Simple Ramen Recipes for a Rainy Night

Typhoons and the monsoon wind have arrived in our country. Heavy rains have been pouring nonstop, nearly taking away all the summer heat with it. The clouds are gloomy, the air is moist and cold. This weather is also known as soup weather for most of us, as there is nothing more comforting than coming home on a rainy to eat a hot bowl of soup. Bonus points if it is ramen.

The ramen craze had taken over the world a few years and different ramen joints have popped up here and there, serving ramen with different styles— hakata style, shio, miso, paitan and others. So much so that it seems quite intimidating to make.

But in this post I will teach you how to have good ramen at home any time— even for a beginner at home with instant ramen as a base.

We will tackle the following:

• Basic soup broth (we won’t tackle the more difficult soups like Paitan and Tonkotsu)
• Soft-boiled eggs
• Shio Ramen
• Sesame-based soy ramen/tantan ramen shortcut
• Shoyu ramen
• Miso ramen
• Instant Noodle Upgrade (and choosing better instant ramen as base).

Basic Elements of Ramen:

There are some basic elements for you to make a good ramen. This will be important in building and customizing your hot bowl of noodle soup. Here are some of them:

Soup base/ flavor element – the soup base will used to differentiate your ramen in terms of taste and style. Some of these elements might be: miso base, tantan/sesame, shio/salt, soy, among others. This is where most of the ramen flavor would come from.

Noodles – choose your ramen noodles based on your preference, in terms of thickness, how it is made etc. Generally, thicker ramen noodles go great with richer soups or dips.

Broth – a good broth is integral to your ramen. This can come in any form: chicken, beef, pork, vegetarian. To make good chicken or pork broth, there are different ways and concentrations to do it, but it is important for meat broths that you boil the bones, fat and some innards (liver, etc), along with aromatics like garlic, onion and leeks.

Toppings – this is customizeable but the usual toppings are: wakame (usually dried and soaked in water for a few minutes), spring onions, menma (bamboo shoots), mushrooms, narutomaki (white fish cake with pink swirl patterns), meat such as ground pork or chicken, or slices of pork belly and soft-boiled egg.

Preparing Ramen Elements

Making soup broths:

Chicken:

Ingredients: 3 cloves of garlic, 1 whole onion, peeled and sliced into half, a few peppercorns, 1 stalk of leeks (roots removed), 1/2 chicken (preferably chicken neck, wings, feet and breast), chicken livers and gizzards, about 4-5 cups of water.

Place all ingredients in one pot and bring to a boil for 30-45 minutes or longer, removing any foam that forms on top as it boils.The minimum time for a good broth to form is about 30 minutes, but you can get great flavor out of this if you boil longer, up to 2 hours.

Beef or Pork:

Replace with 1/2 kilo of pork bones and trotters for pork and 1/4 kilo beef and beef bones for beef, but all other ingredients above are the same, except that you can add a sheet of dried kombu kelp if available.

Before boiling the pork bones and trotters, soak in cold water for 30 minutes to an hour then rinse and clean each piece before putting in the pot along with the other ingredients to boil.

Don’t forget to remove the impurities or foam that forms on top. Boil for at least 30 minutes. For optimal taste and if you have time, boil this for at least 3 hours minimum.

Dashi:
Use 1 cup of bonito flakes, or a teabag of dashi against 2-3 cups of water, and boil for 10 minutes.

Soft-boiled Egg

Put the egg in boiling water for six minutes. After six minutes, remove the egg from the boiling water and transfer to an ice bath until it is cool enough to peel. You may slice the egg with a clean piece of dental floss, or a very sharp and thin knife.

Ground Pork/beef topping:

Sauté 100g of ground pork or beef in garlic, oyster sauce and a little sweetener (honey, sugar, stevia etc). Optional to add 1/2 tsp of Tobanjan chili paste (chili bean paste).

Chashu:

I have not ventured into making my own chashu yet as most of my ramen takes are for one or two people only. But you can actually order just the chashu topping in most ramen or japanese restaurants.

Making the Ramen Itself

The principle is the same for most quick and basic ramen recipes

put the soup base at the bottom of the pan, add the cooked noodles, add the stock, then add the toppings of your choice.

Shio Ramen base:

  • 1 Tablespoon Sea Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Mirin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sesame Oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon Soy Sauce
  • Optional to add dashi powder or 1 tsp katsuboshi/bonito flakes

Combine all ingredients at the bottom of the bowl. Add the cooked ramen noodles and then the broth of choice (usually pork or chicken). Then put your toppings of choice.

Just last weekend, there was a typhoon and I wanted something really warm for breakfast. Shio ramen- My toppings were rehydrated wakame, soft boiled egg, narutomaki, leeks and ground pork

Shoyu Ramen base:

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon sake (if available)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
2017 – it suddenly rained when a friend came over for lunch. Decided to make this quick pork broth based shoyu ramen to warm our stomachs.

Same instructions as above. Combine all ingredients and place at the bottom of the bowl. Add the cooked ramen noodles and then the broth of choice (usually pork or chicken). Then put your toppings of choice.

Miso Ramen Base:

  • 1 tablespoon miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 teaspoon oyster sauce

Same instructions as above. Combine all ingredients and place at the bottom of the bowl. Add the cooked ramen noodles and then the broth of choice (usually pork or chicken). Then put your toppings of choice.

Tantan Ramen Shortcut:

My first Tantan ramen in 2013 with a rich pork bone broth. Looks paler than needed because the chili oil hasn’t been mixed through
  • 2 tablespoons sesame paste/tahini
  • 1 tsp. peanut butter (if you are making the peanut version)
  • 1 teaspoon soysauce
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon tobanjan paste or 1 tablespoon chili oil
  • 1 cup warmed soy milk

My favorite among all ramen recipes! For this recipe, I did not use peanuts as I am highly allergic to it. However, you can have the same nutty flavor by adding more sesame paste instead (the original tantan ramen recipe calls for sesame paste and not peanut paste anyway)

Mix the sesame paste, soysauce and vinegar until it becomes a smooth paste at the bottom of the bowl. Combine 1 cup warmed soy milk with 1 or 2 cups of pork bone broth. Add to the ramen bowl and put in ramen noodles in the bowl along with other toppings (protein topping here should be ground pork sauteed in chili bean paste). Top with the tobanjan or chili oil, or mix these in the broth before pouring it into the bowl.

Upgraded Instant Ramen

When buying instant ramen, choose ramen either with less sodium content, has better looking ingredients or with generally a good taste.

There are different types of instant ramen: fresh noodles these usually come in see through plastic pouches. Some are in the chiller section of the grocery. Another type is the dried noodles, and they look like a small pasta packet, but there are other versions too. And the most common is the fried dried noodles– the ones that come in curly cakes of dried noodles. If you are avoiding fried dried noodles, check the nutrition facts! Dried noodles will have almost zero grams of fat vs. fried noodles where it can go as high as 8-10 grams.

If available, try to get Marutai Ramen Noodles or Ichiran or any thin noodle instant ramen. (See photo below) If not, you can stick with your favorite brand, or experiment on what is available.

  1. When preparing the noodles — boil the noodles according to package instructions.
  2. Prepare your serving bowl and empty the seasoning packet onto the bowl. If it is a powder, you can mix it with 1 tsp sesame oil or 1-2 tsp water and place it at the bottom of the bowl until it becomes a smooth paste. This will avoid any powdery textures in the soup, any clumping and will also encourage a more even manner of spreading the flavor/base.
  3. Once noodles are cooked, remove the noodles from the boiling water and transfer directly into the bowl (do not rinse in cold water). Pour hot water into the bowl and gently mix with chopsticks until the soup base is evenly distributed.
  4. Top your ramen with toppings of your choice. I like to put spring onions or leeks for freshness, a soft boiled egg, a protein element such as ground pork sautéed in oyster sauce and sesame oil or chashu slices, some rehydrated wakame and slices of narutomaki
Instant Ichiran Ramen is so delicious but it would taste better if you have toppings along with it. Kept it simple with ajitamago (marinated soft boiled egg), chashu slices, green onions and rehydrated wakame

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