Ramen (ラーメン) is one of my favourite things to cook (and eat!) because it’s so easy to make and the flavours are so simple. I recently learned on a trip to Japan that there are lots of varieties of ramen (the main ones being miso, shio, tonkotsu and shoyu) and some regions of Japan even have their own version of the classic dish.
Ramen can come as part of a set meal or as a standalone bowl of yummy-ness, though everywhere you go it is usually a meat or fish-based broth served on udon or ramen noodles, with vegetables and/or meat. It’s light enough to eat in Japan’s hot summers and can also warm up the soul in the winter. Authentic ramen is something you must try in Japan and you can really easily master it at home! Most people will have their own recipes, and mine is here. I especially love to serve it with dumplings – oishii! If you give this a try, let me know what you thought.
Emma’s Homemade Ramen (serves 2-3)
- handful of noodles
- one chicken or vegetable stock cube dissolved in 750ml of water – of course, you can make your own stock from scratch
- garlic, minced/paste works just fine – one tablespoon
- ginger, minced/paste – one tablespoon
- sesame oil – a generous splash
- soy sauce (light) – at least three tablespoons plus extra according to your taste
- mirin – two tablespoons
- toppings – I tend to use half a chicken breast per person (stir fried in a small amount of sesame oil, chili flakes, salt and pepper), lots of spring onion and some beansprouts. The beauty of ramen is that it really can be customised according to personal preferences
- one egg to top each bowl – this changes the game for me and is a must-have. Try and get your timing right so that after you boil it, the yolk is still soft. If you want to be really extra, pickle it in soy sauce. Yum!
- I usually start by cooking the chicken – cut into 2-3mm slices and stir fry in a little sesame oil with some salt and pepper to season. I like to add some chili flakes for a little kick. Once it’s cooked, set aside to add later. There are probably a million better ways to prepare the meat to go into ramen but I’m a really lazy cook.
- In a large pot, gently fry the garlic and ginger in enough sesame oil to coat the bottom. Cook until soft. If you’re using paste (like I do), you can go straight to step 3!
- Add the stock, soy sauce and mirin to the pot and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 10-15 minutes.
- While the broth simmers, prepare your vegetables. How you cook them will depend on what you’re using – for mine, I just boil the breansprouts in water and thinly slice the spring onion. A lot of people add thinly sliced chilli and sweetcorn – when it comes to the toppings on your ramen, the choice is entirely up to you!
- Cook your noodles in boiling water
- Boil the eggs – 6 minutes will be enough for a medium egg, so adjust that timing based on how you’d like your eggs cooked. I wish I knew how to prepare soy eggs but I just don’t, so we settle for plain boiled eggs.
- In a large bowl, serve your noodles with your chicken and vegetables. Ladel generous helpings of broth and top with spring onion and your egg.
The main thing I don’t include in my ramen is seaweed – absolutely hate the stuff and always take it out of ramen in restaurants – but a lot of people like it, so you can always pop a sheet in!
Dekiagari! Enjoy your delicious ramen!