Ramen, a Japanese noodle soup recipe, has crossed the borders of its country of origin and spread around the world like wildfire. The dish is actually of Chinese origin that bases its success on its umami flavor. And you too can prepare the most delicious Japanese ramen at your own home – a homemade one, not the instant store-bought version.
This dish features an intense meat-based broth with a bunch of added ingredients such as bacon, pork, eggs, nori seaweed, bean sprouts, bamboo, chives, and so on.
The true secret of success is largely in the broth. To get an intense base with an umami flavor, you can use pork or even chicken bones, as well as miso paste. Shoyu, Shio, Miso, and Karre are the four most popular broth ramen options.
Although the process is not complicated, it’s true that it takes time. Luckily, today we can help ourselves with new technologies and cook the ramen broth in an express pot instead of spending hours attending to the casserole.
1. Go with Miso for Your Broth
If you want the most authentic umami (meaty and delicious) taste for your ramen broth, you can mix miso with the boiling water. Of course, it’s perfectly fine to use pork or chicken bones together with miso as well for an even richer taste. These days, it’s simple enough to get your hands on the miso paste from Asian stores and markets as well as better equipped supermarkets. So, if you’re looking for the easiest yet equally delicious broth recipe, mixing a spoonful of miso paste with boiling water will definitely do the trick.
2. Toss an Egg in Your Ramen
If there’s one thing that truly makes Japanese ramen recipe different from the plain instant noodle soups, it’s undoubtedly the rich taste of eggs. Adding an egg to ramen broth is actually rather popular and there are plenty of varieties involving the use of boiled, scrambled, raw eggs, etc. That said, you can simply crack an egg into your boiling broth, cook them on medium heat so that you can chuck the halves into the broth, or maybe even experiment with the scrambled yellowy goodness as it mixes with broth and noodles. Whatever route you decide to take, make sure to include egg in it.
3. Don’t Hesitate to Add Veggies
The Japanese strive to eat healthily, even when it comes to comfort food such as ramen. This is precisely why the majority of Japanese ramen recipes include all sorts of vegetables. A couple of minutes before your broth is cooked, toss in your veggies. The great thing about modern-day cooking is that you can easily get a package of a frozen veggie mix that doesn’t only save you money but time as well. Of course, you can opt for fresh vegetables if you so desire. You really can’t go wrong with some carrots, broccoli, and peas, all topped off with fresh chives and maybe other fresh greens that are in-season. You also have the freedom to mix and match other veggies or go with a single veggie choice if you so prefer. The beauty of ramen is that you can experiment with it to your heart’s content until you find your ideal taste.
4. Get Your Dose of Protein
Not only is Japanese ramen one of the greatest comfort foods today, but it can also keep you full for longer if you make it a point to add an adequate amount of protein. So, aside from the egg, make sure that your ramen has some meat in it. In general, beef and chicken are the most popular options, but you can also opt for pork or fish. If you’re going with pork, keep in mind that boneless rolled pork shoulder is the best meat piece option for delicious ramen taste. In case you’re looking for a meat-free recipe that will manage your hunger just as well, you can’t go wrong with stir-fried tofu.
5. Sauce Things Up
While everything is cooking nicely, it’s time to spice up your ramen to match your taste. In general, the most traditional option involves adding about a teaspoon of soy sauce, but you can up or lower the dosage according to your liking. What’s more, there are plenty of different soy sauce flavors that can make the taste of your ramen more flavorful and aromatic. Aside from the soy sauce, those of you who like their meals hot and spicy can also add chili sauce to your ramen noodles. Cayenne peppers are also a popular choice for spicy food lovers.
6. Broil the Noodles
The right way to make really good Japanese-style ramen is not to overcook your noodles. This is precisely why noodles are typically added at the very end into the broth, once it already starts boiling. But, you can take things up a notch and broil your noodles as well, before tossing them back into the soup.
Now, with your ramen done and ready to eat, simply strain the broth into another pan, take the noodles out, and place them on aluminum foil. Set your oven to broil and chuck the noodles on the foil into the oven for just a minute or two. Remove the noodles from the oven quickly, place them back to the broth, and enjoy a crispier taste of your ramen.
7. Stir Fry Your Ramen
Stir-fried ramen is a true delicacy when it comes to Japanese ramen recipes and it doesn’t take too much of your time once your ramen is cooked and ready to eat. Essentially, all you have to do is remove your ramen from the pot, oil the wok, and toss everything in the wok to stir and fry for a couple of minutes. If you don’t like your veggies cooked, this is a great technique to add the greens to your ramen as you stir fry so that you can enjoy the crunchier and more enhanced taste of the vegetables as well.
There’s no special etiquette when it comes to eating ramen but you should know that it’s preferable to show off your enjoyment in a very obvious fashion. That said, in Japan, it’s customary to eat this dish quickly, slurp loudly, and finish all the noodles and toppings in the bowl. What’s more, Japanese tradition says that if you finish all the noodles in the bowl before finishing the rest of the dish, you can order another serving.
If you’re not sure what kind of ramen you like but you have a great desire to try the variety of traditional Japanese-style ramen recipes, don’t hesitate to pay us a visit at Ichimora. We pride ourselves on delivering the most delicious Asian comfort food to our customers, all spiced up with deep love, care, and skillful cooking practices necessary to make the whole experience truly special and unforgettable. While there are true beauty and mindfulness in preparing your own homemade ramen, there’s also undeniable pleasure in getting to relax after a long day in a soothing environment of our Ichimora restaurant where you can count on our staff to bring good food to you that will warm up your tummy and soul.