So, today, we are cooking Ramen noodles! I made this recipe a few times and my family LOVED it, so I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as they did! Also, I am not claiming it’s a traditional recipe that I made because I revisited it a bit (had to add my personal touch, you know).
Now, some uncultured swines might wonder…
What on Earth is Ramen?
Ramen (拉麺 or ラーメン) is a Japanese noodle soup originating from China. It consists of Chinese wheat noodles served in a meat or (occasionally) fish-based broth, often flavoured with soy sauce or miso, and uses toppings such as sliced pork, beef, chicken, or prawns, nori (dried seaweed), menma (a Japanese condiment made from lacto-fermented bamboo shoots), eggs, and scallions. In this article, I will provide you not only with one, but TWO recipes of ramen noodle (you’re welcome). If you’re vegetarian, you can still follow this recipe and adapt it, of course.
Ok, enough chit chat, now the recipe!
Ingredients for 6 people
Preparation time: 15 min
Cooking time: 40 min
- 6 chicken breasts (boneless) OR 1kg of red shrimps (makes it 500-600g without their carcasses, bear this in mind!)
- 6 tsp of fresh ginger, minced
- 6 fresh garlic cloves, minced
- 200-300g of dried shitake mushrooms (or 300g of fresh mushrooms)
- 6 eggs
- Nori leaves
- Half a cup of scallions (green onion), sliced
- 5 portions of dried ramen noodles
- 2 stock cubes (chicken, veggie, fish)
- 9 tsp tbsp soy sauce
- 6 tsp fish sauce (optional)
- 6 teaspoon sesame or vegetable oil
- Olive or sesame oil
- Salt, fresh black pepper
- 5-6 tsp of paprika (I wanted to)
- Optional: if you like spicy soups, you can add Espelette chilli pepper (or jalapeno slices) to your taste
Whether you’re cooking chicken or shrimps (or none of them, as you might only want veggies!), steps from 2 to 5 still apply for both recipes. I suggest you prepare the veggies you want to use for the broth in advance and put them into bowls.
Pro-tip: Since we were 6 people, I adapted volumes (mostly because the first time I tried this recipe I didn’t have enough soup to refill people’s bowls, yes everyone was really sad about it!)
Second pro-tip (which applies to literally any dish): when you start cooking something on a pan or a pot (whether it’s veggies or meat, anything really), always remember to scrape gently (with a spoon or spatula) the whole pan while cooking, in order to remove all the encrusted juices from the pan. By doing so, you’ll get most of the flavours that you want your guests to experience (you’ll thank me later!)
- Green onions: After removing the root end, use your hands to remove the dirty layer. Now, you can slice the scallions’ leaves (all the green part) in diagonal and reserve until the serving time to get your presentation together and add a fresh and crunchy taste to your ramen. Slice the bottoms (the white part) and reserve for the broth.
Warning: you may feel like there isn’t “enough” of the bottom part of the scallions compared to the leaves, so you can add one onion to your convenience (this isn’t mandatory at all!).
- Cook the chicken*: In a hot pan, put a nice chunk of butter and cook the whole chicken breasts on medium heat (you want a slow cook for your chicken to keep it tender and juicy!). Season with salt, pepper and paprika. Flip the chicken once it has browned, and cook it for another 4-5 minutes. Now that your chicken is all set up, cover and reserve it.
Once you’ve cooked the chicken, don’t wash your pan yet! You want to use most of the cooking juice to impregnate your broth and make it live! Once you started making the broth, put hot water into your pan and scrape it with your spatula (flavor and all, you know) to get most of the juice then transfer it all to the broth pot.
- Make the prawn carcass juice*: You can do it two ways:
- First, having fresh grey shrimps that you’ll cook (not completely, you’ll understand why after) on a pan after putting oil on medium heat and cook until both sides of your prawns are orange-ish. Then put them in an ice bath before taking out shrimps’ heads and shells (don’t throw them !!!). Don’t worry, prawns will finish cooking in the hot broth.
- Second part, you already bought cooked shrimps (easier). Peel off the carcasses (a bit long, but it will be worth it, trust me). In a medium-size hot pot, add cooking oil along with the prawn bodies. Put 1 liter of water in the boiler and sauté the carcasses while seasoning with salt, pepper, paprika. Put 1-2 tbsp of soy sauce and sesame oil to keep your shells moist and avoid burning them. (don’t forget to scrape the pot to get the flavors!). Once water is boiling, add it to the pot and stir for 5min. Your juice is ready!
- Make the ramen broth: Heat the oil in a large pot (remember what I said earlier: the more people you have to serve, the larger the pot, trust me you’ll take a refill!) over medium heat, until shimmering. Add the sliced scallions (with or without white onions), garlic and ginger, and cook for a few minutes. Add the soy sauce and mirin (optional) and stir to combine. Once onions are soft, add the stock (can be the chicken stock or the prawn one using a colander**), the stock cubes (I think you got it now, the magic word is flavor), and fill up to 75% of your pot with water before covering, and bring to boil. After 5minutes, remove the lid and let simmer uncovered for 5 minutes, then add the dried mushrooms. Simmer gently for another 10 minutes, and season with salt, to taste.
**If you choose to make prawn ramen, use a colander when adding the carcass juice to the broth pot and put boiling water on top of it to get most of the juices retained in the carcass.
- Make the soft-boiled eggs: Fill a pot with enough water to cover the eggs and bring it to a boil. Place the eggs in the boiling water gently and let them cook for 8 minutes (for a slightly runny yoke) or 9 minutes (for a soft yolk).
- In the meantime, fill a bowl with ice water that’s large enough to receive the boiled eggs. Once cooked, place the eggs into the ice bath to end the cooking process. When eggs are cool enough to be handled, peel off the shell gently and slice in half, lengthwise (you want to see the yolk). Reserve until ready to serve.
- You can now thinly slice your chicken. When the eggs finish cooking (hope they’re perfect!), it means it’s time to add prawns (if you chose to go for it) and the ramen noodles to the boiling water. Cook 3-4 more minutes until noodles become soft. Everything is now ready: you can serve the ramen bowls!
- Put noodles into a bowl, add the stock, and put a few pieces of your sliced chicken (or shrimps). On top of this, you can spread the chopped scallions (or jalapeño if using). Don’t forget to add two nori leaves (add another taste).
Voilà, itadakimasu (いただきます)!!!
My next article will be about the super famous and cultural Japanese city, Kyoto, so stay tuned! If you enjoy the content of my blog, don’t forget to follow A Gourmet Vagabond on WordPress and my social media channels, to be updated about new upcoming articles and other fun stuff! Give your local writer and clown some love, god damnit!!
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By Yaniss Hamiche, my dear brother!