It’s no secret that I’ve been mildly obsessed with DC’s best ramen shop, Toki Underground. The decor comes straight out of my inner hipster’s dream treehouse, the music is consistently on-point, and every single item on their menu is heaven to my taste buds.
Especially when they serve Bulleit bourbon with a slice of pork belly.
Be still my beating heart.
The one tragic downside is that Toki Underground is no DC secret. With barely enough seating for your immediate family, combined with it’s beyond limited hours of operation, there’s almost always a line out the door, and you’re lucky if you’re quoted less than two hours for a wait.
But seriously. I tried to beat the crowd by getting there on a Tuesday night before they opened, and there was a line before the place even opened. By the time they opened their doors and the host could make his way through the line, we still had to wait 90 minutes for two seats.
There are days. Days when I’m horribly hung over or getting over a cold — days when the only remedy to misery is Toki’s hakata classic. On those rare days, I’ll brave the cold and wait 2+ hours for a cherished bar seat with the tiniest future lawyer in the world, and a chat with cocktail extraordinaire @DCVince.
But most days, I really don’t have time for such shenanigans. Perhaps, if a better coffee shop opened up nearby, I could just sit and get my work done while I wait for a table.
In the meantime, I’ve embarked on my quest towards real-life ramen. This tastes nothing like the Toki version, but it did help relieve some residual cold symptoms at the end of last week. And, learning how to master Toki’s six-minute egg was something that I’ve always wanted to do.
Recipe after the break.
Spinach, Mushroom, and Six-Minute Egg Ramen (serves two)
1 quart chicken stock
2 tablespoons miso paste
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 inch fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, whole
Green onions, finely sliced
1 inch from a lemongrass stalk
Pinch red pepper flakes
Two packages of ramen noodles (set the seasoning packets aside)
1 clove garlic, sliced
Handful of mushrooms, sliced
Baby spinach and/or arugula
Sriracha and soy sauce, to taste
In a medium saucepan, combine the chicken stock, miso paste, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, red pepper flakes, and a handful of green onions. Bring to a boil, and reduce to medium heat. Let simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.
For the six-minute eggs, fill a smaller pot with 3 to 4 inches of water, and bring to a boil. Using a spoon, carefully place both eggs into the boiling water, and set a timer for exactly six minutes. When the timer goes off, immediately remove the eggs from the hot water, and chill in a glass or bowl of ice cold water. Set aside.
Saute your mushrooms with a drizzle of olive oil, and then fry the sliced garlic until golden brown. Set aside both for toppings.
When the broth has simmered for 30 minutes, remove the lemongrass stalk and the garlic clove, discarding appropriately. Then, add the ramen noodles to the broth. Bring the broth to a fast boil, and transfer the noodles to bowls when they’re at the consistency you prefer. I like my ramen a little on the undercooked side, but some people like them saturated.
Before pouring broth into the bowls over your noodles, peel your eggs. Place one egg in each bowl, and slice in half with a sharp knife. The yolks should be runny, and the whites should be somewhat cooked. Then, ladle the hot broth into each bowl — the broth should further cook the eggs.
Garnish with spinach, mushrooms, fried garlic, and sesame seeds. Add sriracha and soy sauces to taste.