I have been cooking for years and hosted a cooking podcast called "Kinds of Cooking." I love baking bread and cooking just about anything.
Ramen Is Like Pizza
That's right; ramen is like pizza. They are both perfect foods. Just want the minimum? Broth and noodles or crust, sauce, and cheese? Fine, that's good! Want to pile on fixings limited only by your imagination? Also good!
I love ramen, and it's one of my favorite things to make. This article will explain how to make ramen from scratch, but I am not above store-bought noodles or just making a quick 10-minute broth to get my fix. I like it all. But there is something special about making ramen from scratch and having a truly well-balanced broth and freshly made noodles. As for fixings? Add whatever you like! I usually just check the fridge to see what I've got and start planning from there.
For a while, a friend and I hosted a cooking podcast, and often we would stray into a conversation about ramen. Another great thing about it is you can have ramen soup, or fried ramen, go from a Japanese style to Korean, or just invent your own style! Ramen is powered by your imagination. I am not one for sticking simply to traditional recipes to the world is my ramen bowl (ha!).
Make the Noodles First
You might as well get this part out of the way. Noodles can be made in about 30 minutes and then stored in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for months. So if you know you are going to be making ramen, prep the noodles beforehand.
Ramen noodles are easy to make. There are only three ingredients, and it can all be done by hand if you want to go that route (or if you have to go that route). Make your life even easier and mix everything in a countertop mixer and roll out and cut the pasta with a pasta roller.
Once you make fresh noodles, it will be hard to go back to store-bought. Trust me; I lived a good portion of my life on a store-bought ramen noodle diet. But once you have made your own noodles, you will know the difference.
I made a how-to guide on making noodles, so instead of going full force in the direction, I have linked to that article, so you can see the full process in an easier-to-unpack format.
Get That Broth Simmering
To me, the broth is the most important part of the soup. You can easily make a decent broth in about 10-15 minutes, but to make a truly excellent broth, give yourself a couple of hours of simmering time.
If you are able, use fresh or homemade ingredients. I use fresh ginger and my own chicken stock, but I usually use minced garlic from a bottle. The key is to start the flavors off right, add in the additional flavors you want to showcase, and then let them simmer and mix over at least 2 hours. I usually don't go longer than two hours, but I know that many people swear on 10-12 hours simmers. I am not usually that patient when it comes to ramen, so I make due.
Experiment with what you like as well. Although some people might shudder and the audacity of it, one of my favorite things to add to my broth is Worcestershire sauce. To me, it adds a great balance of flavors that is hard to get using only soy sauce and other ingredients.
I also like my broth spicy and hot. So I add in crushed red peppers, Korean chili sauce, or some other agent that kicks the heat up. This is not for everyone, so just know what you like and focus on that.
The link below it takes you to my guide for making ramen broth. There are actually two recipes in the article, one for a simple 10-minute broth and one that I use 90% of the time. The ingredients are basic, but you can get as complicated as you want. Just make sure not to overdo it. When you simmer for hours and hours, you will sometimes get very bold flavors that you weren't expecting or that was much milder when you first started the broth.
What Do You Like in Your Ramen?
The last step is adding in your fixings. What do you like in your ramen? Eggs? Veggies? Meat?
There's no wrong answer because it's all good when added to your bowl. One thing I always add is eggs, so I did a short article about making easy-to-peel hard-boiled eggs.
For this particular batch of ramen, I used what I had in the fridge: hard-boiled egg, and yes, that is a pickled egg you see, chopped green onion, sliced yellow onion, shredded carrot, and chopped cabbage. Is this standard for my ramen soup? Kind of. The eggs and onion are usually there, but everything else just depends on what I have or what I got at the store.
I love adding thinly sliced beef or chicken. Mushrooms are a common choice. Chives or lemongrass. Bean sprouts of all different varieties. I have even made kimchi ramen which was simply amazing! Spicy but amazing.
One great thing about the fixings is you can never have too much or too little. If you don't like or don't have available very much, the noodles and broth are going to be delicious just by themselves.
Adding in the fixings is just the icing on the cake. Or to go back to my pizza analogy, the pepperoni on the cheese pizza! Check out the video below of the final pour before my wife and I dug into these ramen bowls!
And that's it! It seems simple, right? Well, I won't lie it's a process. But if you are like me and love ramen, it is totally worth it. Give it a try, and let me know what you think in the comments section.
Also, what do you like to put in your ramen? I'd love to hear about it, as I love experimenting with new things.
Ingredients for Homemade Ramen
- 1 bunch ramen noodles
- 2 cups ramen broth
- Lots of fixings, mushrooms, onions, egg, etc
- Heat broth to a low simmer.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and drop the pasta in. Stir gently, it should be done when it is all floating. 2-3 minutes.
- Drain pasta and add to a bowl. Top with fixings.
- Pour broth over the top and enjoy!
© 2018 Justin Richards