From the first day I ever tried Ramen in America it truly changed my life. I had always love noodles but Ramen was something different! Ramen was magical! Ramen was fast!!! Ramen was easy but was Ramen good for me?!? Of course in the 80s and being around age 14, I was not asking those questions. Kids are far more advanced in kitchens and with the help of the internet can also ask better questions.
Skipping forward from age 14ish to living on my own. Ramen had remained a staple dish into my early twenties (and beyond) for cheap eats. I was more worldly lol and grown up…I added things like veggies and meats but many times I was still using those toxic little flavor packs. In 2004 when I traveled to Japan and then to Hong Kong my world of Ramen was changed forever. I realize it was the chicken soup for the soul, Asian style. I understood that it was as important and complex as nana’s yummy matzo ball soup, only with noodles instead of Jewish dumplings. There was freedom of making your own broth then adding ramen. Now it could actually become fast, healthy and versatile comfort food, for years to come.
A little about how ramen became serious eats with a dash of ramen history. Ramen has only been in Japan for a little over 100 years, originating from China’s lo mien wheat noodle. Originally named “shina soba” meaning Chinese noodle was changed in the 1950’s for being derogatory term.
Ramen in Mandarin means “pulled noodle” but other parts it simpley means (cut noodle) either way I think “YUMMY NOODLE!” When I hear the word ramen.
Today it is simpley known as “Ramen” but there is nothing simple about this brothy noodle bowl. Known now as one of Japan’s style noodle in broth but never to be confused with UDON or SOBA.
Japan takes many food dishes very serious and even young ramen is no exception. Every ramen joint has their own way of making their secret broth. It is custom to eat your ramen as soon as it is delivered to your table because after 5 minutes of hanging out in the hot broth the noodles start to get soft and mushy loosing that springy texture we all love and crave.
The main broth bases are:
Shio (she-oh “salt” sea salt) Shoyu (show-you soy sauce) Miso (me-so fermented bean paste) tonkotsu (pork bone)
This is a very different noodle soup then soba buckwheat wheat noodles (GF) and Udon very large noodle also wheat cooked in a simple dashi broth.
That is for a whole different blog.
I have always been a lover of soup; my passion for soup and love for noodles, what a match made in heaven! Really just toss in some imagination and you can create something simple, unique and the perfect comfort food for your taste. Minimalist may just like broth and noodles, kick the flavors up from around the world infuse your ramen with American, African, Asian, Mediterranean even Italian and Mexican spices. I’m going to share three different ramen ideas with you but I hope you don’t always follow my recipe and you get out and make your own crazy creation.
My quick and easy Ramen is miso base with noodles and a few veggies like bok choy, bean sprouts, cabbage topped with cilantro and chili garlic paste.
There is a chef called “Ivan Ramen” who has an awesome story about how his love of ramen came to be. We must think alike because we both based our chicken ramen on the love for matzo ball soup.
The funny thing about Ivan is he said when he landed in Japan he felt like he was home, I felt that same exact way when I first drove into NYC.
I make my ramen with sliced chunks of chicken, chicken fat, broth I have simmered a couple hours with a whole fresh chicken, parsley, garlic, onion, celery, carrots, salt and pepper. I top with fresh grated carrot, sliced scallions and fresh chopped parsley.
Ivan uses his own noodle recipe, a whole lot of chicken fat and tops his with fried chicken skin. I don’t have his whole recipe but it sounds divine and I can’t wait to try his version too.
I love adding eggs to things like chili’s, pasta and RAMEN! So does chef Roy Choi. I can’t remember where I saw this but Roy said growing up they would make top ramen from a package with the season package, American cheese and egg. I was grossed out and curious so, one day I too added cheese to my ramen and it was not bad at all. I of course used real cheddar and not plastic cheese. Topped it with a local pepper sauce called ” Rocket Sauce” (like Sriracha but with better flavor) from a restaurant called “Joolz” named after the owners wife.
Ramen with Egg
Veggie or miso broth
1 block of ramen
2 handfuls of fresh spinach
1/4 cup of mild cheddar cheese
1 clove of garlic
Fresh grated ginger
Heat some water in a pot or veggie stock, grate in ginger, garlic, bring to a boil.
Next add ramen and cook one minute, then flip block for another minute. When the noodles start to separate kill the heat, stir in miso (if you didn’t use veggie stock) crack egg and cover. Two to four minutes, while you are waiting for your egg to poach. Get your bowl and place your spinach on the bottom with cheese (I used Mexican blend from Costco because it’s a mild flavor) pour hot broth over cheese and spinach, followed by your noodle egg nest. Top with scallions, cilantro and some pepper sauce if you desire.
oxox Ms Foodie
What ramen’s have you created??