The Secret

A local ramen shop has been serving a chili-based condiment that I have been trying for years to duplicate. Not with the single-minded dedication of the truly obsessed, but on occasional weekends I pull out the bottle that I bought from the shop, raid my pantry, and once again attempt to deconstruct the final product, so that I can reproduce it in my kitchen.

Last weekend, I had to replenish my stock of gochujang, and the market didn’t have any of my preferred, super-hot, brand, so I settled for the “medium” that was available–but I bought the smallest tub, because really. Medium?

However, as soon as I tasted it, I knew. I knew. This was the ingredient. This was the base of the delicious red sauce dolloped into noodle bowls or drizzled over soft tofu. Today’s experiments successfully replicated the exact flavor profile, so I am now the proud owner of a bottle of homemade chili sauce.

I used roughly equal parts gochujang, rice wine vinegar, sriracha, sesame oil, and light soy sauce. I added a dollop of mirin, shook well, adjusted a bit, and voila! Dinner, therefore, was furikake onigiri and soft tofu with chili sauce, scallions, and bonito flakes.

For the tofu, just cut a well-drained block in half–each half is one serving, if you are a tofu freak like me. Then top with sliced scallions, bonito flakes, and a generous amount of chili sauce. The cool, creamy tofu perfectly supports the salty, sour, sweet, and hot flavors of the toppings.

I love food, so very much. Thus, my waistline. Which also likes food. Excellent.

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