Japanese noodle bars have been popping up everywhere and they are serving delicious slurpable ramen bowls that are a lot more satisfying than the instant ramen of one’s college days. They also bring almost as instant gratification. Japanese Ramen soup recipes follow a typical combination that includes broth, noodles, meat and some kind of vegetable. You can combine these ingredients at home to make the best ramen ever in three steps. Here is how to do it.
Choose a Noodle
Shop the international aisle of your local market. Look for udon or soba noodles. If you’re in a bind you can also choose whole-wheat spaghetti for your ramen bowl. To make four servings of ramen boil about 8 ounces or 1/2 pound of noodles.
In traditional Japanese ramen pork broth is often used. It is also called tonkotsu but you can choose homemade or store-bought chicken broth as your base. Use about 8 cups of broth and boil. Whisk in a quarter cup of miso paste. You’ll find this ingredient in any grocery store in the refrigerated section. Add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and whisk together.
If you would like to make it vegetarian ramen simply whisk in miso into a vegetable broth or plain boiling water. If you are new to miso, this nutritious and flavorful soybean paste comes in different colors based on how long the soybeans used to make it work fermented. White is the most subtle flavor and red or brown miso is saltier and more pungent.
Customize the Soup
This third step is the most fun. Choose one of the ingredient combinations below or pick from the list of add-ins and invent your own flavor combinations.
Hot and sour ramen:
this blend adds a touch of Thai flavored tang to the soup. Bring your broth to a simmer and add one tablespoon of thinly grated ginger, the juice, and zest of one lime and a thin sliced Thai or Serrano chile. Add a tablespoon of light brown sugar and cook for 5 minutes. Then add about a pound of medium peeled and deveined shrimp to the broth. Continue cooking until the shrimp turns pink. Divide the ramen up into four bowls and add the noodles. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges.
this soup is filling and is popular with kids, so it is a great variation to try. Bring your broth to a simmer and add a minced clove of garlic together with the pinch of crushed chili pepper flakes. Cook for 5 minutes and add about a dozen fresh or frozen meatballs. Cook until the meatballs are warm and then add 1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes cut in half. Divide between four bowls and add your noodles. Garnish every bowl with minced flat leaf visa parsley and serve with Parmesan on the side.
This easy vegetarian version gets bold flavor from sautéed mushrooms. Add a pound of thinly sliced cremini mushrooms and cook in a few tablespoons of unsalted butter over medium-high heat for 5 minutes until the mushrooms are brown. Stir and cook for 5 min. more and then divide between the four balls and add your noodle. Add sesame oil and garnish each ball with minced scallions and a few sesame seeds.
Here is a twist on a traditional Italian soup, ramen-style. Whisk four large eggs with 1 tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Bring your broth to a simmer and pour the eggs into the broth in a thin stream. Be sure to whisk constantly so the eggs break into thin strands as they begin a begin cooking.
Next, add 2 cups of fresh spinach and cook until the spinach wilts. Divide the mixture up into your four bowls and add the noodles. Garnish every bowl with minced scallions. Serve with Parmesan cheese.
Chicken noodle ramen:
Add two peeled carrots chopped into coins along with two diced celery stalks to your broth and simmer. Then add the vegetables and cook until tender. Add a cup of shredded rotisserie chicken and cook. Then, divide up between the four bowls and the noodles.