There are three basic components to ramen. The broth, the noodles and the toppings. The most important component, of any ramen, is the broth though, because this is where the flavor is.
The most popular styles of ramen, to name a few are Shio ramen with its clear, light-bodied salty chicken broth, Shoyu Ramen, a soy sauce flavored chicken broth, Tonkotsu ramen, a rich pork based broth, which is fatty and milky white in color, and lastly Miso ramen, which is miso based.
For another of the toppings, I made smoked shiitake mushrooms. This is surprisingly easy and fun to do at home and this technique can be used to smoke other ingredients as well.
Line a medium sized pot or wok with foil. Place 2 T finely shredded DRY wood chips in a pile in the middle. I used apple wood. Place a strainer basket over top.
Another topping I chose was left over butternut squash. Dice it into small 1/2 in cubes, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in a hot oven until tender, about 20 minutes.
Toppings are fully customizable. Typical toppings include pork, beef, chicken seafood, tofu, bamboo shoots, a soft-boiled egg, seaweed (nori), fish cakes, corn, cabbage, bok choy, mushrooms, spinach, scallions, pickled vegetables, or anything else that appeals to you.
Enoki mushrooms (also referred to as the velvet shank) are the delicate and tasteful mushrooms that grow on tree trunks, roots and branches mostly found in Japan. They grow in a cluster and have stems that are up to 4 inches tall. Their aroma is slightly fruity and they are mild in flavor. Generally I use them raw as a garnish.
There are two main types of noodles used for ramen, yellow egg noodles, and white flour noodles. In the past, yellow egg noodles were the most common – these are the type found in most dried ramen packages. Recently, the flour noodles have been gaining in popularity. The two types differ in size and texture. Egg noodles are fairly thin, firm to the palate, and slightly curly. Flour noodles are soft and wide.
Many Japanese express that the ramen noodles found in the United States lack depth of flavor because the absence of kansui, a highly alkaline mineral water found in Asia. Some chefs use baking soda in their noodles to approximate the flavor.
These are a freshly made, vegan, all flour noodles, available in the refrigerated section at the Asian market. To cook, follow the directions on the package. You could also use gluten free rice noodles.
Begin filling your bowls with noodles and toppings.
When ready, ladle the hot flavorful broth over top, season with sesame oil, sriracha sauce.
Traditionally, ramen is served with chopsticks and Chinese style porcelain spoons.
- 1 onion- diced
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 3 Quarts water (12 Cups)
- 1 cup ( 1 oz.) dried Shiitake Mushrooms
- 1 sheet Kombu seaweed (available at Asian markets)
- 5 crushed cloves garlic
- ground pepper
- ¼ c mirin
- ¼ c soy sauce, more to taste
- 8 ounces Ramen Noodles
- 8 ounces cubed tofu
- 1 cup Chopped Scallions
- toasted sesame oil
- Sriracha Sauce
- SMOKED SHIITAKES- ON YOUR STOVE TOP ( optional)
- 4 oz fresh shiitake mushrooms, de-stemmed and sliced.
- shredded wood chips
- Other optional ingredients
- Steamed or sauted bok choy, baby chard, spinach or kale
- Hard or Soft boiled egg, (obviously not vegan)
- Roasted cubed winter squash, roasted cauliflower, roasted carrots
- Bamboo shoots
- Enoki mushrooms
- Kim chi
- Make the BROTH
- Over medium high heat, saute the onion in 1 tablespoon oil until tender about 3 minutes.
- Turn heat to medium, and continue cook onions until they are deeply golden.
- Add the water and the rest of the broth ingredients to the pot. Bring to a boil.
- Simmer for 30 minutes uncovered on med heat, then remove Kombu.
- Simmer another 15 -20 minutes. Strain. Keep warm. This will reduce and you will end up with 6-8 cups. Taste for salt. If this reduces by more than half, it may become too salty.... so add a little water to taste.
- While this is reducing, prep other veggies and cooke the noodles
- To SMOKE SHIITAKES- ON YOUR STOVE ( optional)
- Place sliced mushrooms in a small bowl and toss with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt.
- Line the bottom of a med size pot or wok with foil.
- Place 2 T finely shredded smoking wood, DRY, not wet, ( I use apple wood, but you could use hickory, cedar, alder or even tea leaves) in a pile in the middle.
- Place a strainer basket over and cover with mushrooms. Place the pot on a burner, on high heat, uncovered, until you begin to see smoke ( on my gas burner this usually takes about 4 minutes.) One you see a good amount of smoke, cover with foil and a lid, turn heat down to medium low, and smoke for 10 minutes. Obviously the longer, the smokier. Turn off heat and leave covered until ready to use, this way mushrooms will continue to cook.
- Fill bowls with cooked noodles, tofu and any other ingredients you want. Pour broth over top. Garnish with a little drizzle of sesame oil and sriracha. Top with scallions and cilantro.
- Serve immediately.