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Jun 7, 2010 09:25 PM

homemade ramen - not instant

i love ramen. i could eat it every day, it's so satisfying to me - i even started reading ramen blogs. some might say i'm borderline obsessed, but that's their business. my problem: i live in a city with no good ramen. other noodles sure, but i crave crave crave the real deal. so i'm willing to try to make it. does anyone have a successful broth recipe they'd like to share?

i tried a recipe from a well-rated cookbook, but it was chicken based. while the broth was good, i still feel the taste was not quite right. the kombu definitely gives it depth, but i'm curious what's worked for you? what secret has your grandmother or chef friend passed on to you that i'm missing? the other stock recipe in the book is beef based. should i try the momofuku broth recipe? is that pork based? (truth be told, while i love their ramen, i find DC's broth too salty).

both recipes in my book (not MF) are essentially basic stock recipes with meat/bones, aromatics (carrots, celery, leeks), garlic, ginger, kombu, sake. then + a shio or shoyu base (these feature bonito flakes & more kombu). do other people have pork-based recipes?

i think the noodle part is beyond me right now, and i hear that one can buy fresh ramen noodles in stores. but if anyone has recommendations for particular brands i'm all ears!

p.s. not dissing instant ramen at all. i love that too but fear it's less healthy.

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  1. I've become obsessed with cooking ramen also, I made it so many times in the last month that I actually became sick of it and had to freeze my whole pot of broth after just one bowl. Never thought that would happen. Anyways, my recipe came through reading lots of blogs, trial and error and of course eating lots of the real deal in japan.

    what I do is buy a couple pounds of chicken wings and throw them in the pot with pork skin and cartilidge that I cut away from the pork belly when I cook chashu. II add to the pot a generous amount of garlic cloves, one big hunk of ginger (easy to fish out if broth starts tasting too gingery), a bunch of taiwan leeks (or tokyo negi if available), and a dried kombu leaf). I cook this for a few hours, until it tastes nice and rich, and then I strain it into a seperate pot and add dashi just for some added flavour. I always save the chicken and pork meat for my dog, she loves it when I cook ramen too.

    Once you get a nice and fatty authentic tasting broth you can prepare your flavoring sauces. I always start off by grinding up a bowl of roasted white sesame seeds (which you can buy roasted or roast in a pan yourself) and making a bunch of roasted garlic paste by frying very finely minced fresh garlic in a pan with pork fat (again from the chashu). I use both the ground sesame and the garlic paste in all three of my sauces, miso, shoyu, and shio.

    for shoyu,
    I add soysauce, a touch of mirin (not to make it sweet but enough to make it not salty), japanese sesame oil, ground white pepper, a touch of layu (japanese chile oil), as well as the garlic paste and fresh sesame and some hot broth to help melt all the ingredients together. I totally don't measure my ingredience but keep tasting until I know I have found the right balance.

    for shio i just use the broth mixed with ground sesame, garlic paste, sesame oil, and salt, and white pepper.

    for miso, I use as many kinds of miso as i have in my fridge, I like to use the red and white together, with ground sesame, garlic, white pepper, sesame oil, layu, and some salt as well.

    I always prepare a couple different sauces before hand so i can give people the option and i flavour each bowl seperately, I also adjust the amount of fat in each bowl according to peoples preference.

    for my toppings, homemade chashu (simmered pork belly) is a must, and so is aji tama. (hard boiled eggs marinated in shoyu, mirin, and sake). as well as blanched bean sprouts, menma (pickled bamboo shoots), and chopped green onion.

    I only use fresh ramen noodles, I found a couple stores that make them locally in vancouver, but they can be hard to find sometimes. If the stores are out I sub in Maruchan frozen ramen noodles which are more readily available but unfortunately cost more because they come with sauce. Also the noodles are not as good as the fresh homemade ones some places carry. If you own a pasta maker with a spaghettini setting, I hear you can even make your own noodles quite easily, but this is something I have never gotten into.

    I think in all honesty it takes a lot of trial and error and tasting, and adjusting recipes until you get it just the way you want it. If something in a recipe sounds kind of wierd, or you feel like something is missing just change it up, until you find a combination that works for you. What I've learned is that there is no RIGHT way to make ramen, I mean theres a wrong way, but every ones got a different way of doing it and theres so many different kinds and I think every ramen yasan has their secrets and their own way of doing it. I heard a recipe that called for apples in the broth.. which sounded pretty wierd but is probably actually awesome. I hope this has been helpful, and that you can take what you can from my recipe and make it your own. Best of luck,

    1. I highly recommend the recipe in Momofuku. But you have to have a LOT of free time - it takes about 12 hours. i made a double batch of the broth (enough for 20 portions) and froze it, and i would recommend that. while the broth has salt from the seaweed and bacon, it's not too salty. you control the seasoning at the end by adding tare - which is reduced soy sauce, sake, and dense chicken stock. if you don't want it too salty, just add less tare. if you love ramen, and it sounds like you do - you should do the momofuku recipe. it's great.

      1. i guess you might already know the site but...


        1. I, too, recommend the momofuku recipe. Serious time commitment, but well worth it. I found the broth to be a little too strong after reducing it, but that was easily remedied with some water added back. As mentioned before, saltiness is up to you and is controlled with the tare added at the finish.

          I also made noodles from scratch, but I didn't use the mf recipe. It calls for dry alkaline salts but I was too impatient to wait for them. I found a recipe that calls for a more readily available liquid form of the salts.