Like most Westerners, my first experience of how to make ramen was from a cup. Dried blocks and dehydrated corn magically transformed into squishy, springy noodles after three minutes in hot water, and being served in a Styrofoam cup, it was a portable meal even a child could make. Of course, my grandmother always made it better, what she called quick chicken soup, but that's beside the point.
Ramen used to have a bad reputation in the west as a cheap instant noodle that has fed many a starving college student, and at ten cents a pack, you can't really blame it. Ever since the invention of instant ramen in the 50's, the dried noodles have allowed people worldwide to taste a glimpse of the delicious world of ramen. But being a dehydrated noodle in a bag, it's not exactly gourmet.
Ramen in Japan, however, is a whole different story. While they love instant ramen as much as the rest of us, their love of ramen runs much deeper. Glorified as the ultimate fast food, ramen is easily found everywhere from convenience store shelves all the way to specialty shops selling bowls of freshly made noodles. The recipes of each restaurant are highly guarded, resulting in a cultural reverence over the springy, soft noodles.
With so much fuss being made over these noodles, making authentic ramen from scratch can be quite intimidating - the ramen shops may spend days working on one batch of broth, and if you've ever watched them pull noodles by hand, you'll know there is a delicate art behind the twisting and twirling of dough. (In fact, many apprentice ramen chefs have to train for at least a year before they are even allowed to pull ramen in front of customers! (*A*) )
Luckily, there are more practical ways make delicious Japanese style ramen at home that are much easier! While spending days on one bowl can result in a sinfully delicious bowl of noodles, you don't always have to invest a lot of time to make a delicious meal. To start our journey in the world of ramen let's explore ways to dress up those instant noodles to make them more authentic!
Each region in Japan has their own variation on ramen, but there are four flavors that are considered standard: shio, shoyu, miso, and tonkotsu. In this series, we will cover how to make versions of each dish. Shio ramen, originating from the north, is the subtlest flavor and a great place to start!
Shio ramen reminds me of the sea, so for this recipe I decided to use seafood instead of the traditional pork. If you're not a seafood fan, don't worry! You can use sliced pork chops or chicken breast, or just leave it out!
Recipe - Shio Ramen:
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Makes: 4 servings
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups dashi
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 inch ginger
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 pound scallops
- 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
- 1 sheet nori
- a handful of spinach
- 4 green onions
- 4 hard boiled eggs
- 4 packages fresh or dry Ramen Noodles
In a medium pot bring chicken broth and dashi to a boil over high heat. Prepare garlic and ginger by slicing into a few large pieces.
Once boiling, add garlic, ginger, sesame oil, salt, mirin and soy sauce to the broth. Reduce heat to medium high and let simmer for at least 15 minutes.
While the broth is simmering prepare the toppings. Heat up the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add scallops and corn and cook until the scallops are opaque. Remove from heat.
Prepare remaining toppings by cutting spinach, green onion, and nori into strips. Peel the hard boiled eggs and cut in half.
Right before serving bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add ramen packets and cook according to package instructions, typically 3 to 5 minutes.
Drain ramen and divide into 4 bowls. Arrange spinach and nori around the side of the bowls. Top with scallops and egg, then sprinkle green onion on top. Carefully pour broth over each bowl and serve immediately.
Recipe by Dani @ otakufood.com