In Japan, ramen made from scratch is usually eaten in restaurants because it is a lot of work to make only a few servings. Because my Japanese cooking project book includes seven recipes for ramen dishes (that’s 28 servings!!), I’ve made, and frozen, the basic ramen components. With all the prep-work ready in the freezer, this meal went together very easily. The toppings for this miso ramen are similar to those I used for the shoyu ramen, but from a quick search of google images, it appears there are many variations. One of the more interesting is the addition of corn and butter in Hokkaido. The stock (I used the milky version) is enriched with a flavor base made with seasoned miso. In the picture, the little bowl on the side containes purchased kimchee.
- 4 cups ramen stock
- 4 ramen bowls
- 13 ounces chukasoba noodles
Warm the ramen stock over low heat while you prepare the recipe. Warm the noodle bowls in a low over or in hot water. When you have most of the preparation done, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the noodles according to package directions.
The Flavor Base:
- 1/2 Tablespoon mamemiso (soybean miso)
- 1/2 cup Saikyo miso (sweet white miso)
- 1 teaspoon toban jiang, or more if you like hot spice
- pinch sansho pepper
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
In a suribachi (or a bowl with a fork), combine the two misos. Add the chile-bean sauce, sansho, and garlic. In a small skillet over low heat, add the lard to melt. Stir in the miso mixture and cook, stirring, for five minutes. Transfer the mixture to a small container and set aside.
- 4 scallions, white part only, julienned in 2″ lengths, soaked in cold water
- 12 to 20 slices chashu, or cooked ham
- 1/2 cup menma (sweet simmered bamboo)
- 2 nori sheets, shredded in 2″ lengths
- 4 teaspoons ninniku-dare (garlic paste) (in the picture, the garlic paste had not yet cooled and the oil had separated)
- 4 teaspoons ninniku-dare
- 4 teaspoons toban jiang
In each plate, place 1 Tablespoon of the miso-base and 1 teaspoon of garlic paste. Drain the cooked noodles and divide among the bowls. Add 1 cup of hot ramen stock to each bowl. Use chopsticks or tongs to sift and stir the noodles so the flavorings dissolve. Arrange the pork, bamboo shoots, nori, and green onions on top. Give each diner a small dish with the additional flavoring so each can adjust their ramen to taste.
Ramen is a Japanese noodle dish which originated in China, but during the century that it has been eaten in Japan the noodles have been completely transformed to Japanese tastes. Even today, new variations of ramen are being developed. Ramen was always eaten at specialty restaurants, shops, or carts—making ramen at home is not practical—until 1958 when Momofuku Ando, the former Chairman of Nissin Foods, invented instant noodles to replicate ramen easily at home. Instant noodles have made “ramen” world famous, but there is a distinction between instant ramen and ramen made from scratch. Here is a link about how instant ramen is manufactured.
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