You’ve seen it on TV, you’ve seen it on Anime, you’ve seen it from Naruto slurping down a big bowl of deliciousness. It's ramen, and you probably had it at a ramen place where you thought, “oh my goodness this is way too delicious for me to be able to make the same thing at home” (actually those words are probably less spoken then you think it would be). But no matter, help is at hand with my easy-to-make ramen recipe. Still feel a bit daunting? Trust me after several times, it would be like muscle memory similar to riding a bicycle.
First off, the most important ingredient of ramen is…. Ramen noodles(duh). There are many types of ramen, so much so that it would take me 4 blog posts to tell you every kind that I see out there in the market. There are the regular ones that you see and get from places like Shin-Sen Gumi, which is a thinner type of noodle, or egg noodles which is the more common ones served at ramen shops.
My personal favorite however are the Okinawan style noodles, these noodles are similar to the traditional ramen noodles, only that they are much curlier than regular noodles, and with the right amount of cook time, a lot chewier. But honestly any noodle you can get your hands on would do the trick. I have used udon noodles, Chinese egg noodles, and it works the same. So, don’t sweat it if you can’t find the Okinawan noodles. You can find these noodles in H mart, 99 ranch, mitsuwa, nijiya, any Asian supermarket would have some sort of variant.
[Myojo Okinawa Soba(noodles) courtesy of amazon.com]
Next up is miso paste, again any miso paste will do. You can find it in almost any market nowadays. I would pick a thicker and redder mix. Also, what you would need are chili oil, butter, sesame oil, garlic cloves and chicken stock. For the soup base you can either go with pork bones or any pork belly will do.
Noodles come in all forms, if you are buying dry noodles, I recommend boiling them to al dente before putting into the broth in the later steps. While boiling the noodles, take 2 tablespoons of cooking oil and pour into the boiling pot. This will keep the noodles from sticking. Your noodles should be proportioned to serving amount.
If you can get pork bones, chances are they are refrigerated or frozen, what you want to do is take several pieces of the pork bones and put in a boiling water. This process takes out any excessive water that is trapped inside of the bones. Do not leave it in the water for too long, we do not want to cook it just yet. Leave it in the water for less than a minute, then drain the bones out.
Meanwhile, take a pot and put it on medium heat, wait for a minute or two. Put the chopped garlic clove in. In this step if you do not have the pork bones, you can put the pork bell slices in there. Do not worry about the pork belly sticking to the pot. The oil from the pork will act as cooking oil in this process.
If you have the pork bones out them into the pot and stir. Once the pork is half cooked, pour one can of chicken stock into the pot. Cover it until it boils. Once its boiling start putting in one tablespoon of miso paste, stir until most of it dissipates. Then put a dash of sesame oil into the boiling broth.
At this point you must be wondering why there are no mention of proteins, because proteins are up to your liking. I usually would grill some beef, black pork sausage ahead of time. Spinach and/or enoki mushrooms are great addition to your ramen. Veggies would be added at this point, while cooked meat would go into the pot last.
Take a tablespoon worth of butter and put it in the pot. Now take the noodles and put them into the pot as well. Last but not least the proteins you have prepared previously. Let the pot boil for a little bit, and there you have it. You own home-cooked ramen. I would taste the soup before adding additional ingredients after putting in the miso paste. If it is not enough, you can add small dashes of soy sauce to make it taste better.
Another great addition to your ramen would be cha-siu that you buy from Japanese market. Or make it yourself in which I can teach you in another blog post. But for now, sit back and enjoy a delicious bowl of ramen on a cold winter day, or if you are crazy, then on a hot summer day as well. Enjoy.