Instant noodles aside, those who have the time and the resources should make the effort to head to the nearest decent ramen house and ask for a bowl. Its food for the soul! And, I might add, Japan‘s healthy “fast food”. By that I mean the “real” stuff, no disrespect to Mr. Ando.
For those handy in the kitchen,(and far from the many stalls and ramen houses of Japan) conjouring up a pot or bowl of this steaming hot, flavourful stuff should be attempted at home. The secret here, as any good chef will tell you, is in the stock. Ramen chefs in Japan are known to undergo years of training to master the art of the soup, and each ramen shop has its own special recipe.
There are several kinds of ramen, which are categorised by their type of stock. The “salt” (shio), “soy sauce” (shoyu),”pork” (tonkotsu) and miso.
Heres a great recipe I found, written by one named “Richard”, who like me, agrees that a bowl of authentically good ramen is not easy to find outside of Japan. His recipe is based on the ramen in Hokkaido, where miso is the popular base used.
There are four elements: Soup, Base, Noodles, and Toppings.
1. The soup is prepared beforehand.
2. Make the base, add to bowl.
3. Prepare the toppings.
4. Heat the soup and prepare the noodles.
5. Add the hot soup to the bowl and mix, add the noodles.
6. Quickly fry the toppings that need to be cooked and add them to the the bowl.
7. Add the uncooked toppings and serve.
In a large soup kettle add some uncooked chicken and/or pork bones, some fresk ginger shopped into chunks, and some greens like bok choy, chinese cabbage and/or spring onions. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for 1-2 hours. Skim off the foam occasionally. Add salt to taste. Strain. Freeze and use for ramen, various soups and sauces.
The flavour may come from the base, but the body comes from the soup. If the worst comes to the worst, you can use water, or water flavoured with instant chicken stock, but for the real deal, you have to make your own soup stock.
This is a paste of miso and flavourings that is the defining taste of miso ramen, so although it is fairly non-critical in terms of amounts and substitutions, it must be kept within certain bounds. Heat a tablespoon of cooking oil and a teaspoon of sesame oil and fry some minced garlic over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup of miso paste and 2T soy sauce. Add chili oil or chopped dried red chili peppers to taste. Cook over low heat for about a few minutes.
There is some choice here. Chinese dried egg noodles work pretty well, but you can also buy fresh ramen noodles in some supermarkets or better yet make them yourself with a pasta maker. (Flour, egg, water) I’m also comfortable using dried udon noodles. Limit the use of instant noodles is to life and death circumstances only. Whichever, the finish is the same: poor the noodles into a sieve or colander, and rinse with boiling water. Drain and serve. The rincing part is to wash off the starch, and it is important.
[tags]Japanese food, ramen, recipe[/tags]