The Slow-Cooker Chronicles/Toki — Thot’s so Ramen

Eating In, Eating Out

I know the title’s a stretch with 2 mediocre puns, AND it’s a combo recipe/restaurant review post, but bear with me. The restaurant portion needs no help, but like the title, I plan to rework and improve my cooking for next time. I wanted to document what I did as a jumping off point, and explain why I even went through all this trouble.

I happily jumped on the ramen bandwagon (thots love bandwagons) after a friend raved about his experiences at Toki Underground, a seriously tiny ramen restaurant in Southeast DC. Here’s me showing them some love on Yelp.

This was one of the top five meals I have ever had, hitting the mark on every type of flavor/texture I had ever imagined: sweet, spicy, crunchy, smooth, runny, salty, ALL OF IT. Do yourself a favor and call ahead on a weeknight (or weekend if you’re especially patient) and enjoy. I got the Red Miso ramen (spicy!) with a side of fried chicken (my friend knows what’s up). We had dumplings to start, and they were great, too. I mean seriously look at the top of the page.

There is no cute way to eat this, but when it tastes this good you aren’t thinking about looking cute. They even box up the broth and food separately so that your leftovers don’t get soggy. Two happy customers:

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Given how great Toki’s ramen was, and how freakin’ cold this winter was, I knew I had to give it the old post-grad try and make some soothing ramen at home. Plus I just love soup from the slow-cooker.

I did somewhat of a hybrid between these two recipes. Basically, I put 2lb of regular pork (may try shoulder next time) in the slow-cooker with

  • 32oz of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4c brown sugar
  • a container of sliced mushrooms
  • dash of soy sauce
  • about a cup of frozen diced onion
  • chopped scallions (however much was in the rubber-band pack)

I cooked it on low for about 6hrs since our slow-cooker tends to get (t)hotter than most, then shredded the pork and added 2 packs of plain ramen noodles (none of the seasoning) for a few minutes until they were cooked.

Topped with a poached egg and some Sriracha chili sauce:

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I’m looking forward to experimenting with some other flavors, maybe getting more adventurous with the broth and toppings. This was really yummy and could accommodate just about anything you have in your pantry, just not mind-blowing like Toki (not like I expected it to be). ThotFULL.

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Lettuce Collect Our Thots

Eating In

In an effort to add a little green to this thot’s diet (emphasis on little) and recreate some PF Chang’s yummyness without actually having to go to PF Chang’s, I give you……lettuce wraps.

The Instagram potential was too good for a thot like me not to try and make, but let me tell ya the family is still RAVING about this dinner an hour after we finished eating.

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My father said he thinks this is the best thing I’ve ever made. So that’s fun.

I used this recipe, (Damn Delicious) but made some cuts/swaps/additions:

  • Rather than buy a whole bottle of rice wine vinegar for 1tbsp, I just skipped it.
  • Ginger doesn’t do it for me, so I also skipped the ginger.
  • I swapped peanuts for water chestnuts, also due to taste preferences.
  • We happened to have garlic hoisin sauce (and you can never have too much garlic ever ever ever) so that’s what I used.
  • When all was said and done I probably ended up doubling the Sriracha (the heat balanced the sweetness of the peanuts well) and added another healthy splash of the hoisin sauce after measuring.

I can already tell we’ll be making this again and again for when the craving for Asian-y flavors hit. The chicken mixture turned out so well I’m planning to use the leftovers (aka maybe 1/2 cup full) atop my salad for lunch tomorrow. This ThotFULL.

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