My favorite trick for hosting low-stress dinner parties is this: let the machines do the work!
I can always rely on my trusty KitchenAid® 6-Quart Slow Cooker to keep the food warm and the party going while I’m busy hosting our friends and family. I love that my slow cooker pulls double duty for events; I can use it to cook the meal and to serve it up!
One of my go-to ideas for dinner parties is setting up a build-your-own-something bar. Guests can pick and choose the toppings they want, so you know that everyone will enjoy what they are eating. You don’t have to worry about spice levels because each person can make that decision themselves.
A particular favorite of mine is a build-your-own Ramen Bowl party. No one can resist a steaming hot bowl of noodles! Since ramen is served in a big bowl and doesn’t require any knives or forks to eat it, guests can perch up just about anywhere to dig in to their customized feast.
Set out a spread of topping options for an impressive tablescape. I like to include both meat and vegetarian options so no one is left out of the fun. For this party I set out sliced pork tenderloin, soft boiled eggs, red pepper flakes, thinly sliced jalapeno, shitake mushrooms, sliced scallions, bamboo shoots and pan-fried tofu.
No matter which toppings you decide to serve, the heart of the meal is a helping of tender ramen noodles in a savory spiced broth.
This simple broth requires just five minutes of prep time before your KitchenAid® Slow Cooker takes over for you. To make the prep work even easier, I used my KitchenAid® Pro Line® Series 5-Speed Cordless Hand Blender to prepare my broth ingredients.
To get chopped garlic and ginger pieces in a hurry, utilize the chopping attachment and set your KitchenAid® Pro Line® Series Hand Blender speed to 5. A few quick pulses is all you need to make quick work of this traditionally tedious task.
Transfer the garlic and ginger to your KitchenAid® Slow Cooker along with mushroom broth, soy sauce, rice vinegar, mirin, and sesame oil.
Let it simmer on Medium for anywhere between two and eight hours. Add dried ramen noodles to the broth thirty minutes before the start of your party. Once your guests arrive, check the noodles for doneness and turn your slow cooker down to the “keep warm” setting. Keep the lid on until everyone is ready to start building their ramen bowls.
You’ll want to place both tongs and a ladle in your slow cooker for serving; those ramen noodles have the tendency to squirm around when you try to dish them up!
I’m a total sucker for toppings, so I loaded my bowl up with a little bit of everything.
Try serving this with chilled sake or Japanese import beer to stay authentic to the theme. Your friends and family will love this clever and unique dinner party experience!
Ramen Broth Recipe
Makes 6-8 servings
1 inch fresh ginger root
3 cloves garlic, peeled
8 cups mushroom or vegetable broth
4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin (sweet cooking rice wine)
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
3 three-ounce packages of dried ramen noodles, seasoning packets discarded
Place the ginger root and garlic cloves inside the chopper attachment bowl of the KitchenAid® Pro Line® Series 5-Speed Cordless Hand Blender. Attach the hand blender and pulse on speed 5 until the garlic and ginger are finely chopped.
Transfer the ginger and garlic to the bowl of the KitchenAid® 6-Quart Slow Cooker and add the broth, soy sauce, mirin, vinegar, and sesame oil. Set the heat to medium and let simmer for up to eight hours, at least 2 hours at minimum.
Add the dried ramen noodles to the broth and let cook, covered, for thirty minutes until tender. Switch the 6-Quart Slow Cooker to the “Keep Warm” setting and serve with your choice of toppings.
*The Contributor of this post has been compensated by KitchenAid for this post, but this post represents the Contributor’s own opinion.*