The first thing that comes to one’s mind when you hear the word ramen is a hearty bowl of soup/broth with some ramen noodles, vegetables and meat which one can slurp. These noodles are usually made with wheat flour, salt, water and kansui, which is the alkaline mineral water that gives the yellow hue and the firm texture.
There’s no need to get disheartened looking at those ingredients though. The dish is quite simple and easy to make in fact. Before we begin to cook ramen, here are some basic types of ramens and what each on stands for so you can decide the flavor you want.
The four broth-based styles are -
- SHOYU - Soy sauce-based and the most common style. Specialty of Tokyo.
- MISO - Made with the help of miso paste – fermented soybeans. Specialty of Sapporo.
- SHIO - The lightest ramen style, made from a variety of dried seafood and seaweed. Specialty of Hakodate.
- TONKOTSU - A belly buster with a broth made from long-cooked pork bones.
A few things that you should keep in mind while making ramen are –
- The main flavor of the ramen is from the stock, so make sure that the stock is flavorful and delicious.
- If it’s difficult to make the noodles at home, you can get a pack of instant ramen noodles from your local store.
- Meat is an important factor when it comes to cooking ramen hence don’t spare any cost when it comes to choosing one. Make sure it’s tender and flavourful. Ground meat is the best and spicy meat works best with ramen.
- As for toppings, you can add anything from finely chopped scallions to an assortment of vegetables. Try to finish the bowl with a soft-boiled egg that will give it that extra richness.
- Have it warm. Remember, ramen first, friends later.
Expert View -
‘’Keep the stock simple. Season things properly. While making the broth keep in mind that more the bones, the better the flavor so a ratio of 80 percent bones to 20 percent mirepoix (diced carrots, onions and celery sauteed in butter) does the trick. If unable to make noodles at home, some store-bought spaghetti boiled with baking powder helps it stay chewy, which is what you need. Assemble your bowl like a pro coz you eat with your eyes first and then with your mouth. Respect your ramen bowl and the chef by slurping the noodles.’’ – Ronak Nanda, Chef/Owner, The Omakase Kitchen
The Ramen Recipe -
The first step is to make the stock that will act as the base for the ramen. You can either buy readymade stock from the market, buy stock cubes and boil it with water or make it this way.
The basic things you will need are:
Carrots – roughly chopped with skin
Onions – roughly chopped
To start with, heat the pan and put in the chicken bones/carcass and brown them. That is what will give it the flavor. Add the carrots, celery, onions and cook them as well. Lastly, fill it up with hot water and do not forget to deglaze the pan in order to extract every inch of flavor present in the pan. Let the water simmer for about 40-45 mins. There will be scum i.e. dirt on top, remove the same and discard using a ladle.
After about 45 mins -60 mins, the base is ready, strain the stock and set it aside. It’s now time to make the Ramen.
To make ramen, the ingredients needed are:
- 1 egg – soft boiled
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 4-5 pcs shiitake mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 carrot, julienne
- 2 tablespoons chopped scallions
- 1 pack instant ramen noodles
You start with –
- Heat oil in a sauce pan and add in ginger and garlic and saute them. Keep stirring frequently for about 2 mins.
- Add in the sliced shitake mushrooms, soy sauce and mix well before adding in the chicken stock. Bring this to a boil and simmer it, this should take about 5-8 mins or until the mushrooms have softened.
- Add in the instant ramen noodles and let them cook for about 2-3 mins.
- Once done, remove in a hearty bowl, top with carrots, scallions and the soft-boiled egg.