I can’t deny that I love ramen. The best ramen I have ever had was in Tokyo but that would be a bit of a stretch telling you to hop on a flight just to eat good ramen. There are quite a few great ramen places in the bigger cities like Rotterdam and Amsterdam but what if I tell you I can make your own super delicious ramen bowl for not a lot of money.
Nissin is my go to brand for instant noodles. I love the texture of the noodle and the flavour of the broth packs. Cup Noodles are a bit too salty for me since I’ve started a low sodium diet. When you used to it, you don’t miss it. And to be honest Dutch people are pretty heavy Maggie users when it comes to soups.
I buy them at the Asian supermarket but your local supermarket tends to have a larger variaty of instant noodles so go with your preference. The sesame oil one is vegan.
Real ramen is made by boiling a broth (often bone based) for atleast 15 hours. But I was giving you a quick version of this dish. I haven’t made my own broth yet because I find it tedious so either use the pack that comes with the instant noodles or make a quick broth based on either veggies or chicken stock. The pork bone broth used in the famous Tonkotsu makes it extremely creamy but we don’t have the time to do this now.
Now my pet peeve. I absolutely hate the way supermarkets inflate the price of bean sprouts and deliver shit quality. I pay €1,00 for 125 grams of bean sprouts while at the Asian supermarket I pay a wopping € 0,33 for almost 200 grams of sprouts. Even going to the greengrocer you will not pay as much as the supermarket and have better quality. Fuck supermarkets for your fresh veggies, go to the greengrocer and you will also enjoy better tasting vegetables.
Always wash your bean sprouts. Sprouts can carry Listeria which can make you really sick or be really harmful for your unborn baby. I remove the beards, wash and blanche them and they still keep their crisp taste.
Ingredients – serve two – cooking time 30 minutes:
– 300 gr mixed minced meat (can be replaced by marinated tofu, vegan minced meat)
– 3 small shallots
– 3 cloves of garlic
– 2 tablespoons of miso paste
– 2 spring onions
– 2 packs of instant noodles
– 2 soft boiled eggs
– sesame oil
– black and white roasted sesame seeds
Add your eggs to boiling water, turn low and cook for 6 minutes. That keeps the yolk nice and runny and when you poke your chopsticks in them giving a dimension of creaminess to your broth. After the 6 minutes are up, place the eggs in ice water to stop them from cooking. If you don’t like runny yolks, cook for atleast 8 minutes.
Dicing and slicing your veggies:
Before you cook your minced meat, finely dice your shallots. It’s easier to cook them well-done if they are the same as your crumbled minced meat.
Wash and slice your spring onions in small rings and set aside.
Wash your bean sprouts and blanche with boiling water for 30 seconds. Longer will make your sprouts wilt. Set aside with your spring onions and your done with your veggie toppings. If you don’t like bean sprouts or spring onions you can swap out with julienne cut carrots, spinach, bok choy or edamame beans.
TIP: Knife maintenance. I have different knives to cut meat, bread and veggies. You don’t need to buy an expensive knife to have a good knife. My Chef’s knife costed €20 (bought with points at my supermarket) but I never ever wash it in the dishwasher. The heat of the dishwasher messes with the tempering of the knife and results with your knife becoming blunt really fast. Just use warm soapy water and give it a sponge hand wash. Hold the blade away from you while slowly stroking downwards with the sponge so you won’t cut yourself.
And yes I have banned my family from using my knives unless they use the same clean regime like I do.
Let’s start cooking!
Poor a little vegetable oil in a frying pan and sauté the diced shallots on a low/medium heat. When the shallots have softened up, add your minced meat and slowly cook while crumbling it. For vegan options replace the meat mince with vegan mince. It also tastes fantastic. *chef’s kiss*
You can use regular onions but shallots give a bit of a spicy kick to the dish.
Use a garlic press to crush your three cloves on top of the shallot/mince mixture and mix thorougly. If you want more garlic, you can add more garlic.
For the next step you add two tablespoons of miso. This is a fermented soybean paste and adds the umami to your ramen. It’s high in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals and has been in use since the neolithic period of Japan. THAT OLD. This ingredient is the salt you need for your dish. The flavour and aroma depend on the ingredients used and how it is fermented.
I am using shinshu genen miso which belongs to the red/dark miso which has a deeper and more intense flavour compared to white misu. I like my broth with levels of deepness.
It’s best to buy your miso not from your regular supermarket as they cost €6,99 for a 300gr tub while I bought a 500gr tub for €5,79 at the Asian supermarket. They even have little bags of miso of 400gr starting at €2,70 which is an actual steal. Again fuck supermarkets and their inflated prices. If you can cut out the middle man, please do so.
The miso paste is thick so mixing it in is a bit hard. Just keep at it and your mince will get a beautiful deep brown colour. As it has a tendicy to burn if the heat is too high, keep it at a low/medium heat so the flavours get time to blend. If you don’t see any clumps of miso paste left your topping is done and set aside.
Cook your instant noodles following the instructions on the packet. Usually it’s 3 minutes in boiling water. Don’t let them get soggy. While you are waiting for your noodles the cook, empty the contents of the soup base in a bowl. You can pre-heat the bowl by submerging it in warm water.
Time to dress your bowl!
After your noodles are ready, poor the noodle water in your bowl and stir well so you won’t see any soup base clumps in your broth. After placing your noodles in the broth it is topping time.
I usually put the mince in the middle as a small pile and dressing my veggies around it. Because you blanched your bean sprouts, the broth will cool down less. It is important that you eat your ramen piping hot.
Carefully peel your onsen egg and let it slide in the broth. You can slice it in half for aesthetic but I like poking my egg with my chopsticks =D. Sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds and you are done.
Cost per serving: €3-4