When we think of Ramen in the U.S., what we typically think of are those little dried packets of noodles that have a little bag of powder in them, usually some chicken flavor or something like that. However, Ramen in Japan is actually real meal kind of soup. There are entire shops which just serve Ramen, and they are extremely popular. Ramen noodles actually originate in Chinese cuisine, but were heartily taken up by the Japanese.
We love making Japanese soups in general, and Ramen is no exception. If you can find fresh, not dried Ramen noodles, you will really be surprised at what a difference there is. They are soft, but springy, very flavorful, and very very satisfying to slurp up. Add in fresh-made broth, and some delicious ingredients, and you've got yourself a nice, full meal all in one bowl. There can be pretty much infinite variations to this soup - you can use different broths and different ingredients and come up with all kinds of great flavor combinations. Experiment!
The base of this particular soup is a simple Dashi Stock, so this recipe assumes you are starting with 4 cups of stock in a pot.
- Miso paste (I like white miso for soups)
- Soy Sauce
- Kamaboko (cured fish paste), sliced
- Thinly sliced pork loin
- 1/2 bunch spinach, washed
- 1 egg per person
- Ramen noodles
- Sesame seeds
- Nanami togarashi (spicy seasoning)
- Place eggs in the bottom of a saucepan, in a single layer.
- Cover eggs with cold water, so that they are covered by about an inch (2-3 cm).
- Salt the water with 1/2 tbsp per quart/liter of water.
- Set the covered saucepan on a cold burner, turn the heat up to medium, and let come to a simmer, then drop the heat to low.
- Let the eggs sit in the saucepan on low for 5 minutes, covered the whole time.
- Turn the heat off, and let the eggs sit an additional 5 minutes.
- While they are sitting, prepare some cold, even chilled water in a bowl.
- Take the eggs from the hot water and place in the cold water to stop the cooking. Let sit for several minutes until well-cooled.
- Peel and slice in half.
- In a pot over medium to medium-high heat, heat up your dashi stock, but don't boil it.
- In a separate pot, bring enough water to boil to cook your ramen noodles in.
- Once the dashi is hot, add miso and soy sauce to taste.
- Take as much thinly sliced pork as you want, and cook it and the spinach in the hot broth, then remove to a plate.
- Once the water boils, throw in ramen noodles, and reduce the heat slightly.
- Once the noodles are cooked to the desired texture, remove them to bowls.
- Arrange the pork, spinach and kamaboko around the noodles in the bowl.
- Ladle in hot broth over everything until you have as much as you want.
- Place the halves of egg on top of the broth in the bowl.
- Season with sesame seeds and togarashi if you would like. You can also drizzle in a teaspoon or so of sesame oil if you'd like.