates to “chilled Chinese”, and as all ramen dishes do, it traces its roots back to China. Besides being incredibly refreshing, the dish is also supremely versatile. Traditional toppings typically include; julienned ham, julienned cucumber, cooked egg, and sliced tomato, but one could add almost any leftovers found in the fridge. Cooked chicken, shrimp, roast beef, or even bacon are all excellent choices. You can also swap out the cucumbers and tomatoes for whatever fresh vegetables you have. In the spring, at Ivan Ramen, we do a version with crisp radishes and sweet peas. In the summer, we love to take advantage of peak season tomatoes and sweet corn, and during the fall some roasted squash or mushrooms make a great addition. The component that really brings the entire dish together is the tare, or dressing. It is an almost “drinkable” vinaigrette, which is wonderfully complex and displays a great balance of acidity, sweetness, and umami. Give this recipe a try on a hot day, or to take advantage of any leftovers you have in the refrigerator and make your own version. There are no rules!
Some notes on ingredients:
You really want to use fresh ramen noodles if you can. If they are frozen, make sure to handle them carefully while frozen, and let them thaw gently in the fridge before using. A thicker noodle is preferred for this recipe, but any ramen noodle will work. (In a pinch, dried ramen noodles with no seasoning, can be substituted. Cook them and cool them as described in this recipe)
Brown Rice Vinegar is available in many Asian grocery stores (or on Amazon). If you have never had it, you should seek it out. It is delicious. If you can’t find it or do not have it on hand for this recipe, go ahead and sub in either all rice vinegar or substitute a third of the rice vinegar with sherry or malt vinegar for a more complex flavor.
The recipe here is a fairly traditional version: