Saturday, November 17, 2012

Miso Ramen (味噌 ラーメン)

TRUE Japanese ramen is miles away from the 10/$1 bricks ubiquitous in college dorms across the country. Typically, there are four primary broths for Japanese ramen: shio (salt), tonkotsu (pork bone, not to be confused with tonkatsu), shoyu (soy sauce) and miso. 

Shio ramen has a light, clear broth, made with lots of salt. Tonkotsu ramen broth is made from pork bones, pork fat and collagen; the stock is boiled for hours, resulting in a thick, cloudy broth. Shoyu ramen broth is clear, but colored brown from the soy sauce. Miso ramen broth is the baby of the group, only having been around for about 50 years; it is quick and easy to make, and has the added benefit of being ALMOST vegetarian-friendly (contains no meat, but it does contain eggs, while the dashi does contain a bit of dried fish). 

I played around with making a miso ramen recipe for a while, finally settling on using vegetable stock (beef or chicken stock is far too strong in flavor) with a pinch of instant dashi granules and a bit of soy sauce for the perfect broth; salty, but with a rich, tangy flavor that is still light and satisfying. Don't fear the miso - I know it LOOKS gross, but seriously, it's amazing stuff. 

So, if you're craving real ramen, and not the salty bricks from the grocery store, pop in a copy of "Tampopo", and make ramen from scratch. Bonus - miso ramen only takes a few minutes to make, MAYBE 2-3 minutes longer than the 3 minutes called for on the "salty bricks". 

Miso Ramen

1 5oz package of chukamen noodles (substitute 2 bricks of ramen, noodles only)
1 small package frozen leaf spinach, thawed
1 small can of kernel corn, drained (you can also use frozen corn, thawed)
1 kamaboko or narutomaki, sliced (optional, fish-based, omit for vegetarian)
2 large hard-boiled eggs, sliced in half
4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 cup mung bean sprouts, blanched
1 green onion, thinly sliced
Nori, shredded
Chili oil (optional)

Cook the noodles according to package directions (usually, this is about 3 minutes). Drain the noodles, rinse with cold water, then divide and place in two bowls. 

Yeah, I went there. 

Squeeze as much of the water as possible from the spinach. Divide and place atop noodles. Divide the corn and place next to the spinach. Divide the sliced kamaboko or narutomaki  (if using - mine was still frozen solid, so I left it out) and place next to the corn. Gently place the boiled egg halves (2 halves per bowl) atop the noodles. 

In a large pot, combine the stock, dashinomoto granules and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and stir in the miso paste (you NEVER want to boil miso!) . Carefully ladle the hot stock into each bowl, then top with the bean sprouts, scallions and nori. Serve with chili oil. 


  1. I recently left Japan after two years of living there and I've been craving real ramen ever since. This recipe (and all the others) are a god-send. Thank you so much. ;_;

    1. You're so welcome, Chuck! Thanks for reading!!