In the first installment of this series, I gave you some serious ramen envy with my Spicy Shoyu Ramen. The response on that post across social media was fab, and I may have enticed a ramen fanatic or two to give it a whirl at home themselves. After all, that’s part of why I’m rolling this series out; to encourage people to learn about other culture’s cuisines by hitting the markets and making things from scratch.
So, why another ramen bowl?
The reason I decided to include two ramen bowls in this series is to show you (shoyu?) that ramen isn’t just one soup in particular; it comes in various styles — shoyu, miso, tonkotsu and shio.
In general, ramen comprises four key elements: the broth, the noodles, the tare (base) and, of course, those crowd-pleasing adornments. However, it’s the tare that sets a ramen’s tone.
The tare is the bold umami-packed essence that pulls the broth together. The most common tare is shoyu, which packs a solid punch with soy sauce and dashi. If you did happen to make my Spicy Shoyu Ramen, then you know the lovely punch I’m talking about.
Shoyu and miso ramen might look similar at a quick glance, but the color and flavor are very different. Miso is a fermented bean paste and creates an opaque and cloudy broth; a shoyu-based broth is dark and clear. Furthermore, a miso broth has a smooth finish while a shoyu broth is sharper on the palate. What they *do* have in common is that they both give us that umami we covet, just in their own distinct ways.
I honestly can’t say I love one more than the other.
THIS RECIPE IS PART OF MY EAST SERIES.
In this series, I’ll be covering dishes from Japan, China and Korea to cover East Asia, followed by dishes from Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia to cover Southeast Asia.
Making this recipe? Snap a pic and tag me on Instagram: @Killing__Thyme /#killingthyme. For more delish eats, follow me on INSTAGRAM + PINTEREST.
- ¾ lb fresh ramen noodles or 2 packages of instant ramen
- 2 cloves large garlic minced
- 1 tbsp of freshly grated ginger
- 1 shallot minced
- 1 tbsp . sesame seeds ground up
- 1 tbsp . sesame oil
- 1 tsp . Chili Bean Sauce/Paste La Doubanjiang
- 3 tbsp . miso paste
- 1 tbsp . organic honey
- 1 tbsp . sake
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tsp . kosher salt
- ¼ tsp . white pepper
Garnishes: (See notes*)
- Fried fish cakes
- Soft boiled egg
- Sliced scallions
- Ribboned nori
- Radishes thinly sliced
- Sesame seeds
- Heat sesame oil in a medium stockpot over moderate heat.
- Add the minced garlic, ginger and shallot. Sautee until fragrant — approx. 2 minutes — stirring frequently.
- Add the spicy bean paste, the miso paste, sesame seeds and honey; stir to combine.
- Add the sake, vegetable stock, salt and pepper.
- Bring to a simmer, and keep the broth to a low simmer while you prep your garnishes. Prep your garnishes before cooking your noodles as the noodles don't take long at all.
- Once your garnishes are ready, prepare your ramen noodles as per the packages instructions, but lessen the suggested time by about 30 seconds since your noodles will continue to cook once the hot broth is ladled over them.
- Once your noodles are ready, drain them and place them into bowls.
- Ladle broth over them, garnish, and serve immediately.
- JustOneCookbook.com — It’s safe to say that 90 per cent of what I’ve learned in Japanese cooking has come from Nami and her amazing blog. Nami, if you read this, thank you.