The name ‘ramen’ is the Japanese pronunciation of the word for Chinese noodles ‘Lamian’. In a broad sense, a bowl of ramen consists of four principal elements: the tare (seasoning base), broth, noodles and toppings. Although most people associate a bowl of ramen with Japan, its earliest footprints were only found there at the turn of the 20th century. Chinese migrants, who were allowed into the country after years of isolationism, began selling it to construction workers in the ports. After World War 2, to fight off starvation sweeping the country, the Japanese utilised the American imports of cheap flour and set up ramen shops throughout Japan using the knowledge they had gained from the Chinese. Ramen is now a staple in many Japanese diets. Enjoy this hearty bowl of goodness!
PREP TIME: 15 MINS
COOK TIME: 15 MINS
SERVES: 2 PEOPLE
Spicy Miso Paste (makes about 6-7 servings)
1 cup dashi miso (preferably plain white miso, available from New World or U Plus)
1/3 cup chili bean sauce (Toban Djan, also available at U Plus)
1 small onion, chopped into chunks
5 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
Thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and cut into chunks
4 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame paste
Spicy Miso Ramen Soup (makes 2 servings)
200g pork mince
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 cups low salt stock
3/4 cup spicy miso paste
2 servings ramen noodles
4 tablespoons finely-sliced spring onions
5-6 leaves of bok choy
3-4 tablespoons chilli oil (optional)
1. To make the spicy miso paste, combine all the ingredients in a small blender and blend until smooth. Pop mix into a pot and bring to the simmer for 5 minutes. Let it cool and store in fridge in airtight container until ready to use.
2. To make the soup, heat a medium-sized pot to medium-high with 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Add pork and stir continuously to break up clumps and release the fat.
3. Add in 1/4 cup of the spicy miso paste and combine thoroughly for 1-2 minutes. Again it’s imperative to break up all the clumps from the meat. Add the low salt stock and bring to a simmer. Add the rest of the paste (1/2 cup) and simmer for 5 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, bring a small pot to the boil, blanch your bok choy for 30 seconds and drain immediately. Cook the ramen noodles according to the pack – usually a couple of minutes on the boil. Boil the eggs for 5 minutes and remove from water. Set aside until cool enough to peel.
5. Divide the noodles evenly between bowls, do the same with the bok choy, then ladle over the soup and pork. Cut the peeled eggs in half and add to bowls. Sprinkle with the spring onions and white and black sesame seeds if you have them. Pour over a little chilli oil if you’re using it.
NB: You can also add broccoli or other veges at the end to add more nutritional value to the dish.